© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org

PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ON THIS PAGE PHNO TRAILS THE CONTINUING 'SAGA' OF P-NOY's BBL
[August 24, 2015 edition: Culled by PHNO for the PHNO community worldwide]

--------------------------------------------

HEADING: THE MORO PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
[INDIGENOUS FILIPINO MUSLIMS or The ARMM or The, BANGSAMORO]


FROM WIKIPEDIA....The Moro people is a population of indigenous Muslims in the Philippines, forming the largest non-Catholic group in the country, and comprising about 11% of the total Philippine population. 
There are 13 Moro ethnic groups, and the majority of their populations are also Muslim, mostly followers of Sunni branch, with a minority to Shi'a branch. In modern history, they are influential groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) espoused Moro identity to unify all Muslim groups.  This is separate from the "Filipino" as it was seen as an epithet to Christian ethnic groups. Despite that the Moro concept represents their distinct Islamic heritage, MNLF leader Nur Misuari clarifies that they are nonetheless a microcosm of a bigger Filipino society.  This is rooted from resistance of then-Spanish and American rule, and into a reaction against an independent Philippine state disproportionately ruled by Christians.  The Moro people mostly live in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Due to continuous movement of people from before the 16th century through today, Moro communities are now found in all large cities in the Philippines, including Manila, Cebú and Dávao.  READ MORE...RELATED STORY -JABIDAH MASSACRE......

ALSO: BIRTH OF THE REBEL GROUP: Moro National Liberation Front (MILF)
[FROM MNLF, Nur Misuari turned rebel leader]


WIKIPEDIA --THE MNLF: This new organization, formed in the early 1970s and led by Misuari, was named the Moro National Liberation Front.
1981-Following a split over the role of Islam in a Bangsamoro state, a new, more conservative movement emerged in 1981, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF; Arabic: جبهة تحرير مورو الإسلامية‎ Jabhat Tahrīr Moro al-ʿIslāmiyyah) is a rebel group in Mindanao, Philippines seeking autonomy of the Moro people from the central government. The group has a presence in the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, Basilan, and other neighbouring islands. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a Moro and Lumad group formed in the 1960s following the Jabidah massacre to achieve greater Bangsamoro autonomy in the southern Philippines. The MNLF took part in terrorist attacks and assassinations to achieve their goals. The government in Manila sent troops into the southern Philippines to control the insurgency. In 1976, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi brokered a negotiation between the Philippine government and MNLF Leader Nur Misuari which led to the signing of the MNLF-GRPH Tripoli Agreement of 1976 wherein the MNLF accepted the Philippine government's offer of semi-autonomy of the regions in dispute. READ MORE...RELATED, THE MNLF.....

ALSO: THE MILF UNDER 2 PRESIDENTs GLORIA MACAPAGAL & 'ERAP' ESTRADA
[Era of Jemaah Islamiyah & Osama bin Laden - Al-Qaeda]


WIKIPEDIA --Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was not the first Philippine president to attempt to negotiate with the MILF. However, since her predecessor, Joseph Estrada, had refused to negotiate with the organization, violence had increased in Mindanao. Within two months of taking office Macapagal-Arroyo declared a unilateral ceasefire with MILF and dropped criminal charges against their leaders (Walter, 2009) FROM TROPICSofMETA Despite peace negotiations and the cease-fire agreement, the MILF attacked government troops in Maguindanao resulting in at least twenty-three deaths in January 2005. The combined armies of the MILF and Abu Sayyaf were involved in days of fighting which necessitated government troops using heavy artillery to engage rebel forces.  The bombing incident in Davao Airport in 2003 which the Philippine government blamed on MILF members, raised speculation that the peace negotiations might be ineffectual in bringing peace to Mindanao if the MILF is unable to control its operatives.  The MILF denies ties with terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, although Jemaah Islamiyah is considered to have provided them with training facilities in areas they control. The MILF also continues to deny connections with Al-Qaeda, though it has admitted to sending around 600 volunteers to Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and that Osama Bin Laden sent money to the Philippines, though the group denies directly receiving any payment.  From June 28 to July 6, 2006, conflict between the MILF and armed civilian volunteers under Maguindanao Province governor Andal Ampatuan who were supported by the Philippine Army had been reported. The fighting began after governor Ampatuan blamed the MILF for a June 23 bomb attack on his motorcade, which killed five in his entourage. READ MORE...

ALSO: THE ELUSIVE PEACE PROCESS UNDER 4 PRESIDENTs
[UNDER THE PRESIDENCIES OF FIDEL RAMOS, JOSEPH ESTRADA, GLORIA ARROYO AND BENIGNO S. AQUINO III]


WIKIPEDIA --Even before being elected president, Fidel V. Ramos had actively pursued the assistance of foreign Muslim leaders to solve the problem in Mindanao.  Thus, he strongly sought the intercession of Gaddafi because of his instrumental role in the signing of the Tripoli Agreement earlier in 1976. Indeed, with Gaddafi’s assistance, the Philippine government was able to sign the Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF in 1996 in what was supposed to be the end of the Moro armed struggle in Mindanao.  Misuari was elected governor of the ARMM and was tasked to supervise the implementation of the peace pact.  Unfortunately, other factions within the MNLF were not satisfied with this peace pact and saw this as a deviation from the framework of the Tripoli Agreement. Their desire for complete secession from Philippine sovereignty led to the establishment of the MILF, which will be another challenge to Ramos’ efforts to bring peace in Mindanao after two decades of negotiations with the MNLF.  Ramos negotiates with the MILF, Estrada balks  The exploratory and preparatory talks between the government and the MILF started in August 1996, followed by low-level negotiations commencing January the following year.An Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between the two parties was signed in July 1997.  Ramos’ term as president ended in June 1998, but the low-level negotiations continued under the new administration of President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada. By October 1999 formal peace talks would commence, only to be suspended by Estrada’s sudden policy-shift by declaring an “all-out war” against the MILF.  Subsequently, the MILF's chairman Salamat declared jihad against Estrada's administration. Estrada’s all-out war policy led to the capture of Camp Abubakar, MILF’s main headquarters. The president himself led the military in raising the Philippine flag in the erstwhile rebel stronghold, bringing trucks of lechon (roasted pig) and beer for the triumphant soldiers in what was considered as an insult to the MILF—because pork and alcohol are both prohibited in Islam. Arroyo resumes peace talks When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001, the peace process was revived with a unilateral declaration of ceasefire on the part of the government. With the assistance of the Malaysian government, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita and MILF Vice-Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim signed the Agreement for the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks between the government and the MILF. CONTINUE READING..

ALSO The BBL:  A new deal
[A key difference between the ARMM and the BBL is that the new autonomous region will have a ministerial form of government, with voters directly picking parties whose members will then select their ministers]


FEBRUARY 3, 2014 --By Ana Marie Pamintuan When a framework agreement for peace is signed, we cross our fingers and hope for the best. By President Aquino’s timetable, the Bangsamoro political entity would have replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when his term ends in 2016. “Replacement” is a word that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) demanded in the peace negotiations, according to the government panel. A key difference between the ARMM and the Bangsamoro is that the new autonomous region will have a ministerial form of government, with voters directly picking parties whose members will then select their ministers. This autonomous, secular government will have wide powers over economic activities and revenue generation in the Bangsamoro, including the exploitation of natural resources. Another difference is that the MILF has agreed to “normalization” or to gradually lay down its weapons, with the national police and Armed Forces of the Philippines providing security in the Bangsamoro until a regular regional police is formed. There was no “decommissioning” or normalization under the peace treaty with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). A third difference is that there will be a mechanism for transitional justice and reconciliation. Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer told us they wanted to “de-emphasize the judicial recourse” including punishment. Instead they want to focus on documentation of the conflict and the steps leading to peace, and find modes for reparation. As envisioned, the Bangsamoro will include the current ARMM along with the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan, six towns in Lanao del Norte, plus all the villages in six towns that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite. Other areas can seek inclusion in the Bangsamoro as long as the land is contiguous to the special region, and if the local government passes a resolution or at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area seek inclusion two months before the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. READ MORE...

ALSO: P-NOYs BBL --Bangsamoro Basic Law (Filipino: Batayang Batas ng Bangsamoro)
[February 2011 -Peace Talks resumed under Aquino govt; October 2012 -Aquino signed the BBL draft; January 2014 -
P-NOY's 'PEACE PANEL' signed final annex to BBL in Kuala Lumpur; March 2014 -BBL signed by GRP (Govt of Republic of the Phl) and the MILF; September 2014 -Aquino personally submits draft to Congress leaders marked 'urgent']


FEBRUARY 2011 --Noynoy Aquino resumes peace talks 
The administration of Benigno Aquino III resumed peace negotiations, the 20th round, with the MILF in February 2011, after the rebel group announced that they were no longer seeking secession from the Philippines. 
But the prospects for peace remained elusive as rogue MILF forces conducted sporadic attacks against government forces in several areas in Mindanao despite the existing ceasefire agreement.  Worst of these attacks came on October 18, 2011 when MILF forces ambushed an Army contingent in Al-Barka, Basilan killing 19 young soldiers and wounding 12 others.  Despite the MILF’s half-hearted efforts to make these rogue leaders answer for their attacks, the president and the military hierarchy rejected calls for an all-out-war approach to this problem.  The Al-Barka attack came just two months after Aquino’s controversial meeting with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo.  This gave rise to concerns that the real reason for the stalled peace process is not just the government’s lukewarm effort to make peace, but also the lack of sincerity of the rebel groups in negotiating lasting peace with the government in Philippines military for 245.  THE AQUINO III BBL DRAFT: Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro  On October 15, 2012, the Philippine government signed a much-hyped document touted as the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which culminates the Aquino Administration's effort to end the deadlock in the peace process. READ MORE...

ALSO BBL resisted, rejected: THE BBL has no Plan B
[Gov’t exudes confidence on BBL: There’s no plan B, says Ferrer]


SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 --Photo Prof Ferrer: COTABATO CITY: There is no Plan B. This is how confident the government peace panel in talks with Moro rebels is about the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which President Aquino is expected to submit to Congress today (Wednesday). “The President is a popular President,” said professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the panel that negotiated a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 
“He enjoys much support from most members of Congress,” she added. Speaking at a forum here yesterday, Ferrer said the government panel did not craft an alternative measure because it was confident of the BBL’s passage with the endorsement of President Benigno Aquino III. “We have no plan B for that,” she said. Ferrer said the support of the President’s allies in Congress made the panel confident of the passage of the measure. Aquino would personally submit today the proposed BBL to Congress in rites to be held in Malacañang to be attended by the leaders of Congress—Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. READ MORE...

