QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 29 March) — Where lies the kinks?
Is PDu30 capable in addressing the problem in Sulu, the most maverick island in the South since colonial and post-colonial days?
He seems to have the handle and the right psychology in dealing w/ the Tausug.
Why do the Tausug and their leaders love to arm and fight among themselves; yet, they can be meek like lamb when government deals with them seriously?
How many times we’d seen these rituals since Marcos — Tausugs surrendering their arms to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with which most of them were traceable to Marcos himself and his military in the first place?
Yet, in succeeding years, arms would be poured again and again to Sulu with Moro trapos (traditional politicians) then rebels, radicals and civilians serving as conduits in circulating those arms among themselves with their loved ones and relatives the main casualties with every bullet that comes out from those guns.
Of these conduits, trapos play the most crucial and dubious role; they play a double-bladed game with the government and the AFP as they exploit, too, the Moro struggle by influencing rebels and radicals while entrenching further their hold on power while surreptitiously accumulating people’s lands and farms either through legit ways or otherwise.
Meantime, hundreds and thousands of Tausug have to suffer and engage in diaspora to nearby islands, cities and provinces including Sabah and NCR (National Capital Region) and the rest of the Philippines.
The proliferation of firearms in Mindanao and Sulu cannot be addressed through mere rituals of surrendering one or two firearms to the AFP. There has to be systemic and comprehensive approach particularly in addressing this issue:
How to close the supply line not only from the AFP’s arm traders and scalawags but including the main faucet from Military-Industrial Complex with which a place like Sulu has long become their favorite market place of guns and ammo.
With arm issue properly addressed and with Sulu’s peace and economic condition comprehensively addressed too, I believe, Sulu could be salvaged from her current state of abyss — now that both Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are already abiding with their hope on Bangsamoro Basic Law and PRRD’s project on federalism.
Our main indicator is this: diasporic Tausug are succeeding elsewhere except in Sulu.
If only those conditions change per Digong’s calculation within 10 years, I believe, Tausug people could turn Sulu into haven of peace and prosperity once again.
The Tausug DNA of grandeur and success is engraved in history.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Julkipli Wadi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman).