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Animosity challenged by 'peace'

Injustice breeds injustice. This adage is proved true by the Mindanaoans who have acquired a notoriety for
their involvement in endless attacks both from the civilian and the government side. Decades have passed and
still there are exchanges of bullets in the deep provinces of Mindanao. We saw that the root causes of
Mindanao conflict is due to the unjust colonialism and subjugation done to them by the Spaniards and the
Filipinos. Imagine a people being forced to give up their faith, property, rights, and their dignity. They fought,
even today they fight, for total independence, for their homeland to be returned to them, because they have
been unjustly robbed of their rights. They consider themselves independent from the Filipinos, possessing
their own identity, calling themselves Bangsamoro.
It's high time that we resolve this issue. Large amounts of funds that should be used for national development
are used instead for warfare expenses. We, the youth, have been affected. We feared for ourselves, and for our
future. We want the conflict to end.
One question that we anticipate the answer to is this: Will we finally have peace in Mindanao once the MOA
is approved? A simple 'Yes' seems to be the obvious answer for the hopefuls, and a flat 'No' for the cynics.
Both sides seem correct. Any conflict that may resume after the signing of the agreement could only be
temporary, and will only be "the calm before the storm". On the other hand, it is possible that the Bangsamoro
will be dissatisfied with an 'edited' Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) if the Supreme Court rejects it, which
will continue the conflict.
We believe the issue is not really about not consulting the provincial leaders, nor the shortcomings or defying
the Constitution; the issue is whether the MOA is a deal which will appease the stakeholders, recognizing that
the Constitution and the rights of the ones involved are not violated. Its impact does not go within the bounds
of the local government alone, but the national and international as well, once an interaction between the
Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) and the foreign countries embark.
As PGMA continues to work the peace agreement, we, in turn, cross our fingers hoping that this will result in
the progress and development of our neighbors' future. This peace agreement will give way for investors to
work in the expanded ARMM. In effect, this will offer jobs for the people in the region.

Another question: How will this impact the youth who will be affected by the signing of the MOA? The BJE
will be more established because they have more power over their territories. Their leadership will be soberer
and more sensible; and in contrast to what some people think, the BJE will need to work with the Christian
community in building the economy, therefore, an understanding will ensue, not another conflict. The youth
will have more opportunities as the region progresses. In Muslim states like Dubai, Malaysia and Kuwait,
Christians live prosperously; and the Christians and Muslims in the BJE can learn to live together in one
community with just as much success. Despite that knowledge, we have a fear of the unknown because we are
still in the dark, not fully informed about the laws that will be passed and the life that Christians will live
under the BJE.
To remove all our uncertainties about the proposed BJE, we ask the media, the government side, and the
Muslim leadership to provide more information about the law concerning the BJE. What would life be like for
Christians living within the BJE? We suggest setting up a Cotabato Youth Forum blog or website where we
can put in our wishlist of what kind of governance we want inside BJE. Perhaps the UNESCO could fund for
an information dissemination campaign. We are hoping this open communication will dispel all fears.

Irene Victoria F. Gabiana

AB Mass Com 2nd year Student of NDU
Cotabato City