ALSO Analyst warns: Don't rush BBL for PNoy's sake


FEBRUARY 15, 2015 --UP professor Clarita Carlos: Graduated peace needed, says UP prof  
Passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) within the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to become part of his legacy will only spawn more problems, an analyst warned. In an interview with ABS-CBN’s "The Bottomline," UP professor Clarita Carlos said: “Let time pass. Let’s not anymore rush this to make it before the end of the Aquino administration, which has around 500 days or so left.”  Carlos is referring to the emotions still running high after the death of 44 police commandos, 18 civilians, and at least seven civilians in the Mamasapano clash last January 25. She noted that there are many forces who want the BBL passed to add to Aquino’s legacies. Former peace panel chair, retired General Rodolfo Garcia, said it is obvious that the BBL is currently “in hard times. There is an outpouring of negative sentiments against the BBL.”  For one, he pointed out that the BBL allows for a police force under the Bangsamoro and that people are now wary of giving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) their own police force amid the Mamasapano incident. With the Mamasapano incident as foreground, a rushed BBL may not reflect what has been stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro earlier signed by the MILF and Aquino. “The question is, will [the BBL] be acceptable to our brother Muslims?” he asked. 'LET EMOTIONS DIE DOWN'  International Alert country director Pancho Lara, for his part, said peace stakeholders need to explain to the public that the BBL is not just a mere piece of legislation. He said it will dictate where the peace process will go. READ MORE...

ALSO MNLF EDITORIAL: BANGSAMORO HISTORICAL NOTES
[“WHEN WILL FILIPINO COLONIZERS END INJUSTICE AND
GENOCIDE WAR AGAINST THE OPPRESSED BANGSAMORO PEOPLE?” – REVEREND ABSALOM CERVEZA]


AUGUST 14 --The stark injustice committed by the Luzon-based Filipino colonizers against the oppressed tri-people (Muslims, Animist Lumads and Christians) of the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) has surely led to the prolongation of the Filipino-Moro conflict in the war-torn territory. The decades-long colonial genocide war of conquest by the Filipino colonialist land-grabbers today has only duplicated the savagery and wickedness employed by the Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers in the past.
The Spanish, American, Japanese and Filipino invaders have similarly used colonization as oppressive weapon to subjugate and to enslave the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao. Worse, the heartless colonizers resulted to using their own alien laws or man-made constitution in justifying their land-grabbing scheme, plunder and crime against humanity with the callous intent to deceive both the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities as well as the whole of humanity forever. Today, the Filipino colonizers have used the same colonial strategy to stranglehold the Bangsamoro people, turning deaf and blind to the grave injustice done against the colonized victims. Worse, they want to impose a “cursed” identity and prostituted culture upon the colonized and brutalized Indigenous Peoples. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO MEDIA ON MINDANAO: Revisiting Mamasapano and the BBL


AUGUST 5 --KEYNOTE ADDRESS Archbishop of Cotabato Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo reminds journalists and media practitioners of the importance of the media’s tasks of helping inform and educate. (Right: MindaNews editor in chief Carolyn O. Arguillas)
IN COTABATO: MEDIA FROM MANILA AND MINDANAO AT LEAST 50 journalists and media practitioners based in Manila and Mindanao attended the forum “Beyond Mamasapano: Reporting on the Bangsamoro Peace Process” in Cotabato City last July 24-25. The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was still in limbo. Although House Bill 5811 had been finalized, the Senate was still sitting on its revisions. As the coverage in Manila shifted to other national issues, the public may have wondered, if not forgotten, about the challenge posed by this policy question. The forum served as a timely reminder for media, presenting them with the perspective of the communities in Mindanao, especially those most affected by the failure of the peace process. The meeting was also intended to help journalists and media practitioners understand Mindanao—appreciate its cultural diversity and be informed about the efforts to sustain solidarity and unity among the Mindanaoans. In the two days, there were panel discussions, site visits and cultural exposure. Speakers at the forum highlighted the role of the media in peace-building and emphasized its critical role in creating informed public opinion. Mindanao Media Forum, which organized the event, was established in 2002 as a result of the first Mindanao Media Summit, with MindaNews as its secretariat. The program was done in partnership with the Institute of Autonomy and Governance, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Oxfam, the Embassy of Canada, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Friends of Peace, MindaNews, Balay Mindanaw, Mindanao Cross, Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, I-Watch, and the Philippine Information Agency. Resource persons from civil society, members of the Bangsamoro Study Group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), staff and officials of the ARMM and the OPPAP, as well as the International Monitoring Team updated the press and shared observations about the press coverage of the Mamasapano incident and its impact on the peace process. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

HEADING: THE MORO PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
[INDIGENOUS FILIPINO MUSLIMS or The ARMM or The, BANGSAMORO]


FROM WIKIPEDIA

MANILA, AUGUST 24, 2015  (WIKIPEDIA) The Moro people is a population of indigenous Muslims in the Philippines, forming the largest non-Catholic group in the country, and comprising about 11% of the total Philippine population.

There are 13 Moro ethnic groups, and the majority of their populations are also Muslim, mostly followers of Sunni branch, with a minority to Shi'a branch.

In modern history, influential groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) espoused Moro identity to unify all Muslim groups.

This is separate from the "Filipino" as it was seen as an epithet to Christian ethnic groups. Despite that the Moro concept represents their distinct Islamic heritage, MNLF leader Nur Misuari clarifies that they are nonetheless a microcosm of a bigger Filipino society

This is rooted from resistance of then-Spanish and American rule, and into a reaction against an independent Philippine state disproportionately ruled by Christians.

The Moro people mostly live in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Due to continuous movement of people from before the 16th century through today, Moro communities are now found in all large cities in the Philippines, including Manila, Cebú and Dávao.

READ MORE...

In the last half of the 20th century, many Moros have emigrated to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei due to the war in Southern Philippines.

Newer communities can be found today in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Semporna in Sabah, Malaysia, North Kalimantan in Indonesia, as well as in Brunei.

Bangsamoro - Separatism

In the late 1960s, an independence movement was founded in Mindanao, the Philippines to separate the Muslim majority-Moro areas from the rest of the Philippines.

The area is now called the Bangsamoro.

The term Bangsamoro comes from the Malayo-Polynesian word bansa (Manobo and Lumad languages: bangsa), meaning nation or people, and the Spanish word moro, which was originally applied to the Moors that ruled Spain prior to the Reconquista, and was subsequently applied to predominantly Muslim Malay tribes.

Bangsamoro is a legal and understood name of all Muslim in Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro Republik, officially the United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik (UFSBR) was a short-lived unrecognized breakaway state in the Philippines.



Nur Misuari
, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) issued the Proclamation of Bangsamoro Independence on 27 July 2013 in Talipao, Sulu and declared the capital of Bangsamoro to be Davao City.

According to Misuari, the republic's territory encompasses the islands of Basilan, Mindanao, Palawan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where the Bangsamoro traditionally lived.

However, according to Misuari's legal counsel, Emmanuel Fontanilla, the state also encompasses the Malaysian state of Sabah and Sarawak.

This declaration of independence, which was made under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly 1514 resolution of 1960 granting independence to all colonized countries, escalated into the Zamboanga City crisis.

The MNLF, the group which proclaimed Bangsamoro is an observer of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Zamboanga Crisis or the Battla of Zamboanga (2013)


The crisis erupted on September 9, 2013 when this MNLF faction attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik at Zamboanga City Hall. The clashes caused the displacement of more than 100,000 people, the occupation of several barangays (villages) by the MNLF, the deaths of several civilians, the closure of the Zamboanga International Airport (which has since been reopened), and the slowdown of economic activity in the city. On September 28, the government declared the end of military operations in Zamboanga City. Commander Malik, reportedly the leader of the MNLF forces, remains at large.

As of September 28, 2013 with the defeat in Zamboanga City by the Philippines government, the MNLF no longer controls any territory openly anywhere and the Bangsamoro Republic has been debilitated.

However, the MNLF has not renounced its bid for the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik.

PRELUDE


Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, and governor of ARMM from 1996 to 2002.

Nur Misuari, the leader of the rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed a peace treaty in 1996 that allowed the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Misuari became its first governor.

Recently, however, Misuari "has been angered by a planned peace deal with the MILF, believing it would sideline the MNLF and the 1996 peace deal".

Misuari proclaimed the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik on August 12, 2013 at Talipao, Sulu, although it was largely ignored by the government.

Misuari "disappeared from public view" before the fighting broke out in Zamboanga. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received intelligence reports that the MNLF would launch mass operations in Zamboanga City, three days before the incident.

AFP spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said that according to intelligence reports the MNLF troops were deployed to the coastal barangays (villages) of Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, Mariqui and Sta. Catalina.

According to initial reports, the MNLF group who entered the barangays were unarmed and it was the night before the incident that the MNLF were armed in Rio Hondo.

Zagala claimed that the MNLF group involved in the incident is a breakaway faction of the militant group.


FAST FORWARD PHOTO: On October 15, 2012, the Philippine government signed a much-hyped document touted as the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which culminates the Aquino Administration's effort to end the deadlock in the peace process. This new document, while merely providing for a general framework for the actual peace negotiations, announces that "the status quo is unacceptable and that the Bangsamoro shall be established to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Bangsamoro is the new autonomous political entity (NPE) referred to in the Decision Points of Principles as of April 2012." According to President Aquino, this is the agreement that "can finally seal genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao."

ARMM HISTORY

ARMM Government - The MNLF Peace agreement under Ramos

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is headed by a regional governor as the outcome of the Final Peace Agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Republic of the Philippines in 1996 under President Fidel Ramos.


FIDEL RAMOS

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Filipino: Rehiyong Autonomo sa Muslim Mindanao) (abbreviated ARMM) is an Autonomous region of the Philippines, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of five predominantly Muslim provinces, namely:

It is the only region that has its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.

The ARMM previously included the province of Shariff Kabunsuan until 16 July 2008, when Shariff Kabunsuan ceased to exist as a province after the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared the "Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act 201", which created it, unconstitutional in Sema v. Comelec.

The regional governor, with the regional-vice governor, act as the executive branch and are served by a Regional Cabinet, composed of regional secretaries, mirroring national government agencies of the Philippines.

The ARMM has a unicameral Regional Assembly headed by a speaker. This acts as the legislative branch for the region and is responsible for regional ordinances. It is composed of three members for every congressional district. The current membership is twenty-four.

Some of this Regional Assembly's acts have since been nullified by the Supreme Court on grounds that they are "unconstitutional".

An example is the nullification of the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabungsuwan by the Regional Legistative Assembly (RLA) as this will create an extra seat in the Philippines Congress' House of Representatives, a power reserved solely for the Philippine Congress — Senate and House jointly — to decide on.

Some would say, that this proves in itself the fallacy of its Autonomy granted by the Central Government during the Peace Process.

ARMM Economy

The region is one of the most impoverished areas in the Philippines.

It has a per capita gross regional domestic product of only PhP3,433 in 2005, 75.8 percent lower than the national average of PhP14,186.

It is the lowest among the Philippines' 17 regions, the second lowest region has a per capita income almost double the ARMM's.

Poverty incidence in the region is a high 45.4 percent in 2003, almost twice the national average of 24.4 percent.

Significant progress has been made in reducing poverty in the region, which was reduced by 10.5 percent from the 2000 figure, only the Caraga region has a higher poverty incidence in 2003.

In 2000, all the four provinces of the ARMM were among the 10 poorest in the Philippines.

