LOS ANGELES (MindaNews/10 October) — I was in Vancouver, British Columbia on my way to Los Angeles when I got word that a Peace Framework Agreement was signed between the government and the MILF. Great news! This is a great relief! We congratulate the MILF and the government for making this happen.
Let’s make this clear at the outset. This is NOT the Final Peace Agreement yet. This is just a “framework” that will guide the Panels hereon in the further negotiations. It’s a roadmap that both sides will use as reference as they travel the not-so-easy road towards its final destination: a comprehensive peace pact.
Of course, there are so many blanks to fill yet. And many dots to connect. There are phrases, words, provisions — even commas –that have meanings that outsiders like us cannot immediately decipher. Motherhood statements spread liberally and generously in the agreement can be interpreted in many different ways. Others are not immediately understandable to those who are not privy to the nitty-gritty of the closed door meetings.
I am sure that after the initial euphoria over the announcement of this breakthrough, many sectors will start scrutinizing the agreement word for word, comma for comma. Others will start giving their own interpretations and their own read. There will be others who will zero in on the negatives. Several will view it through the prism of their own self-interest and ignore the “big picture”.
Yes, it’s not a walk in the park hereon. The public scrutiny will start. Expectedly, the two sides with their panels will play to their own gallery. The GPH will give meanings and explanations that will make sure that the sacrosanct constitution and the laws are not breached. On the other hand, the MILF will assuage its Bangsamoro constituency that they have not betrayed, nor abandoned or squandered on their generations-old aspiration for self determination. This is the hard part, I tell you. One side has to give and both sides have to accommodate. Can’t think how this can be easily reconciled with both sides holding sacred their own position in this issue. This was the crux before. This was the “breakaway” issue before.
This is where we should all gingerly and carefully tread to avoid another pitfall of the past. Be prepared to hear some sectors accusing the negotiators of both sides of a “sell out” or a betrayal.
I say it again. The difficult part has just started. The road will still be bumpy.
So let me caution those who think it’s a done deal already. Let me remind the talking heads not to gush over it. The best tack now is to view it with guarded optimism. Let’s also lower the euphoria and manage everyone’s expectations. But “let’s all stay the course” whatever it takes.
The “devil is in the detail”. And take it from me. I was there myself before.