You are on page 1of 6

The ultimate goal for the Moro people is regaining sovereignty in their ancestral domain.

They have been requesting autonomy from the GRP since 1946, when US granted independence. Moros say that they first demanded total independence from the Philippines, but since the GRP never recognized this claim, they reduced their demands to sovereignty, or the creation of a sub-state. The words sovereignty and sub-state also became problematic since these arrangements could lead to demands for full independence. As a result, the Moro people trimmed down the words again and settled on the word self-determination. Currently, the Moro people ask for self-determination in three areas, namely political, economic, and social. Politically, the Moro people, who comprise 5 percent of the total Phil population, constitute only 3.8 percent in the House of Representatives of the Philippines and are totally absent in the Philippines Senate. As a result, the Moro people have been seriously marginalized in the political realm, and demand greater representation. They also want a democratic electoral system to choose their leaders in the local government. The head of ARMM has been chosen by the Central Government. The inability to control security in Mindanao also demonstrates the limited power of the ARMM. In short, the Moro people ask for greater political autonomy to rule their ancestral domain. Economically, the ARMM is a subordinate local government to the Central Government even though the ARMM is an autonomous area. It is not allowed to allocate financial budgets within its region. In addition, the effort to induce foreign investment in Mindanao has been futile. Thus, the Moro people demand authority to set their own economic policy. Socially, the rate of mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy, poverty in Mindanao show that the Bangsamoro people are seriously disadvantaged relative to the rest of the country. Regarding the current state of development, the Moro people are demanding self-determination regarding their development projects. On resources, the Bangsamoro peoples demands for a greater percentage of wealth-sharing between the Central Government and the ARMM. Rich in natural resources, Mindanao has the potential to become an affluent province. Yet, it remains the poorest region in the Philippines. According to the MOA-AD, the BJE would have jurisdiction over all natural resources found in internal waters and ancestral lands. Specifically, the BJE would have the control of exploration, production, and use of onshore and offshore oil and gas. The MOA-AD also presented a mutually-agreed percentage ratio of wealth-sharing between the Central Government and the BJE obtained from any resources within the territory. Surprisingly, the newly proposed ratio was 75 percent to 25 percent, in favor of the BJE. The MILF has demanded its share of the ongoing oil exploration in the Sulu region by Exxon Mobil, an international energy corporation.

The Moro people have been asking to redraw the boundary of their ancestral domain since the ARMM zone was not extensive enough to cover the Bangsamoro territory. The MOA-AD allowed the BJE to occupy a more comprehensive territory than the initial ARMM area. The agreement stated that the core of the BJE shall constitute the present geographic area of the ARMM including six municipalities. In addition, the government stipulates to conduct a plebiscite to choose whether to be included in the BJE. Moro people were asking the Central Government to give them the free choice of joining the BJE. The Supreme Courts decision was based on three major features. First, the MOA-AD was a violation of the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). Although the MOA-AD (2008) mentions that indigenous tribal communities can choose whether to be included in BJE or not, the Court said it was not complying with the IPRA and transcended the boundaries of their authority. Subsequently, the Court cast doubt on the term associative relationship between the Central Government and the BJE. The judges argued that the terminology associated state has usually been used as a transitional device of former colonies on their way to full independence in international practice. They concluded that the concept of association is not recognized under the present Constitution. Lastly, the Supreme Court brought up the proposed change to the Constitution in terms of the idea of a sub-state, addressed in the MOA-AD. The Court criticized President Arroyo for having overstepped her authority. The Supreme Court Justice said that the MOA-AD in fact guarantees the amendments of laws and usurps legislative power. Regarding the amendment of the Constitution, the GRP stands firm on its position. The ideal outcome for the GRP is for the MILF to accept a certain degree of autonomy that is allowed under the present Constitution. Hence, the bottom line appears to be that autonomy of Mindanao is permissible within a formally unitary state, but independence is not. For the GRP, changing the Constitution can be problematic at this point if it appears to undermine the notion of the unitary state. According to the MOA-AD, the GRP would increase the rights of the Moro people to explore, exploit, utilize, and develop all natural resources found in the Bangsamoro ancestral domain, under the name of reinforceing their economic self-sufficiency. The Central Government might have thought about giving up a large portion of the resources and gaining something else from the MILF. The bottom line of the GRP in resources is relatively flexible, leaving much room for negotiation. The least preferable outcome for the Central Government would be the division of the Philippines territory. The essential issue in the governments position is to keep the territorial integrity of the Philippines. A woman named Nor shared a story about what he felt before she went to the evacuation centers, that they never retrieved what they had left the night they flee. They lost everything, their thresher, carabaos, chickens, goats, ducks and other belongings. And until now that shes older, they have not fully recovered.