By 2003, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were out of the bottom 10, leaving only Maguindanao, which remains to be the second poorest or the second with the highest incidence of poverty among the Philippines' provinces.

Despite the autonomy, ARMM receives approximately 98% of its operating revenue from the National Government of the Philippines, and has yet to create significant, viable sources of additional revenue.

Perhaps for this reason, the per capita spending on such vital services as education and infrastructure are among the lowest in the Philippines, and the five provinces of the ARMM continue to be ranked consistently on the lower rungs of economic development within the country.

The per student expenditure on education, for example, is less than $100, with the result that students within ARMM schools generally score poorly, in comparison with other provinces, on standardized achievement tests administered throughout the country.

ARMM is one of the country's top producers of fish and marine resources, particularly seaweed, which is used in some toothpastes, cosmetics and paints. It has large mineral deposits, including copper and gold.

Dominant Moro groups.

There are at least ten ethnic groups comprising the Moro of the Philippines; all descended from the same Austronesian people (Malayo-Polynesian) that migrated from Taiwan and populated the regions of the Philippines, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and Madagascar.

Three of these groups make up the majority of these tribes. They are the Maguindanaon of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces, the Maranao of the Lanao provinces and the Tausug of the Sulu Archipelago.

Smaller groups include the Banguingui, Samal and the Bajau of the Sulu Archipelago; the Yakan of Basilan and Zamboanga del Sur, the Illanun of Lanao provinces and Davao and Sangir of Davao, the Molbog of southern Palawan and the Jama Mapuns of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island.

Moro groups are not united and they lack solidarity. Each group is proud of their culture, identity, language and religion. Internal differences manifested in occasional internecine dispute.

Christian converts (Tagalogs, Kapampangans, Cebuanos) to Islam may self-identify or be identified by others as Moro.

-------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM WIKIPEDIA

THE FIGHT FOR SABAH: Malaysia's or the Philippines' ?

The Jabidah massacre

In 1963, the resource-rich territory of Sabah, which had been under British control since the late nineteenth-century, formally became part of the Federation of Malaysia.

The Philippines, however, protested this, claiming that the eastern part of Sabah had never been sold to foreign interests, and that it had only been leased (padjak) by the Sulu Sultanate and therefore remained the property of the Sultan and by extension the property of Republic of the Philippines.

This dispute is believed to have led the then-President Diosdado Macapagal, and his successor President Ferdinand Marcos, to establish special military units tasked with fomenting dissent amongst Sabah's non-Malay ethnic groups, namely the Tausūg and Sama, two groups closely aligned ethnically and culturally with Filipinos.

OPERATION 'MERDEKA': PLAN TO ANNEX SABAH TO THE PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC LED BY PRESIDENT DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL (1961 - 1965), CONTINUED ON BY PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS (CIRCA 1968)


MACAPAGAL

The codename for this destabilisation programme was "Operation Merdeka" (merdeka meaning "freedom" in Malay), with Manuel Syquio as project leader and then Maj. Eduardo Abdul Latif Martelino as operations officer.

The object of this program was the annexation of Sabah to the Republic of the Philippines.

The plan involved the recruitment of nearly 200 Tausug and Sama Muslims aged 18 to 30 from Sulu Province and Tawi-Tawi and their training in the island town of Simunul in Tawi-Tawi.

Simunul is noted for being where the Arab missionary Makhdum built Taluksangay Mosque, the first mosque in the Philippines, in the 13th century.


MARCOS

The recruits were excited about the promise not only of a monthly allowance, but also over the prospect of eventually becoming a member of an elite unit in the armed forces.

From August to December 1967, the young recruits underwent training in Simunul. The name of the commando unit was Jabidah.

Aftermath: Realization of actual mission and massacre

On December 30, 1967, 135 to 180 recruits boarded a Philippine Navy vessel for the island of Corregidor at the mouth of Manila Bay for "specialized training".

This second phase of the training turned mutinous when the recruits discovered their true mission. It struck the recruits that the plan would mean not only fighting their brother Muslims in Sabah, but also possibly killing their own Tausūg and Sama relatives living there.

Additionally, the recruits had already begun to feel disgruntled over the non-payment of the promised monthly stipend. The recruits then demanded to be returned home.

The alleged sole survivor of the massacre, Jibin Arula, recounted how the young Moro recruits were taken in batches of twelve to a remote airstrip where they were executed with machine guns by their military handlers. Arula, who was wounded in the left knee, managed to attach himself to driftwood long enough to be rescued by fishermen from the nearby province of Cavite.

There has never been an official count, and different sources number the victims from 11 to about 200.

Protest and the starting of Moro insurgency in the southern Philippines

The subjective truth of the massacre took some time to emerge.

In March 1968 Moro students in Manila held a week-long protest vigil over an empty coffin marked ‘Jabidah’ in front of the Malacañang Palace.

They claimed “at least 28” Moro army recruits had been murdered. Court-martial proceedings were brought against twenty-three military personnel involved. There was also a firestorm in the Philippine press, attacking not so much the soldiers involved, but the culpability of a government administration that would foment such a plot, and then seek to cover it up by wholesale murder.

Though it has been argued that the Jabidah massacre was a myth, feelings about it in the Muslim community led to the crystallization of Moro discontent and the subsequent formation of the Moro National Liberation Front and, later, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


Regaining Sabah?

For years, Filipino Muslims had been complaining of official discrimination at the hands of consecutive governments and the Catholic majority.

This included discrimination in housing and education, as well as lack of government funding for the majority-Muslim south. Coupled with the official government policy of settling Filipino Christians in Mindanao, a class of radical Moro intellectuals emerged, led by student activist Nur Misuari.

The Jabidah Massacre further radicalised Filipino Muslims, leading some to take up arms in the style of the Communist Party of the Phlippines (CPP).

----------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

‘Ninoy vowed to drop Sabah claim to get KL support vs Marcos’ By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 13, 2013 - 12:00am


PhilStar photo --Former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.

MANILA, Philippines - Former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. had promised Malaysia in 1983 that the Philippines would drop its claim over Sabah in exchange for its support in the move to oust strongman Ferdinand Marcos, a former foreign affairs official revealed yesterday.

Hermes Dorado, former national territory division head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said Aquino met with then Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad Mahathir before he went back to the Philippines and was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983.

Dorado said there were no official records of the supposed meeting between Aquino and Mahathir, but said he “became privy to this bit of intelligence” from former ambassador and retired general Rafael Ileto.

“General Ileto indirectly confirmed that Ninoy Aquino asked for help from Mahathir in exchange for dropping the Sabah claim when he gains power,” Dorado told a forum at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.

Dorado said Ileto was the person assigned to monitor Aquino’s movement on his journey back to Manila.

“There was a commitment to help oust Marcos,” he added. “That is the reason why the government today is somehow reluctant to support the Sabah claim.”

“Our hands are tied today because the leadership up to this day is committed to drop the Philippine claim of Sabah,” he said.

According to Dorado, the clearest proof of Ninoy’s supposed pledge to Malaysia will be found in the 1987 Constitution, which was written during the presidency of his widow Corazon Aquino.


President Corazon Aquino

Dorado said the 1987 Constitution amended the first article of the 1973 Constitution and removed the phrase, “and all other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title.”

The 1987 Constitution revised the definition of Philippine territory and “deleted Sabah as a historic claim backed up by the legal title pertaining to the sultanate of Sulu,” he added.

Dorado said Mrs. Aquino had no choice but to honor Ninoy’s commitment to Mahathir because she needed support from ASEAN nations to legitimize her ascendancy to the presidency through the people power revolution.

“Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir adamantly refused to attend the ASEAN Summit in Manila until President Cory made a firm commitment to amend Article 1 of the 1973 Constitution,” Dorado pointed out.

“Malaysian hard-ball diplomatic and guerrilla war maneuverings, backed by shrewd use of economic leverage, sourced from huge revenues from oil extracted in Sabah, were completed by 1987,” he added.

“They succeeded in forcing the Constitutional Commission to drop the Philippine Sabah claim, hands down.”

Dorado said the amended Baselines Law approved in March 2009 resulted in the exclusion of Sabah from the Philippine territory.

He said the amended law removed Section 2 of the 1968 law that included the phrase, “…the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty.”

“Removal of the specific reference to Sabah represented a disastrous outcome to the claims of the sultanate of Sulu,” Dorado said.

He claimed the results of the supposed “Ninoy-Mahathir pact” have destroyed all peaceful possibilities of pursuing the country’s claims.

Proprietary rights

Reacting to Dorado’s presentation, Princess Jacel Kiram – daughter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III – maintained that Filipinos have proprietary rights in Sabah.

“We have so much wealth in Sabah na dapat tayo ang nakikinabang (we should be the ones benefitting),” Jacel said.

She said the lease agreement over North Borneo expired in 1978.

She accused the Aquino administration of protecting the interests of the Malaysian prime minister rather than the interest of the Filipino people.

“I would prefer to be another (nationality) rather than a Filipino citizen under our current set of leaders,” she said.

During the forum, Jacel confirmed the meeting between her uncle Sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram II and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

“This is the first official talk from our side and from the side of the government,” she said, declining to provide additional information as she was not privy to what was discussed in the meeting.

Jacel said the development was a “good gesture” on the part of the government, and that its intention was for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Citing latest information from Sabah, Jacel said Agbimuddin Kiram and his people are safe but a lot of Filipinos have become victims of excessive force by Malaysian security forces. – With Paolo Romero, Jaime Laude, Marvin Sy


WORLD NEWS FROM 'THE AGE' FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1977


BIRTH OF THE REBEL GROUP: Moro National Liberation Front (MILF)

This new organization, formed in the early 1970s and led by Misuari, was named the Moro National Liberation Front.

1981

Following a split over the role of Islam in a Bangsamoro state, a new, more conservative movement emerged in 1981, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF; Arabic: جبهة تحرير مورو الإسلامية‎ Jabhat Tahrīr Moro al-ʿIslāmiyyah) is a rebel group in Mindanao, Philippines seeking autonomy of the Moro people from the central government.

The group has a presence in the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, Basilan, and other neighbouring islands.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a Moro and Lumad group formed in the 1960s following the Jabidah massacre to achieve greater Bangsamoro autonomy in the southern Philippines.

The MNLF took part in terrorist attacks and assassinations to achieve their goals. The government in Manila sent troops into the southern Philippines to control the insurgency.


GADDAFI-- Lybia's Muammar Gaddafi became a longstanding supporter of the MILF after its emergence.

In 1976, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi brokered a negotiation between the Philippine government and MNLF Leader Nur Misuari which led to the signing of the MNLF-GRPH Tripoli Agreement of 1976 wherein the MNLF accepted the Philippine government's offer of semi-autonomy of the regions in dispute.

READ MORE...

The signing of this agreement brought about a serious rift in MNLF leadership, leading to the formation of a breakaway group in 1977 by Hashim Salamat and 57 MNLF officers.

The group was initially known as "The New Leadership". Misuari expelled Salamat in December 1977, after which Salamat moved his new organization first to Cairo, Egypt and then, in 1980, to Lahore, Pakistan, where it engaged in diplomatic activities.

