II. ‘3 for 1’ Solution (Continuation 1)
Patricio P. Diaz/MindaNews
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 September) — With the “3 for 1” Solution, the Aquino III Government completely changed the negotiation scenario. In their official and press statements, Leonen, OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, member of the government negotiating panel, will clarify key points of the “Eleven Characteristics” to confirm or debunk this inference.
In his presentation in Kuala Lumpur [See: “Statement of GPH Peace Panel Chair Marvic Leonenon the 22nd Formal Exploratory Talks”.], Leonen explained the key points of “3 for 1” Solution.
Authority and Thrust
He named the “stakeholders” as participants in crafting the proposal and President Aquino III as the source of their mandate: “The “3 for 1” proposal is the result of the GPH panel’s extensive consultations with the different stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process and is also the mandate of the President of the Republic.”
He stated what the proposal intends to achieve: “It seeks not only to provide a just and lasting peace to the troubled south but more so to improve and uplift the lives of the people who have long suffered from the brutality of decades-long armed conflict.”
He described the integrity and comprehensiveness of the proposal and its relevance: “It is a principled, realistic and practical proposal that follows a comprehensive “3 for 1” approach or 3 components for 1 solution to the Bangsamoro problem. These components are made up of: 1) massive economic development; 2) political settlement with the MILF, and; 3) cultural-historical acknowledgment.”
What are the changes in the scenario? By “extensive consultations” the “stakeholders” are involved in crafting the government proposals before and during negotiations through consultations — a new policy. While the “just and lasting peace” and “uplift of the lives of people” are among the MILF demands, the three components of “3 for 1” Solution, as it will be seen later, will displace the MILF Comprehensive Compact Peace Draft.
Contrary to negotiations in the past, what will now be negotiated are proposals in “3 for 1” Solution as alternative to those in the MILF Comprehensive Compact Draft.
The focus of “massive development” is ARMM: “In the first component, the government informed the MILF that the government will go through a transformation of the ARMM. In this, there will be a massive program of social services and economic development and these will prepare the people and serve to strengthen the foundations on which economic development can commence and be sustained.”
Break the cycle of poverty and empower the people: “The objective of such is to break the cycle of poverty in the ARMM, so that people are actually empowered to undertake economic activities that benefit themselves and their communities in order to achieve real progress.”
The MILF is invited as partner in the “massive development” program: “In this regard, the government has encouraged and is prepared to work with the MILF in conflict-affected areas in undertaking these much needed social services. We offered to the MILF to partner in conflict-affected areas to deliver, implement and monitor social services and economic development in their areas. Their partnership will contribute immensely to the growth of the area as well as build confidence and trust between the parties.”
What more are the changes in the scenario? In the Comprehensive Compact, the focus is the Bangsamoro Sub-State. Socioeconomic progress will follow the development of the Bangsamoro ancestral domain by the Bangsamoros assisted by the national government during the transition period. Now, in the immediate present, the Aquino III Government will do the “massive development” in ARMM with the MILF as key partner – in both the development and in building “confidence and trust”.
The Political Settlement
The “3 for 1” Solution has for its “second component” the “political settlement” which is “called the peace accord”. This “is an important cornerstone of this proposal.” As such, this “political settlement” has two distinctive features: first: Government-MILF partnership, as in the first component; and, second: do-ability.
By the first, political settlement “is founded on a partnership between the government and the MILF to foster mutual trust;” bound with mutual trust, “diverse communities in conflict-affected areas” will “debate and dialogue … to find a convergence [or common ground] of [their] various programs and advocacies.”
By the second, political settlement “focuses more on the do-ables in the short term rather than dwell on contentious and divisive issues whose solutions may take a longer time to address.” What these “do-ables” are could only be surmised – perhaps, reforms within existing laws and the Constitution exclusive of associative or state-sub-state relations.
