WORM’S EYEVIEW: What Does MILF Mean by a Ministerial Form of Government?

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/12 June) — The MILF specifies a ‘ministerial form of government” as their preferred system for the Bangsamoro jurisdiction.

It is unclear what they mean or how they define the concept except to characterize it as “asymmetrical”—presumably in relation to the familiar presidential system. It would be helpful if they can define what they mean.

The term “asymmetrical” is synonymous to irregular, lop-sided, uneven, or unbalanced. Why would anyone want a lop-sided, uneven, or unbalanced set up?

If they merely wish to underscore its unevenness or disproportionate structure to what’s at hand, they should still elaborate on it for the sake of clarity and for the benefit of the uninvolved parts of Mindanao and the country as a whole.

Based on how it is practiced in some countries, Malaysia for instance, this so-called ministerial form is basically parliamentary in structure and process, with a prime minister as overall head of government, aided by a cabinet consisting of departments headed by ministers who assist as his alter egos, much like our department secretaries.

Theoretically the regional government would operate collegially. Its acts and decisions would be based largely on consensus. The government would be anchored on a party system. And, again theoretically, it would not be susceptible or congenial towards autocratic leadership.

Thus, there would be bona fide political parties, duly organized, composed of dues-paying members who are subject to party-discipline, and its leaders and candidates would be chosen by honest-to-goodness party conventions or elections.

Moreover, and more importantly, each party would be organized around well-defined principles, platforms, party structure, and processes that adhere to—and are responsive to—democratic processes.

That said, what immediately comes to mind is whether the concept of a political party and the processes of democracy will be operative in a regional community notorious for being dominated by feudal practices in all its forms.

We are told that some groups, including the MILF and their erstwhile partner, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), plan to (or are set to) embark on political party building, anticipating the creation of the new regional polity.

If so, why is there no reporting on such an important undertaking, one that is not only historic for the region but that may be especially edifying for our entire political system?

Then also, what if an opposition party is organized? Will it be allowed and not persecuted? Will there also be coalitions or alliances? These questions haunt many Mindanaons.

Even as reservations about the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro persist, there is also an underlying hope of success, of great success!

For instance, even if it would be supremely ironic if the MILF or the Bangsamoro could show the rest of our society how to fix our thoroughly dysfunctional party system, it would be heartily welcomed.

Our entrenched oligarchs, dynastic politicos, and their ruling syndicates urgently need a lesson in democracy, political inclusiveness, and statesmanship in order to turn our pork-addicted system around.

But tradition dies hard, and so with the feudal mindset and warlordism.

If the MILF leaders prove to be tradition bound, and their party falls short of the democratic order of business, the new region risks foundering on the shoals of personality-driven politics, the datu system, and rido as an instrument of dispute resolution.

For the Bangsamoro to triumph and progress as the Comprehensive Agreement claims to aspire for their people, they would have to contend with two formidable forces: centuries-old habits and practices and trigger-happy warrior-leaders.

Unless these atavistic forces are reined in and tamed, the Bangsamoro sub-region of Mindanao could regress and be thrown back to the days of the sultans and datus and warlords and slave-holding adventurers. It would be a terrible step backwards.

Even now the recalcitrant, defiant, and deadly behavior of the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)—on the very eve of the formation of the regional government!—is too real and menacing as to be taken lightly by either side of the agreement.

Thus, it would be so good if Bangsamoro visionaries could take these points into consideration and resolve to provide us all a lesson in democratic governance, modernization, and civil, gun-less relations!.

Manny among others is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member Permanent Mission to the United Nations; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace and Development Panel, and PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist awardee. valdehuesa@gmail.com

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2014/06/12/worms-eyeview-what-does-milf-mean-by-a-ministerial-form-of-government/

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  • friend of Mindanao

    Ultimately it will be proven again as is being proven elsewhere that islam cannot come out of the stone age. Truly successful democracies need to leave true Islam behind.

    • Abet Cariño

      Phil democracy? Ha! You must be joking.. you are just ignorant of the great history of Islam, the civilizations it has created and/or enriched. When europe was in darkness, literally and figuratively, the muslim world then was leading in arts and sciences and in the justice of their rulers…i beg you to read friend of Mindanao so that your ignorance and bigotry would be erased.