This organization was formally established in 1984 as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.(MILF).

Muammar Gaddafi became a longstanding supporter of the MILF after its emergence.

EXCERPT FROM PHILSTAR By columnist Crmen Pedrosa:


PEDROSA

Why Libya? FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa | Updated July 5, 2008

Libyan Ambassador HE Salem Adam is back in Manila to try, once again, for the nth time to put together bickering factions within the MNLF.

A reconciliation and a map for action seemed to have been clinched when no less than Saif al-Islam Gaddafi came to Manila last December to tell them how important it was for them to unite.

That is the only way they can help to lift up the lives of their fellow Muslims. There cannot be ifs and buts about it if they cared for the people’s welfare. It can only be achieved through peace and stability.

They would have to come together whether MNLF or MILF as Bangsa Moro for a peace agreement among themselves and ultimately with the Philippine government. It is a tall order. How can peace be forged with the government when they cannot even agree among themselves?

Saif Gaddafi’s personal appeal in December and the meeting in Tripoli in May brought that dream of unification closer. It is on time with Saif’s proposed schedule.

But there are still a few kinks and that is what brought HE Salem back to Manila to try to sort out. Nur Misuari’s group sent two representatives, Ustadz Shariff Zain Jali and Prof. Samsula Adju of Sulu, to the meeting in Tripoli.

An agreement was signed and sealed but back in Manila, Misuari is said to be wavering whether to adopt the May 18 “Tripoli Declaration on Unity and Reconciliation of the MNLF Leadership.”

Misuari is out on bail thanks partly to the Libyans, chiefly Saif, who interceded for him when he came to Manila. The May Tripoli agreement for “a transition leadership and unification committee” included Nur Misuari.

It is often asked “Why Libya?” What is its interest for peace in Mindanao?

Why has a country so far away taken such untiring efforts, no matter how difficult it has been, to bring all parties to the table to achieve peace? Click HERE for full article from Philstar archive..

In January 1987, the MNLF accepted the Philippine government's offer of semi-autonomy of the regions in dispute, subsequently leading to the establishment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The MILF, however, refused to accept this offer and continued their insurgency operations.

A general cessation of hostilities between the government in Manila and the MILF was signed in July 1997 but this agreement was abolished in 2000 by the Philippine Army under the administration of Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

In response, the MILF declared a jihad (strived and struggled) against the government, its citizens and supporters.

---------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM WIKIPEDIA AND PHNO ARCHIVES

The MNLF's Pursuit of Liberation: Independence over Autonomy


Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari has "established" a federated state and named him as the president following the declaration of independence early this week in Sulu province, an MNLF official said. Ibrahim said the declaration of Misuari was made under the authority of the United Nation General Assembly 1514 resolution of 1960 granting independence to all colonized countries. AUGUST 2013 -PHNO ARCHIVES

In pursuit of their goal of “liberating” the Bangsamoro, the MNLF engaged the government forces in extensive armed collisions, peaking in the early 70s when the rebels’ blitz-like operations brought them control of a substantial number of municipalities surrounding Cotabato City and its airport complex.

This prompted the Marcos regime to beef up military presence by deploying almost three-fourths of the army in most Muslim parts of Mindanao.

Things took a different turn in 1976 when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi brokered an agreement that led to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement that introduced the concept of an autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao.

On August 1, 1989, under the mandate of the new 1987 Constitution, Congress enacted Republic Act 6734 authorizing the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

However, out of the 13 provinces and 9 cities that participated in the plebiscite, only the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi opted to become part of the ARMM.

The ARMM was formally established on 6 November 1990.

Instead of bringing the Muslim leaders together, this agreement further fragmented the MNLF because some factions within the group preferred independence over autonomy.

Thus, a group of officers led by Hashim Salamat broke away and formed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to continue their armed struggle for an independent Bangsamoro (Moro nation) in Mindanao.

Though the combined strength of these two rebel forces has not reached a point of posing any real threat to the government in Manila, their existence—and the reasons for their resilience—certainly brings lots of headaches for the government.

For nearly five decades, five presidents have tried to completely end these two rebellions, utilizing both force and diplomacy. So far, no combination has succeeded.

Perhaps the most remarkable effort to bring closure to these movements was that of the Ramos Administration, which tried to reach out to both the communist and Muslim rebels through peaceful means.

Ramos sat down with the rebel leaders in an attempt to solve both problems at their roots.

Peace with separatists: FVR and the MNLF

Ramos, a military general himself, made peace with the rebel panels.


In this June 1998 file photo, former President Fidel Ramos and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari exchange a congratulatory embrace after ...FROM PHILSTAR ARCHIVE

He was instrumental in the signing of the final peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Nur Misuari in 1996.


2001: MILF UNDER 2 PRESIDENTs, GLORIA MACAPAGAL & 'ERAP' ESTRADA

Under President Gloria Arroyo, the government entered into a cease-fire agreement with the MILF and resumed peace talks.


SCREENGRAB: Uploaded on Aug 17, 2008 President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's statement on the attacks of Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, New Executive Building, Malacanang, August 18, 2008.

Despite peace negotiations and the cease-fire agreement, the MILF attacked government troops in Maguindanao resulting in at least twenty-three deaths in January 2005.

The combined armies of the MILF and Abu Sayyaf were involved in days of fighting which necessitated government troops using heavy artillery to engage rebel forces.


Osama Bin Laden believed and allegedly funding MILF

The bombing incident in Davao Airport in 2003 which the Philippine government blamed on MILF members, raised speculation that the peace negotiations might be ineffectual in bringing peace to Mindanao if the MILF is unable to control its operatives.

The MILF denies ties with terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, although Jemaah Islamiyah is considered to have provided them with training facilities in areas they control.


Hambali: Believed to be Jemaah Islamiah's head of operations, or military leader. He was thought to be the main link between Jemaah Islamiah and al-Qaeda From sbs.com.au August 26, 2013

The MILF also continues to deny connections with Al-Qaeda, though it has admitted to sending around 600 volunteers to Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and that Osama Bin Laden sent money to the Philippines, though the group denies directly receiving any payment.

From June 28 to July 6, 2006, conflict between the MILF and armed civilian volunteers under Maguindanao Province governor Andal Ampatuan who were supported by the Philippine Army had been reported. The fighting began after governor Ampatuan blamed the MILF for a June 23 bomb attack on his motorcade, which killed five in his entourage.

READ MORE...

The MILF denied responsibility, but Ampatuan sent police and civilian volunteers to arrest MILF members connected to the attack. Four thousand families were reported displaced by the fighting that followed, which was ended by a cease-fire agreement signed on July 10 and 11.

Talks between the MILF and the government collapsed in 2008 after a Supreme Court decision in Sema vs. COMELEC which rejected a preliminary accord that would have expanded the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In 2011, the MILF withdrew their demands for independence, instead saying that they would pursue substate status, likened to a U.S. state instead of independence from the Philippines.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

MILF UNDER THE 'ERAP' PRESIDENCY

War against the MILF

During the Ramos administration a cessation of hostilities agreement was signed between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in July 1997.

This was continued by a series of peace talks and negotiations in Estrada administration. However the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), an Islamic group formed in 1977, seeks to be an independent Islamic State from the Philippines, despite the agreements, a sequence of terrorist attacks with the Philippine military and the civilians still continued.

Such of those attack are 277 violations committed, kidnapping a foreign priest, namely Father Luciano Benedetti, the occupying and setting on fire of the municipal hall of Talayan, Maguindanao; the takeover of the Kauswagan Municipal Hall; the bombing of the Lady of Mediatrix boat at Ozamiz City; and the takeover of the Narciso Ramos Highway.

By doing so, they inflicted severe damage on the country's image abroad, and scared much-needed investments away. In addition to this, the Philippine government learned that the MILF has links with Al-Qaeda.

Because of this, on March 21, 2000, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada declared an "all-out-war" against the MILF.

During the war the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked Estrada to have a cease-fire with MILF, but Estrada opposed the idea arguing that a cease-fire would cause more terrorist attacks.

For the next three months of the war, Camp Abubakar, headquarters of the MILF, fell along with other 13 major camps and 43 minor camps, and then all of which became under controlled by the government.

The MILF leader Hashim Salamat fled the country and went to Malaysia. The MILF later declared a Jihad on the government.

On July 10 of the same year, the President went to Minadanao and raised the Philippine flag symbolizing victory. After the war the President said, "... will speed up government efforts to bring genuine and lasting peace and development in Mindanao". In the middle of July the president ordered the military to arrest top MILF leaders.

In his state of the nation address, the President highlighted his vision for Mindanao:

The first is to restore and maintain peace in Mindanao—because without peace, there can be no development.

The second is to develop Mindanao—because without development, there can be no peace.

The third is to continue seeking peace talks with the MILF within the framework of the Constitution—because a peace agreed upon in good faith is preferable to a peace enforced by force of arms.

And the fourth is to continue with the implementation of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front, or MNLF—because that is our commitment to our countrymen and to the international community.

In addition to this the president said his administration can move with more speed in transforming Mindanao into a progressive economic center.

High on the list of priorities was the plight of MILF guerrillas who were tired of fighting and had no camps left to report to.

On October 5, 2000 the first massive surrender of 669 MILF mujahideen led by the renegade vice mayor of Marugong, Lanao del Sur Malupandi Cosandi Sarip and seven other battalion commanders, surrendered to President Joseph Ejercito Estrada at the 4th ID headquarters in Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Bgy. Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.

They were followed shortly by a second batch of 855 surrenderees led by MILF Commander Sayben Ampaso on Dec. 29, 2000.

However, the war with the MILF was severely criticized by foreign and media observers.


EDGARDO ANGARA

In fact Agriculture Secretary Edgardo Angara bridled at the high cost of Mindanao specifically the diversion of resources from military operations that eat away from the agriculture modernization program.

Angara was quoted as saying "What General Reyes asks, he gets".

Moreover the fighting in Mindanao even destroyed more than P135 million worth of crops and 12,000 hectares of rice and corn fields.


WIKIPEDIA

THE MINDANAO PEACE PROCESS UNDER 4 PRESIDENTs
[FROM THE PRESIDENCY OF FIDEL RAMOS TO BENIGNO S. AQUINO III]

Even before being elected president, Fidel V. Ramos had actively pursued the assistance of foreign Muslim leaders to solve the problem in Mindanao.

Thus, he strongly sought the intercession of Gaddafi because of his instrumental role in the signing of the Tripoli Agreement earlier in 1976.

Indeed, with Gaddafi’s assistance, the Philippine government was able to sign the Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF in 1996 in what was supposed to be the end of the Moro armed struggle in Mindanao.

Misuari was elected governor of the ARMM and was tasked to supervise the implementation of the peace pact.

Unfortunately, other factions within the MNLF were not satisfied with this peace pact and saw this as a deviation from the framework of the Tripoli Agreement. Their desire for complete secession from Philippine sovereignty led to the establishment of the MILF, which will be another challenge to Ramos’ efforts to bring peace in Mindanao after two decades of negotiations with the MNLF.