Like what happened in Pikit year 2000, where Military troops from the government only allowed civilians to purchase 3 kilos of rice per family. Not knowing that there are instances that a family has more than 5 mouths to feed. And even with the help of NGOs and peace advocates, it was still sometimes not enough. ` It also changed their outlook that when you asked them what they would like when they grew up, Muslim children said that they would join the MILF while the Christian children said theyll join the military and for what, to fight one another. 27th round of Formal Exploratory talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front The talks began with high hopes as both parties identified preliminary decision points on principles that will serve as a framework for the eventual signing of a peace agreement. Decision Points The Parties agree to the following principles, which shall further guide discussions on the substantive agenda of the negotiations. This preliminary list does not contain all points so far agreed upon and does not preclude future agreements on other key points. After 3rd Bullet: In the matter of power sharing, the National Government will have its reserved powers, the new political entity will have its exclusive powers, and there will be concurrent powers shared by the National Government and the new political entity. After 3rd Bullet: The Parties agree to the creation of (third party) monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, which may utilize competencies already available in existing mechanisms, e.g. ICG, IMT, CCCH. In addition to basic rights already enjoyed, the following rights of all citizens residing in the new political entity bind the legislature, executive and judiciary as directly enforceable law and are guaranteed: A month after signing the landmark Decision Points on Principles document which both parties view as a guide to the continuing discussions on the substantive aspects of the negotiations, both parties went back to the Malaysian capital to explore each other's positions on wealth-sharing, power-sharing, governance, transition roadmap and normalization. These discussions shall serve as inputs to the peace pact which both parties hope to sign soon. 29th round of Formal Exploratory Talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) successfully concluded the 29th formal exploratory talks, with both sides confident in their discussions on mechanisms towards realizing the new autonomous political entity (NPE) set to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The NPE is one of the 10 common standpoints indicated in the Decision Points on Principles signed by the panels in April. Leonen stated that both parties have accomplished something which the GPH and the MILF have never achieved before in these talks. These agreements may be in principle, some in detail. However, he was quick to add that the government remains guardedly optimistic. For the GPH, there are still many issues to be resolved, including the mechanisms that will ensure the delivery of all these commitments made through broad acceptance by all our critical sectors. 30th round of Formal Exploratory Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia In this round of Talks, the Parties organized their respective Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on Power-Sharing and Wealth-Sharing. On the government side, panel member Miriam Coronel-Ferrer will head the working group on power-sharing. Joining her are Upi, Maguindanao Mayor and alternate panel member Ramon Piang, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Attorney General Jose Lorena and Office of Political Affairs Undersecretary and 1986 Constitutional Commission member Chito Gascon. Panel member Senen Bacani will head the TWG on wealth-sharing with panel member Yasmin BusranLao as adviser. Joining them are Department of Environment and National Resources Assistant Secretary Anselmo Abungan and National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Ma. Lourdes Lim. On the MILF side, Dr. Habib Macaayong leads the working group on power-sharing with Ustadz Anwar Sirad and Prof. Ali Ayuib as members. Their working group on wealth-sharing is led by Dr. Benjamin Domato with Dr. Mahid Macalingkang and Archie Buayah as members. Among the most difficult issues being dealt with on the table are power-sharing and wealth-sharing which are laid out in the Decision Points on Principles signed by both parties in April this year. Powersharing has three items: reserved powers for the National Government, exclusive powers for the new political entity (NPE) which will replace the ARMM, and concurrent powers shared by the National Government and the NPE. Reserved powers of the National Government include defense and external security, foreign policy, coinage and monetary policy, among others. Meanwhile, wealth creation (or revenue generation and sourcing) is important to ensure fiscal autonomy of the NPE with capacity to have its own sources of revenues. Both TWGs discussed and reached consensus on some issues on power sharing and revenue generation and wealth sharing arrangements. The Parties also noted the progress in the discussion on a framework agreement.

31st round of Formal Exploratory Talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Government peace negotiators enter what they hoped to be the final, crucial stages of negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the two panels resume discussion on unresolved issues in the 31st round of Formal Exploratory Talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In a statement, Deles said the Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel remains cautiously optimistic on the prospects of signing a GPH-MILF peace agreement this year. This optimism comes from the strong desire from both sides of the table to sign a peace agreement in the earliest possible time, Deles added. Deles said the determination of both GPH and the MILF panels to forge an agreement was shown by the serious preparations undertaken on each side for every round of peace negotiations, including coming up with solutions to address the difficult issues still being discussed on the table. During the previous round of talks, Deles noted, both panels cited in their joint statement that their respective Technical Working Groups (TWGs) have reached consensus on the issues on power sharing and revenue generation and wealth sharing arrangements between the Philippine government and the proposed new autonomous political entity (NPE) that is envisioned to replace the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). But there is also no denying that the issues still on the table will not be easy to settle as in critical details of power and wealth sharing, territorial scope, and normalization to include disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the MILFs troops, pointed out Deles. She added that another indication that could signify the desire of both parties to be able to craft an agreement was the clear cooperation of the MILF leadership in dealing with the attacks of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and its armed wing the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the towns of Maguindanao and North Cotabato since last month. In a previous joint statement, the GPH and the MILF panels said that theywill work together to ensure that these spoilers will not succeed as the Parties continue to push forward to bring just and lasting peace to our peoples and communities. Deles said the Aquino government was firm with its position to pursue law enforcement operations against BIFM, led by Ameril Umra Kato. Kato, Deles said, is not considered part of the MILF and thus not covered by any ceasefire agreement. The MILF disassociated itself from Katos renegade group last year and declared him as a bougat or one who defies or does not obey an order and engages in lawless actions. At a time of the observance of the 9th National Peace Consciousness Month, Deles expressed hope that utmost goodwill will prevail on the table and that the interests and the welfare of the communities most affected by the conflict will guide the two sides to seek and affirm common grounds when the going gets rough.

During Sundays Peace Month kickoff with 1Goal for Peace, Deles said that the time for peace is now. She called on the Filipino nation to rally behind the gains of the peace process saying that the peace process being pursued by government would achieve more milestones if more Filipinos will support it. the clear cooperation of the MILF leadership in dealing with the attacks of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and its armed wing the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the towns of Maguindanao and North Cotabato since last month.