“One core component [of political settlement] is the proposed creation of a Bangsamoro Commission.” To “be established on the principle of inclusivity”, the Commission “will be composed of the government, the MILF and stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process” and “is expected to supervise the implementation of the components of this peace agreement which will include the lobby on Congress of the new organic act that will campaign [for] strengthened autonomy in that area.”
Still there are more changes in the scenario. The MILF will no longer negotiate a political settlement to fulfill the Bangsamoro right to self-determination but a seat in the political partnership together with the Government and the stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process — giving up the Bangsamoro Sub-State for the Bangsamoro Commission.
Recognition of Bangsamoro identity and history is the “third component” of the “3 for 1” Solution – the “cultural-historical acknowledgement that corrects historical narratives and fosters appreciation of different cultures borne out of the struggles of all Filipinos including those of Bangsamoro identity”. The “correction” is for “all Filipinos” – the Bangsamoro just “included”.
The significance of this incidental recognition is still qualified: “However, even as it [the “3 for 1 Solution] recognizes the Bangsamoro identity and its history, it takes care not to view it from an overly simplistic interpretation. It submits that their history is one of many, which can only strengthen the State.”
Here’s the twist in the scenario. Contrary to the GRP-MILF consensus in the MOA-AD, the “3 for 1” Solution asserts that the identities and struggles of all Filipinos – not only of the Moros – have not been properly appreciated and narrated in Philippine history. With this twist, the negotiation to address historical injustices is diffused – the focus shifting away from the Moros.
After August 22
The “3 for 1” Solution is the only option and the change in the negotiation scenario is the inevitable consequence. This was the message after August 22.
Leonen reiterated his opening statement at the exploratory talk in his press conference in Kuala Lumpur on August 23. Back in the country, he defended the “3 for 1” Solution in various forums – resolved to give the MILF “autonomy, not a sub-state”. In Cotabato City, however, tempering the “ball is in MILF court” scenario, he obviously addressed the MILF saying that the government proposal can still be changed if they “sit down and discuss the differences and agreements”. [MindaNews, August 31, 2011]
Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, the presidential peace adviser, in her August 22 statement posted in OPAPP website, restated the government’s policy of “Peace acceptable to all”:
“After this week’s negotiations, the government will undertake further consultations with the different stakeholders before going back to the negotiation table to craft with the MILF a final peace accord that will be acceptable to all and will mean more productive lives, greater opportunities, and regional harmony for families in conflict areas and the people of Mindanao. [Emphasis supplied]”
In Cotabato City last August 26, talking to Catholic bishops and educators in conference [“Now is the time to put closure to armed conflict – Deles”, www.opapp.gov.ph. August 26], Deles quoted President Aquino effectively validating the policy:
“We shall endeavor to restore confidence in a peace process that is transparent and participatory, and renew our faith in our shared vision of a peaceful, secure and prosperous future under one sovereign flag.”
Deles also stressed the key-points in the President’s directive guiding the Government Peace Panel: (1) conduct talks within the parameters of the Constitution, inclusive of the flexibility within its provisions; (2) learn from the lessons of the past negotiations; (3) sign an agreement which the government can implement; and, (4) exercise inclusiveness and transparency with the aim to restore full confidence and trust in the peace process.
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, a member of the Government Peace Panel, in a commentary [“A comprehensive package for autonomy,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 29, 2011] tried to reconcile the “3 for 1” Solution and the MILF sub-state proposal suggested that the “Sub-State” must give way to the “Solution”.
A UP political science professor, Ferrer has done much research and published works on the Bangsamoro Problem and the peace process in Mindanao. Her commentary adds more light to the changing scenario of the Mindanao peace process. (“Comment” is Mr. Patricio P. Diaz’ column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Mr. Diaz is the recipient of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Titus Brandsma for his “commitment to education and public information to Mindanawons as Journalist, Educator and Peace Advocate.” He was conferred the 1st Agong Awards for Journalism by the Mindanao Media Forum in November 2010. You may e-mail your comments to [email protected])]
[To Be Continued: Inevitable Reality]