Ramos negotiates with the MILF, Estrada balks

The exploratory and preparatory talks between the government and the MILF started in August 1996, followed by low-level negotiations commencing January the following year. An Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between the two parties was signed in July 1997.

Ramos’ term as president ended in June 1998, but the low-level negotiations continued under the new administration of President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada.

By October 1999 formal peace talks would commence, only to be suspended by Estrada’s sudden policy-shift by declaring an “all-out war” against the MILF.

Subsequently, the MILF's chairman Salamat declared jihad against Estrada's administration.

Estrada’s all-out war policy led to the capture of Camp Abubakar, MILF’s main headquarters. The president himself led the military in raising the Philippine flag in the erstwhile rebel stronghold, bringing trucks of lechon (roasted pig) and beer for the triumphant soldiers in what was considered as an insult to the MILF—because pork and alcohol are both prohibited in Islam.

Arroyo resumes peace talks

When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001, the peace process was revived with a unilateral declaration of ceasefire on the part of the government. With the assistance of the Malaysian government, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita and MILF Vice-Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim signed the Agreement for the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks between the government and the MILF.

CONTINUE READING...

On March 31, 2001, Republic Act 9054 lapsed into law without the signature of the president. This law amended the Organic Act of the ARMM to provide for the region’s expansion from the original four provinces under its jurisdiction.

The Provinces of Basilan, North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Palawan, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, and the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, Digos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan participated in the plebiscite.

However, only Marawi City and Basilan (excluding Isabela City) voted to be included in the ARMM.

Later that year, the peace process fell apart when the military attacked the MILF just a day after the ancestral domain aspect of the Tripoli Agreement was signed in Libya.

This attack was based on intelligence reports that the MILF has been aiding the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which at that time held some American and Filipino hostages in Basilan.

A ceasefire would once again ensue after informal talks between the government and the MILF through the intercession of Malaysia.

On October 29, 2001, the MILF and the MNLF hold unity talks, but this would fall apart barely a month later when Nur Misuari allegedly led a rebellion in Sulu and Zamboanga City to stall the scheduled ARMM elections. A hundred people died in the incident.


MISUARI BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN HIDING FOR A WHILE  EITHER IN SABAH OR IN HIS NATIVE PROVINCE OF JOLO.

The government quelled this rebellion and Misuari escaped to Sabah, but the Malaysian government later on deported him back to the Philippines to face rebellion charges.

On May 6, 2002, the fourth round of formal peace talks between the government and the MILF resulted in both parties agreeing to veto criminal syndicates and kidnap-for-ransom groups in Mindanao, and to implement the Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development aspect of the Tripoli Agreement.

A final draft of the peace accord was presented to the leaders of Congress on February 10, 2003, but on the next day, a setback would ensue as the military launched an offensive in Buliok Complex against the MILF which would last for more than a week.

Ceasefire was enforced three weeks later. By March, the parties began exploratory talks in Malaysia with a commitment from both sides for a “mutual secession of hostilities.” The aspect of a Muslim ancestral domain was laid down as the next agenda for the peace talks. Until the end of 2008, the peace process remained in a deadlock due to constitutional and legal issues surrounding the ancestral domain aspect.

THE (MOA-AD) Muslim Ancestral Domain and the Bangsamoro Juridical

On July 27, 2009, a Memorandum of Agreement on the Muslim Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was finalized in Malaysia. Under this agreement, some 700 villages in Mindanao would hold a referendum within a year to determine if they intend to join the “Bangsamoro Juridical Entity,” an associated state which would be formed after the necessary constitutional amendments are undertaken by the government. This agreement was scheduled to be signed on August 5, with the final peace agreement set to be concluded by November.



Three days before the scheduled signing of the MOA-AD, local officials of North Cotabato filed a case asking the Supreme Court to block the signing of this agreement.

On October 14, the Court voted 9-6 to strike down the MOA-AD as unconstitutional.

According to the decision penned by Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, “the Constitution does not recognize any state within this country other than the Philippine State, much less does it provide for the possibility of any transitory status to prepare any part of Philippine territory for independence.”

Likewise, the Court held as unconstitutional the guarantees under the MOA-AD that the government will implement the necessary constitutional amendments to create a framework for its implementation.

According to the Court, the peace panel and even the president do not have the authority to make such guarantees because they do not have the power to propose amendments to the Constitution, such power being vested exclusively in Congress.

The junking of the MOA-AD marked another setback for the peace process, with the armed conflicts for the year 2008 reaching a record-high of 30 incidents in Mindanao.

In an effort to salvage the negotiations, Arroyo declared the suspension of military operations against the MILF on July 2009.


PHILSTAR EDITORIAL COLUMN - SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 3, 2014 - 12:00am 0 19 googleplus0 0

A new deal - P-NOY's BBL
[A key difference between the ARMM and the BBL is that the new autonomous region will have a ministerial form of government, with voters directly picking parties whose members will then select their ministers]


Ana Marie Pamintuan

When a framework agreement for peace is signed, we cross our fingers and hope for the best.

By President Aquino’s timetable, the Bangsamoro political entity would have replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when his term ends in 2016.

“Replacement” is a word that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) demanded in the peace negotiations, according to the government panel.

A key difference between the ARMM and the Bangsamoro is that the new autonomous region will have a ministerial form of government, with voters directly picking parties whose members will then select their ministers.

This autonomous, secular government will have wide powers over economic activities and revenue generation in the Bangsamoro, including the exploitation of natural resources.

Another difference is that the MILF has agreed to “normalization” or to gradually lay down its weapons, with the national police and Armed Forces of the Philippines providing security in the Bangsamoro until a regular regional police is formed. There was no “decommissioning” or normalization under the peace treaty with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

A third difference is that there will be a mechanism for transitional justice and reconciliation.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer told us they wanted to “de-emphasize the judicial recourse” including punishment. Instead they want to focus on documentation of the conflict and the steps leading to peace, and find modes for reparation.

As envisioned, the Bangsamoro will include the current ARMM along with the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan, six towns in Lanao del Norte, plus all the villages in six towns that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite.

Other areas can seek inclusion in the Bangsamoro as long as the land is contiguous to the special region, and if the local government passes a resolution or at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area seek inclusion two months before the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

READ MORE...

The “road map” starts with the creation of a Transition Commission, which will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law and submit it to Congress.

P-Noy will certify this as urgent. Once enacted, the law will be subjected to a plebiscite in which the affected areas will also vote for or against inclusion in the Bangsamoro entity. More than one province must vote for inclusion to create the Bangsamoro.

If the basic law is ratified, the ARMM is deemed abolished.

Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be appointed. Under the envisioned timeline, the election for the Bangsamoro government may be held simultaneously with the general elections in May 2016.

The Bangsamoro entity will then be signed, sealed and delivered by P-Noy to his successor.

Once all aspects of the agreement have been implemented, both parties will sign an exit document, officially terminating the peace negotiations.

* * *

Certain government officials have sighed to me that the landmark event seems not to have elicited the kind of public excitement reserved in other countries for progress in their own peace initiatives.

Foreign governments in fact seem more excited about the event, promising development assistance for the process and the Bangsamoro once it is created, and marveling at the fact that a predominantly Catholic country is giving Muslims autonomy.

This is probably because Pinoys know we already have an autonomous Muslim region and an existing peace treaty with the original separatist group.

That autonomous region is one of the poorest in the country – the site of at least two major election cheating scandals, plus the massacre of 58 people by (it is widely believed) the clan that controlled the ARMM for a decade.

Will the MILF do better? In free elections, will its political party win? And if it doesn’t, will it abide by the results?

Is a ministerial form of regional government even allowed under the Constitution? The peace panels think so, citing provisions in Article X on the creation of autonomous regions. But this question may reach the Supreme Court, derailing the P-Noy timetable.

The framework agreement’s annex on “transitional arrangements and modalities” states that the Transition Commission will work on constitutional amendments “whenever necessary” to “accommodate and entrench” the agreements of the government and MILF.

This has created some confusion, as Malacañang has said Charter change is not needed to implement the agreement.

In terms of mood creation, that military attack on lairs of the MILF breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters looked like a preemptive strike against potential saboteurs, but it also gave the impression that the signing of the framework agreement triggered more armed conflict.

* * *


FERRER AND DELES

Ferrer and presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles, who visited The STAR last Friday together with panel member Senen Bacani, have always acknowledged the difficulties still ahead.

The MNLF faction under founding chieftain Nur Misuari, who signed the 1996 peace deal, is a particular challenge.

Deles says the framework agreement did not abrogate the 1996 pact as the MNLF says. “How can you wipe out something that has become reality?” she asked.

She recalled she and the panel members were meeting with P-Noy before their departure for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when Misuari loyalists launched the siege of Zamboanga City on Sept. 9 last year.

The peace panel asked Indonesia, facilitator of the 1996 peace treaty, on Sept 10 and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sept. 12 for any help to resolve the conflict.

“None of the eight countries present offered a proposal,” according to the government’s Q&A handout.

The peace process cannot give Misuari “what he wants, which is perpetual entitlement to leadership of the ARMM,” according to the Q&A. But Deles stressed “we’re open to engage.”

Another lesson learned from the 1996 pact is that a peace deal must be backed by development. The World Bank is assisting the government in crafting a Bangsamoro Development Plan through which foreign assistance will be channeled to the new entity.

The MILF has three development priorities: education, health and livelihood opportunities. Eventually the group hopes to promote tourism. “They don’t want to be forever dependent,” Deles said.

She admits there were low points when the panel felt overwhelmed by the challenges.

“(But) it’s not my job to keep in that mode for long. By the next morning we go again,” Deles told us. “It’s not going to be easy. We know it’s not yet time to rest. These challenges will come but it will not deter us. It will not deter the process.”

In 2013 taxpayers forked out P314 million for the peace process. This year the amount is up slightly, to P321 million.

“It’s cheaper than war,” Deles said.


P-NOY's BBL: Bangsamoro Basic Law (Filipino: Batayang Batas ng Bangsamoro)  --February 2011 Peace Talks resumed under Aquino govt--October 2012 Aquino signed the BBL draft --January 24, 2014 P-NOY's 'PEACE PANEL' signed final annex to BBL in Kuala Lumpur --March 27,  2014 BBL signed by GRP (Govt of Republic of the Phl) and the MILF. To be personally submitted to House by Aquino who wanted it marked 'urgent'.

Noynoy Aquino resumes peace talks

The administration of Benigno Aquino III resumed peace negotiations, the 20th round, with the MILF in February 2011, after the rebel group announced that they were no longer seeking secession from the Philippines.

But the prospects for peace remained elusive as rogue MILF forces conducted sporadic attacks against government forces in several areas in Mindanao despite the existing ceasefire agreement.

Worst of these attacks came on October 18, 2011 when MILF forces ambushed an Army contingent in Al-Barka, Basilan killing 19 young soldiers and wounding 12 others.

Despite the MILF’s half-hearted efforts to make these rogue leaders answer for their attacks, the president and the military hierarchy rejected calls for an all-out-war approach to this problem.

The Al-Barka attack came just two months after Aquino’s controversial meeting with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo.

