QUN FAYA QUN: An Open Letter to Rigoberto D. Tiglao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 August) — Dear Mr. Tiglao,

I would like to tell you that your article last August 3, 2014  entitled “The next firestorm to hit Aquino” is a dangerous one that endangers our homes and communities if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and our government will come to a deadlock in the peace process.

Your points may be valid at some level of legal mind. However, I would like to know, what was your purpose in writing this article? Do you even have any suggestions or concrete points that may help our people understand the history of the Bangsamoro people?  Or do you simply hate the Aquino administration, and thus this gloom and doom?

Maybe I get it. You are pro-GMA, and  it hurts you to see that PNoy was able to put her to jail. For a while now I have avoided your discussions on the DAP and all other acerbic articles you have criticizing our present government as if it did nothing right. I was bothered but they were tolerable. I respected your views.

Yet in your recent article, you have just given a dangerous message, one that might lead people in our communities to consider a skewed view of the peace process. You said that “Aquino’s agreement with the MILF is a no-brainer as
 grossly unconstitutional, and there is little doubt that the Supreme Court will also throw it into the dustbin. If the DAP  was a rape of the Congress, as former senator Joker Arroyo put it, Aquino’s agreement with the MILF will be a gang-rape of our Republic.” For me, it is a message of hopelessness and indifference to the genuine pursuit of Mindanawons towards just peace, and a possible cause for another conflagration of violent conflicts in Central Mindanao.

The Framework Agreement, the Annexes, and the Comprehensive Agreement need refinement. Yes. This is a given fully understood by both parties when they signed the documents. The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has to ensure that the new political entity will be inclusive to all peoples in this region. It has to respect human rights and uphold the human dignity of Muslims, Christians, and indigenous peoples. The BBL has to also ensure that there can be more concrete reforms in the region compared with the current set up of the ARMM.

For the sake of argument, let us ignore first all the biases that you mentioned in your article against PNoy and the possible contents of the BBL, and instead follow your line of reasoning. If we are to accept your reasoning that the  “CAB with its five ‘annexes’ ignores the Constitution, as if it didn’t exist at all,” then you have a very limited appreciation of the history of the Bangsamoro struggle. You take for granted the fact that the Treaty of Paris has set aside our own history and political system. You take for granted the social, historical, and structural injustices that were committed by the Spaniards, Americans, and the Philippine Republic towards the Moro peoples. These injustices are at the heart of the Moro rebellion.

The entire Bangsamoro narratives and its future are still a work-in-progress. We are happy with the major accomplishments of PNoy that includes the ongoing peace talks with the MILF with concrete plans and actions that look beyond the current view of Philippine history and its Luzon-centered narratives.

The peace panels (MILF and GPH) are presently working hard to ensure that we sustain the peace initiatives that our people are experiencing right now. We are also focusing on improving our madrasah education. We would like to make sure that the Islam that we have here in our country is not like the extremist groups in the Middle East. We want to make sure that the violence in other countries will not happen in Mindanao.

I guess whatever I say will not matter to you. You are determined to paint the Aquino administration as black as you can. But please, spare us. If you have nothing better to say in this peace process, then please be quiet. Think about the families and communities in Central Mindanao who long for peace and security in their homes.

So while I too criticize PNoy and the MILF, I do it constructively. I know you have a good number of readers. But you are leading them astray. You are putting the peoples of Mindanao in a state of hopelessness and despair. You are consequentially pushing the MILF at the edge thinking that there can be no compromise. I worry deeply in the Filipino people that carry the biases and prejudices against the Muslims that read your article. If there will be another “all-out war”, what will you say to the innocent children living in the core territory of the Bangsamoro? I hope you can sleep at night with a clear conscience.

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mussolini Lidasan, an Iranun from Maguindanao, is executive director of the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, based at the Ateneo de Davao University where he is also pursuing his MA Anthropology. For questions/feedback please email: mslidasan@outlook.com.]