This gave rise to concerns that the real reason for the stalled peace process is not just the government’s lukewarm effort to make peace, but also the lack of sincerity of the rebel groups in negotiating lasting peace with the government in Philippines military for 245.

THE AQUINO III BBL DRAFT: Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

On October 15, 2012, the Philippine government signed a much-hyped document touted as the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which culminates the Aquino Administration's effort to end the deadlock in the peace process.

READ MORE...

This new document, while merely providing for a general framework for the actual peace negotiations, announces that "the status quo is unacceptable and that the Bangsamoro shall be established to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Bangsamoro is the new autonomous political entity (NPE) referred to in the Decision Points of Principles as of April 2012."

According to President Aquino, this is the agreement that "can finally seal genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao."


‘NEW ERA’ IN MINDANAO – President Aquino, who has projected ‘a new era’ in the country’s far south, witnesses and participates in the turnover yesterday of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte by Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang. The new Bangsamoro region, expected to exercise genuine autonomy, will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao once it is passed by Congress and ratified in a plebiscite. Also in photo are Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles (left) and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. (right) (Richard Viñas) MANILA BULLETIN ARCHIVE

On January 24, 2014, Philippine government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferer and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signed the final annex of the peace agreement in Kuala Lumpur.

Two months later, on March 27, 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed in Manila and witnessed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.


Government Peace Panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (rightmost) and Moro Islamic Liberation Cront chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signs the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Malacañang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, March 27, 2014. AP

The agreement would pave the way for the creation of the new Muslim autonomous entity called "Bangsamoro" under a law to be approved by the Philippine Congress.

The government aims to set up the region by 2016.

The agreement calls for Muslim self-rule in parts of the southern Philippines in exchange for a deactivation of rebel forces by the MILF.

MILF forces would turn over their firearms to a third party to be selected by the MILF and the Philippine government. A regional police force would be established and the Philippine military would reduce the presence of troops and help disband private armies in the area

On March 27, 2014, a comprehensive peace deal was signed between the Government of the Republic of the Philippine, or GRP, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

This was after two decades of negotiations started during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1997.

On 7 October 2012, President Benigno Aquino III said that the government aimed to have peace in the autonomous region and that it will become known as Bangsamoro, a compound of bangsa (nation) and Moro.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM WIKIPEDIA

THE COLLAPSE OF BBL
[The BBL was passed in the House of Representatives despite probation against Constitution. 44% of Filipinos were opposed to the law's passage, with only 22% supporting its passage.]

The Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL (Filipino: Batayang Batas ng Bangsamoro) is a draft law intended to establish the Bangsamoro political entity in the Philippines and provide for its basic structure of government, which will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The BBL was passed in the House of Representatives despite probation against Constitution.

The proposed law is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The draft of the law was personally submitted by President Benigno Aquino III to Congress leaders on September 10, 2014.

Reception

A March 2015 surveys conducted by public opinions polling group Pulse Asia found that 44% of Filipinos were opposed to the law's passage, with only 22% supporting its passage.

Opposition to the law was strongest among the poor (45% in Class D, 43% in Class E) and among those living in Mindanao (62%). Awareness of the law was high, at 88%.

With the collapse in popularity of the bill, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. acknowledged the prospect that the bill may be rejected by Congress in the face of stiff public opposition, and hoped that the government would produce a "Plan B".

-----------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM INQUIRER FLASHBACK SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Gov’t exudes confidence on BBL: There’s no plan B
@inquirerdotnet 12:02 AM September 10th, 2014

COTABATO CITY—No plan B.


Miriam Coronel-Ferrer

This is how confident the government peace panel in talks with Moro rebels is about the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which President Aquino is expected to submit to Congress today (Wednesday).

“The President is a popular President,” said professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the panel that negotiated a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“He enjoys much support from most members of Congress,” she added.

Speaking at a forum here yesterday, Ferrer said the government panel did not craft an alternative measure because it was confident of the BBL’s passage with the endorsement of President Benigno Aquino III.

“We have no plan B for that,” she said.

Ferrer said the support of the President’s allies in Congress made the panel confident of the passage of the measure.

Aquino would personally submit today the proposed BBL to Congress in rites to be held in Malacañang to be attended by the leaders of Congress—Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

READ MORE...

A meeting last week between Aquino and Murad Ebrahim, MILF chair, proved to be the breakthrough for the much-awaited submission of the draft law to Congress, according to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“There is a sense of urgency,” said Coloma. “That’s why they took the opportunity to meet face-to-face,” he added.

He said “all of the concerns were sufficiently resolved to the satisfaction of both sides.” He refused to elaborate, however, saying the President stopped short of revealing the details. Aquino is certifying the BBL as an urgent measure.

But the meeting, according to Coloma, “strengthened the ties between the President and chair Murad.”

According to Ferrer, the draft BBL contains provisions in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement signed in Malacañang, and more details on governance, starting with the formation of a Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

Should Congress reject the BBL, however, Ferrer said, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which Aquino administration officials described as a failed experiment in autonomy, would remain in place.

“This is a repealing law,” Ferrer said. “And if it cannot repeal the existing law, then it’s still the ARMM,” she said.

According to Coloma, the draft BBL that would be submitted today is the “agreed version” after the MILF in June protested revisions made by the legal team of the Office of the President in an earlier draft.

The MILF had said the revisions watered down the original draft.
Nikko Dizon in Manila, with a report from Nash B. Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao


ABS-CBN POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2015

Analyst warns: Don't rush BBL for PNoy's sake ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 02/15/2015 6:44 PM | Updated as of 02/16/2015 5:36 PM


UP professor Clarita Carlos: Graduated peace needed, says UP prof

MANILA (UPDATED) - Passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) within the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to become part of his legacy will only spawn more problems, an analyst warned.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s "The Bottomline," UP professor Clarita Carlos said:

“Let time pass. Let’s not anymore rush this to make it before the end of the Aquino administration, which has around 500 days or so left.”

Carlos is referring to the emotions still running high after the death of 44 police commandos, 18 civilians, and at least seven civilians in the Mamasapano clash last January 25.

She noted that there are many forces who want the BBL passed to add to Aquino’s legacies.

Former peace panel chair, retired General Rodolfo Garcia, said it is obvious that the BBL is currently “in hard times. There is an outpouring of negative sentiments against the BBL.”

For one, he pointed out that the BBL allows for a police force under the Bangsamoro and that people are now wary of giving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) their own police force amid the Mamasapano incident.

With the Mamasapano incident as foreground, a rushed BBL may not reflect what has been stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro earlier signed by the MILF and Aquino.

“The question is, will [the BBL] be acceptable to our brother Muslims?” he asked.

'LET EMOTIONS DIE DOWN'

International Alert country director Pancho Lara, for his part, said peace stakeholders need to explain to the public that the BBL is not just a mere piece of legislation. He said it will dictate where the peace process will go.

READ MORE...

But Carlos hopes the Mamasapano incident will not be the kiss of death for the BBL.

“Let emotions die down. That’s the reason why negotiations can’t be done at the heat of the moment. Otherwise, you make mistakes and errors in judgment,” she said, adding that “graduated peace” should be the battle cry for now.

“I think peace in parts or graduated peace is where we should go,” she said.

She also urged the adults who want to scuttle the BBL altogether to “give our young people the optimism of the future,” stressing that peace is still possible.

“Yes, there have been lots of challenges in the past, but people have to move forward. People will take stock of what happened, but people will realize the long term effects of peace,” she said.

Garcia warned that the alternative of peace is not acceptable.

“The imperative is for us to have the BBL. Perhaps it is wise to put on hold when emotions are still running high… but let’s go back to work in putting BBL into law. The alternative is hard to imagine. The alternative is possibly war,” he said.


FROM THE MNLF BLOG

EDITORIAL: BANGSAMORO HISTORICAL NOTES 14 Aug 2015

“WHEN WILL FILIPINO COLONIZERS END INJUSTICE AND
GENOCIDE WAR AGAINST THE OPPRESSED BANGSAMORO PEOPLE?” – REVEREND ABSALOM CERVEZA



The stark injustice committed by the Luzon-based Filipino colonizers against the oppressed tri-people (Muslims, Animist Lumads and Christians) of the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) has surely led to the prolongation of the Filipino-Moro conflict in the war-torn territory.

The decades-long colonial genocide war of conquest by the Filipino colonialist land-grabbers today has only duplicated the savagery and wickedness employed by the Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers in the past.

The Spanish, American, Japanese and Filipino invaders have similarly used colonization as oppressive weapon to subjugate and to enslave the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

Worse, the heartless colonizers resulted to using their own alien laws or man-made constitution in justifying their land-grabbing scheme, plunder and crime against humanity with the callous intent to deceive both the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities as well as the whole of humanity forever.

Today, the Filipino colonizers have used the same colonial strategy to stranglehold the Bangsamoro people, turning deaf and blind to the grave injustice done against the colonized victims. Worse, they want to impose a “cursed” identity and prostituted culture upon the colonized and brutalized Indigenous Peoples.

CONTINUE READING...

Thus, the Mindanao tri-people (Muslim, Animist Lumad natives and conscious Christian settlers) have militantly opposed their tyrannical colonial conquest by continuously pursuing a freedom struggle to liquidate Philippine colonialism in the Bangsamoro homeland.

Today to help right the wrong, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) spearheaded by its once President Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, has repeatedly pointed out the “injustice” against the identity, sovereignty and development of the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao as the primary root cause of the conflict.

However, the Filipino colonialist land-grabbers, headed by the political leaders in Malacanang, both Houses of Philippine Congress and majority of the so-called justices in the Philippine Supreme Court have shown no moral integrity and uprightness to accept the truth?

On this turn of colonial events, Reverend Absalom Cerveza, Spokesman of the MNLF Peace Panel, has always bewailed the brazenness and callousness of the Luzon-based Filipino colonialist land-grabbers in committing the grievous injustice against the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

In the past, Cerveza has publicly posited that “Mindanao peace is Bangsamoro freedom, not injustice of Philippine colonialism.” He has also called the attention of the Filipino colonizers to take stock of the damage and danger of the continuation of the Mindanao war. He has pleaded for the stoppage of the crime against humanity by the Filipino colonialist occupation forces for Mindanao peace.

He has earnestly appealed time and again to Philippine colonialism to be straightforward, serious and sincere to achieve a permanent and comprehensive peaceful settlement to the Mindanao problem.

He has called repeatedly on the Filipino colonizers not to betray Mindanao peace time and again because it will only make the “Catholic” Filipino nation a land of war-mongers and continuously “sick man of Asia.”

But the Philippine government or ‘Imperial Manila’ has had repeatedly betrayed Mindanao peace by reneging on correctly implementing the peace agreements forged between the government and the MNLF except in implementing its own unilateral superficial version.

Now, Reverend Cerveza has posed another question to the Filipino colonizers and the whole of humanity: “When will Filipino colonizers of Luzon end the injustice and genocide war against the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao?”

He is also now wondering why the notorious Mamapasano invasion was designed by Malacanang to be used again a justification to create another unilateral and farcical autonomous entity in the Bangsamoro ancestral homeland that never can guarantee Mindanao peace.


MALACANANG SAID, President Benigno Aquino III is not concealing the supposed involvement of resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima in the Mamasapano mission that left 44 people dead. PHILSTAR MARCH 10, 2015

The treacherous Mamapasano invasion led to the killing of 43 Filipino PNP SAF invaders, 8 Bangsamoro freedom fighters and 12 civilian Muslims that contributed to the rough sailing of BBL to be enacted into law.

UNDER PHILIPPINE COLONIALISM, CAN ARMM AND CONTROVERSIAL BBL BRING MINDANAO PEACE?

“It is impossible that the unilaterally created ARMM and another Philippine Congress-enacted BBL can bring Mindanao peace,” said Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).


MISUARI

He has emphasized that the comprehensive solution to the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao is for the two parties in agreement to correctly implement the international peace agreements. He could not just understand why the ‘peace process’ is used by the Manila government to prolong merely the Mindanao conflict to institutionalize Philippine colonialism in the occupied territory.

He has also bewailed the colonial strategy of the Manila government to divide and to deceive both the Bangsamoro leadership and people in order not to implement correctly the international peace agreements that have guaranteed to establish ‘just and lasting’ peace in war-wracked Mindanao.

He has always expressed the positive view that the September 2, 1996 GRP-OIC-MNLF Jakarta Peace Agreements could definitely end the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao once correctly and sincerely implemented by Philippine colonialism instead of using dilatory and deceptive political tactics in undermining the agreement.

The MNLF chairman has just recently presided over a general meeting of MNLF political, military and religious leaders in the MNLF GHQ in the Bangsamoro heartland. The meeting was attended by the different MNLF State Committee (or Command) chieftains, military officers and religious headmen from all over Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, including North Borneo.

How does the MNLF Chairman diagnose the problem besetting Philippine colonialism vis-à-vis the farcical Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that proposes another version of autonomy to be simply called “Bangsamoro?”

It is recalled that all unilateral fabrication of the Philippine government geared to attain Mindanao peace, such as the Marcos version 2-region autonomy (region 9 and 12), 4-province ARMM created by the Corazon C. Aquino regime and the 5-province ARMM crafted by the Arroyo government, proved only a miserable failure to net Mindanao peace.

Presently, President Benigno S. Aquino III, the son of the first lady Chief Executive, has boldly with sinister design embarked on duplicating the “failed experiment” or political legacy of her mother and other predecessors by stubbornly posturing for the passage into law of the controversial BBL.

However, with the controversy now surrounding the BBL political project, bordering on the Mamapasano invasion fiasco, non-consultation of major stakeholders by OPAPP, unconstitutionality question, etc., the sure betrayal of Mindanao peace is again a probability.

On this colonial development surrounding the political strategy of Philippine colonialism, MNLF Chairman Misuari has pointed out that both the ARMM and the new version prospect autonomy based on BBL is nothing but a mirage to delay only the complete settlement of the Mindanao war.

The unilateral political exercise of the Manila government to bring meaningful and durable peace to Mindanao may border only in wishful thinking and deceptive formula. Surely, it would be impossible to bring peace to war-torn Mindanao because it would emanate from another peace agreement that can be easily betrayed by Philippine colonialism.

The MNLF chairman has cited the simple fact that the Philippine government has had forged three peace agreements with the MNLF since 1976 up to 1996.

But none of the substantial peace accords has been correctly and completely implemented except unilaterally establishing the 2-region 9 and 12 fake autonomy in 1977 and later manufacturing the 4 and 5-province ARMM that dismally ended only as the “cheating capital of Philippine elections.”

He has again reiterated that “without justice, there can never be an end to the war in Mindanao.”

WHY CAN’T PHILIPPINE COLONIALISM BRING PEACE TO MINDANAO?

In revisiting the historical era of the Spanish land-grabbers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, it all started when the dark historical past was punctuated by buccaneerism and so-called exploration conquest.

The foreign invaders patronized injustice and used the vehicle of colonization in land-grabbing native lands and enslaving the native inhabitants.

The Spanish invaders for one started in using the “law of the jungle” that “might is right” with all impunity in colonizing the natives and robbing them of their agricultural, mineral and aquatic resources in the name of their despotic king, country and religion.

The Spanish buccaneers or ‘conquistadores’ forced their way to the Orient, particularly Southeast Asia, starting early 1500s to land-grab the islands situated in Visayas and Luzon in the name of ‘exploration’ and ‘proselytization.’

They also in turned converted the natives into Christianized colonial slaves as the Spanish king considered the commoner Spaniards his loyal servants and soldiers of genocide war of conquest.

Although the 1521 Ferdinand Magellan exploratory invasion ended in a debacle because he was killed in mortal combat by Rajah Kulafu (‘Lapu-Lapu’), a Tausug/Sama Bangingi warrior from the Sultanate of Sulu, the Spanish invaders under Miguel de Legazpi pursued in occupying Visayas islands around 1540s.


PHILIPPINE HISTORY: The Spaniards closed the ports of Manila to all countries except Mexico. Thus, the Manila–Acapulco Trade, better known as the "Galleon Trade" was born. The Galleon Trade was a government monopoly. Only two galleons were used: One sailed from Acapulco to Manila with some 500,000 pesos worth of goods, spending 120 days at sea; the other sailed from Manila to Acapulco with some 250,000 pesos worth of goods spending 90 days at sea. 15. Tondo Conspiracy of 1587–1588 was a plot against Spanish colonial rule by the Tagalog and Kapampangan noblemen, or datus, of Manila and some towns of Bulacan and Pampanga, in the Philippines. It was led by Agustín de Legazpi, grandson of conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu led 3,000 warriors in a battle against Portuguese explorer and conquistador Ferdinand Magellan who led a force of forty- nine Spanish soldiers and 6000 native warriors from Cebu. During the battle Magellan and several of his men were killed.

The Spanish buccaneers named the island habitat ‘Islas del Filipe’ (‘Philip islands’) in honor of the immoral and “king of inequities” Philip II of Spain. The islands of Luzon were later included under the new Spanish land-grabbed nation, which in the beginning was inhabited by flourishing civilizational settlements under the Muslim and non-Muslim natives.

The Spaniards called the native settlers distinctively “Moros” after the Muslims of Mauretania whose inhabitants were called “Maurus”, “Moors” or “Mauris.” Mauretania with Arab support conquered and ruled Spain for 782 years.

On one hand, the Spanish invaders branded “Indios” the non-Muslim settlers in Manila. While the Spanish colonizers easily subdued the settler native Indios, the Moros in Manila under Rajah Sulayman Mahmud and Rajah Matanda as well as Rajah Lakandula of Tondo (‘Tondal’) fought fiercely the Spanish invaders in the so-called Battle of Tondal.

But at the end of the day the native Muslims were defeated by the heavily-armed Spanish soldiers.

The remaining Moro settlers in Luzon hurriedly withdrew from the area to seek refuge in Brunei and Mindanao.


Spanish rule of the Philippines was constantly threatened by indigenous rebellions and invasions from the Dutch, Chinese, and British. The previously dominant groups resisted Spanish rule, refusing to pay Spanish taxes and rejecting Spanish excesses. All were defeated by the Spanish and their Filipino allies. In many areas, the Spanish left indigenous groups to administer their own affairs but under Spanish overlordship. Prepared by: Josephine C. Liban- Instructor III, ISU ANGADANAN

In 1977 Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil cited the historical antecedents of Luzon pre-Hispanic period in her own candid words. She clearly narrated:

“It is hard to believe that Manila was once firmly under Muslim heel, Muslims controlled the seat of government, the wealth and trade and down the Pasig and Boi Lake Batangas as well as the sea lanes to Mindanao and Borneo. The Muslims were the ruling class in Luzon; the rich traders, cultural leaders and missionaries, the ones with the know-how and the right connections, the literacy and what’s more, the right religion.”


Photo posted  21-Aug-2013 -
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil (b. July 19, 1922) is a Filipino journalist, author, historian and public servant. She was born in Ermita, Manila, into the Guerrero clan of that town, who were painters and poets, as well as scientists and doctors. Her paternal grandfather was Leon Maria Guerrero, who was likewise born in Ermita, Manila. He was the younger brother of Lorenzo Guerrero, the painter and mentor to Juan Luna. WIKIPEDIA

After three centuries later, the American and Japanese invaders pursued the colonization conquest of Filipinas (later Philippines) composed only of the islands of Luzon and Visayas as well as ‘Moro Nation’ (Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan).

While both the American and Japanese marauders handily defeated the Filipinos of Luzon and Visayas, they met stiff resistance from the Moros of Mindanao.


Bolo-wielding guerillas guard Japanese prisoners. It was fitting that Filipino guerillas armed mostly with "bolos" (or "sundang" in Bisaya) exterminated the last remnants of the Japanese enemy during the no-quarter fighting in North Luzon. In the end, the murderous Japanese were reduced to cowardly animals fleeing from a vengeful people they had brutalized for three years. The eventual annihilation of the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army from 1944 to 1945 would not have prospered as quickly as it did without Filipino guerilla "bolomen" leading the way and fighting alongside their American allies.

The Bangsamoro people considered them similarly just another ugly face of colonialist land-grabbers ruthlessly on rampage to trample their fundamental human rights and freedom.

The Muslim freedom fighters of Moroland continuously staged open revolt against the American colonizers during their more than 40 years of colonial conquest in the region. The strong protest against American colonial rule was demonstrated both in violent and peaceful means.

The American dark crusade in the Bangsamoro homeland was notoriously marked by the merciless and brutal massacres of Muslim fighters and civilians characterized by the mountainous Bud Bagsak and Bud Daho battling events in Jolo Island.

Indeed the 1906 Bud Daho battle was literally a “massacre” and only proved the wickedness and brutality of America to pursue colonial land-grabbing.

The heinous incident massacre only showed the propensity of the American soldiers to brutalize aboriginal natives in depriving them of liberties and ancestral homeland as perpetrated against the native aborigines in North America.

The Bud Daho massacre explicitly mirrored the brutal U.S. government colonial conquest campaigns against the Bangsamoro aborigines of Lupah Sug (Sulu).


The Battle of Mt. Dajo was a counter insurgency action fought by the United States Army against native Moros in March 1906 during the Moro Rebellion phase of the Philippine-American War. While fighting was limited to ground action on Jolo Island in the Sulu Archipelago, use of naval gunfire contributed significantly to the overwhelming firepower brought to bear against the Muslim insurgents, who were mostly armed with melee weapons.

The clearest violation of human rights and deprivation of the basic freedom of the island natives was even protested by a conscious American writer in 1910, coming out with a personal journal thesis that read:

“Reflection on the ‘Battle of Bud Daho,’ Jolo, Sulu, March 1906.”

“A Pen Warmed-up in Hell, Mark Twain in Protest 97 (1910).”

“A tribe of Moros, dark skinned savages, had fortified themselves in the bowl of an extinct crater not many miles from Jolo, and they were hostile and bitter against us because we have been trying for eight years to take their liberties away from them…General Wood’s order had been to ‘kill or capture those savages’…The enemy numbered six hundred – including women and children and children – and we abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for his dead mother. –Mark Twain, Grief and Mourning for the Night.”

During the short-period Japanese colonization campaigns in early 1940s, the Moro freedom fighters of Mindanao only proved the Bangsamoro people’s tag as the “unconquered race.”

They registered in the Japanese journal to have killed thousands more Japanese imperialist soldiers compared to all the combined Japanese soldiers killed in Luzon and Visayas by the Filipinos.

To the very end of their freedom struggle against the new rampaging Asian colonizers, the Muslim freedom fighters never wavered and surrendered to the tyrannical Japanese forces unlike the Filipinos of Luzon, marking the “Fall of Bataan” and the “Fall of Corregidor Island.”

After World War II, the treacherous colonization of the Bangsamoro homeland and the ancestral Cordillera Region of the Igorots were perpetrated by the U.S.
government in conspiracy with the Philippine Commonwealth regime.

The Mindanao territory of the Bangsamoro people and ‘Mountain Province’ of the Igorots were illegally and immorally incorporated into the U.S. government-created “Philippine Republic” on July 4, 1946.

The 1946 American-Filipino conspiracy of depriving both the Bangsamoro and Igorot peoples of their fundamental human rights, independence and sovereignty to stagnate, to suffer and to face “suicide” under the “rotten to the core” (according to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte) Philippine colonial leadership has just led to the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao today.

Furthermore, it also resulted to the continued restlessness of the Igorots in Filipino-occupied Cordillera Region.


Group of prominent men, Bontoc pueblo. Photo by Jenks.
The Bontoc Igorot Albert Ernest Jenks Manila 1905 page 3 From www.bohol.ph/books

In emphasizing, the tragedy of both the Moros and Igorots under Philippine colonialism, the crystal-clear analysis of Joseph E. Fallon in 1987 is worth a review. He vividly illustrated:

“At the start of the U.S. occupation of Moroland in 1913, the Muslims represented approximately 98% of the territory’s population. Virtually all of the land at that time was owned or occupied by the Moros. As a result of half a century intensive, systematic Filipino colonization, the Moros are now a dispossessed minority in their land. They constitute only 40% of the current population (Filipino sources claim they are just 27%), own less than 17% of the land, most of it barren land in remote, mountain areas, and have had 80% of their people reduced to the status of landless tenants…after so many decades of abuses and betrayal, for the Moros and Igorots to trust Manila and to remain with the Philippines would not only be naïve, it would be suicidal.”

Indeed, the clear objective analysis has only confirmed today the miserable backwardness, stagnancy and uncertainty of the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao and Cordilerra Region under the Philippine colonial government.

The colonized victims can never hope to fully progress and develop under Philippine colonialism that only takes pride in continuous injustice and genocide war.

In the final analysis, to help end the historical injustice inflicted by the once Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers on the oppressed Bangsamoro people of Mindanao, why can’t the past colonizers see the light of true justice today?

Why can’t they help right the clearest injustice committed against the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao and Cordillera now still suffering untold misery, agony, uncertainty and inhumanity under the Luzon-based Filipino colonialist land-grabbers?

Why can’t the justice-conscious Spanish, American, Japanese and Philippine government today morally end the monumental injustice committed against the colonized Bangsamoro and Igorot peoples of Asia?

Does this mean that Spain, America, Japan and Philippines have no morality and humanity at all to be a true and justice-conscious nation?
–osm, mnlfnet.com


CENTER FOR MEDIA FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY

MEDIA ON MINDANAO: Revisiting Mamasapano and the BBL POSTED BY CMFR || 5 AUGUST 2015 By Melinda Quintos de Jesus and Luis Adrian Hidalgo Photos by Luis Adrian Hidalgo


KEYNOTE ADDRESS Archbishop of Cotabato Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo reminds journalists and media practitioners of the importance of the media’s tasks of helping inform and educate. (Right: MindaNews editor in chief Carolyn O. Arguillas)

IN COTABATO: MEDIA FROM MANILA AND MINDANAO

AT LEAST 50 journalists and media practitioners based in Manila and Mindanao attended the forum “Beyond Mamasapano: Reporting on the Bangsamoro Peace Process” in Cotabato City last July 24-25.

The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was still in limbo. Although House Bill 5811 had been finalized, the Senate was still sitting on its revisions. As the coverage in Manila shifted to other national issues, the public may have wondered, if not forgotten, about the challenge posed by this policy question.

The forum served as a timely reminder for media, presenting them with the perspective of the communities in Mindanao, especially those most affected by the failure of the peace process.

The meeting was also intended to help journalists and media practitioners understand Mindanao—appreciate its cultural diversity and be informed about the efforts to sustain solidarity and unity among the Mindanaoans.

In the two days, there were panel discussions, site visits and cultural exposure. Speakers at the forum highlighted the role of the media in peace-building and emphasized its critical role in creating informed public opinion.

Mindanao Media Forum, which organized the event, was established in 2002 as a result of the first Mindanao Media Summit, with MindaNews as its secretariat.

The program was done in partnership with the Institute of Autonomy and Governance, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Oxfam, the Embassy of Canada, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Friends of Peace, MindaNews, Balay Mindanaw, Mindanao Cross, Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, I-Watch, and the Philippine Information Agency.

Resource persons from civil society, members of the Bangsamoro Study Group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), staff and officials of the ARMM and the OPPAP, as well as the International Monitoring Team updated the press and shared observations about the press coverage of the Mamasapano incident and its impact on the peace process.

READ MORE...


COURTESY OF Rappler.com Published 3:31 PM, Jul 14, 2015 Updated 7:01 PM, Jul 14, 2015

The first panel discussion on the first day presented views from civil society, including the concerns and grievances of indigenous peoples, the dilemmas journalists face when reporting on Mindanao, and the lessons to be learned from the Mamasapano incident.

Panelists discussed the mistakes and bad practices of journalists and media practitioners when reporting on Mindanao. Professor Cagoco-Guiam pointed out, among others, stereotyping, labeling, improper use of terms, misrepresentation, and lack of context.

Guiamel Alim, executive director of Kadtuntaya Foundation, lamented the media’s failure to give voice to, and report on those who needed the most attention—the grieving widows of the MILF, the thousands of internally displaced persons or bakwit who languished in evacuation centers, and the Bangsamoro people’s call for justice. Timuay leader, Santos Unsad, complained that the media seem to give little or even no attention to indigenous peoples’ issues. He also claimed that some media practitioners do not even talk to indigenous groups before publishing stories about them.

The second panel focused on problems faced by the peace process as well other difficulties experienced by the people of Mindanao.

Anna Basman, chief legal counsel of the Government Peace Panel, discussed the effect of the delay in the Congress on the general opinion on the BBL as well as the impact of the delayed implementation of the Normalization Annex which had already been agreed upon on the peace process over all.

Meanwhile, Laisa Alamia, executive secretary of ARMM, discussed the current condition in the existing autonomous region, emphasizing the poverty in different areas, making these communities more vulnerable to natural hazards, and armed conflict. She also pointed out the structural infirmities of the ARMM, particularly when it comes to the incomplete devolution of agencies and departments in the ARMM—from national to regional, and from regional to the local government units.

Alamia also noted the gaps in the implementation of projects and absence of facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, and police stations in areas that needed it most. Problems and delays in the disbursements of budget was also an issue.

The Bangsamoro Study Group, composed of lawyers Naguib Sinarimbo, Ishak Mastura and Raisa Jajurie assessed the revisions in the economic and political provisions in the House-approved BBL (HB 5811), stressing the need to keep as closely to the original language.

Noting the hard line taken by the group, those familiar with the recommendations made by the Peace Council, another group of civil society leaders who reviewed the BBL draft, saw how some revisions would be required to enforce the constitutionality of the law.

CMFR noted that the revisions made by the House were more expanded than those recommended by the Peace Council.


DISCUSSING MINDANAO (TOP) Naguib Sinarimbo, Ishak Mastura, Raissa Jajurie, members of the Bangsamoro Study Group (BOTTOM) Laisa Alamia, executive secretary of the ARMM; Anna Basman, chief legal counsel of the GPH Peace Panel

Site Visit: Recalling the Tragedy with a Blessing in the Cornfield

On the final day of the program, exactly six months after the incident, the participants visited the fields planted with corn in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, situated in marshland some 66 kilometers from Cotobato City.

The visiting journalists saw a different site on the day of their visit from the landscape of the tragedy. A concrete road that crosses through a cluster of houses from the river was nearing completion. A steel and concrete bridge, while still under construction, would clearly ease access and exit for the people of the area. The villagers asked that the bridge not be big enough to allow crossing of tanks and APCs. About a kilometer from the old makeshift footbridge, a dirt road was piled on a shallow area to provide yet another option for pedestrians and tricycles.

Meeting the MILF Chief

Following the site visit, the group engaged in a dialogue with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairperson Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Camp Darapan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.


PHOTO OF MURAD EBRAHIM FROM GOOGLED SABAH-CLAIM BLOGS: Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman. Murad Ebrahim is escorted by his troops to their base camp in Darapan, Sultan Kudarat province, Philippines.

The chairman looked relaxed, smiling as he welcomed the media group.

He talked about the plans beyond BBL, sharing a broad forward vision for the MILF and the peace process. Yes, he pointed out, it would make things easier if the BBL proves acceptable to both sides of the table.

He answered questions regarding the status of the agreements, the start of the decommissioning process for MILF fighters, and the importance of the passage of an acceptable law for the autonomy of the Bangsamoro region.

That development would help to temper the tendencies of some to link with global radicalism. He told the group that the MILF had already filed the registration of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) with the Commission on Elections, a step that clearly paves the way for their engagement in the political field.

Asked how the MILF would move forward should Congress fail to pass the BBL, Murad emphasized that the MILF will continue to demand the implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and its annexes, because this is a signed agreement between Government and the MILF.

The BBL would be the best option for peace but its failure is not the end of the peace process, he emphasized.


MURAD EBRAHIM AND P-NOY AT THE PALACE

Murad said “it is now the responsibility of the Aquino government to deliver.” But on the part of the MILF, he said, they are “trying to do [their] best to help,” because they believe that they are “partners of the government in trying to achieve peace.”

A quick cultural tour of Bangsamoro


The activity was reopened June 10 this year, running for 100 days, capped with the announcement of the winning village in the closing program.

Added to the presentations, the meeting with the MILF Chairperson Ebrahim, and the site visit in Mamasapano, participants also visited the ongoing “Bangsamoro Villages: 100 Days of Culture and History,” a representation of the seven major tribes of the ARMM.

The cultural villages showcase the traditional life, culture and arts of the Iranun, Maguindanaon, Maranao, Sama, Tausug, Teduray and Yakan tribes of Mindanao.

The mock cultural villages, located at the regional government’s compound in Cotabato City, feature a typical home, complete with bedrooms.

It was first opened to the public November last year as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ARMM.

 The activity was reopened June 10 this year, running for 100 days, capped with the announcement of the winning village in the closing program.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE