A sublime paradox-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
WE CAN only hope that the gains achieved in the peace process involving the conflict-areas in Mindanao will not be derailed by the revival of the proprietary claims on Sabah by the Sultanate of Sulu.
The perceptible migration of the loyal followers of Sultan Kiram in Lahad Datu is ill-timed. While we believed that he has proprietary rights on the vast expanse of Sabah, the “excursion” has fueled not only armed confrontation with Malaysian troops, it also stirred speculation that they are being left out in the talks between the MILF and government agenda of putting the finishing touches on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro land.
This apprehension, however, is not quite accurate as the initial public discussions on FAB were in fact held in the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. All the sectors then were invited during the town hall meetings. If the Sultanate opted to isolate itself then it has only its own leaders to blame. Nevertheless, it is farfetched to even think that the forum organizers will sideline them.
On the other hand, the absence of Sultan Kiram and his subalterns has something to do with the fact that he is undergoing medical intervention in Manila, which required him to take up residence in the national capital.
The oddity of this Sabah imbroglio is that Malaysia is brokering peace between the Philippine government and the secessionist front. Odd because the superior military might of Malaysia is pummeling not only the ill-equipped ragtag forces of the sultanate and, as we were made to believe, also helpless unarmed Muslim migrants from Southern Philippines.
As if this is not enough, the cat is out of the bag: that Malaysia trained and equipped the Moro national Liberation Front in its secessionist struggle!
The political dynamics surrounding Sabah issue is difficult to comprehend. Filipinos, mostly Muslims, who considered Sabah their ancestral land, are systematically flushed out from their homes. As they set foot in Sulu or Tawi-Tawi moreover, they are apprehended by Philippine authorities to face trial and possible incarceration.
Amid all these confusion and infamy is the affirmation that Malaysia will continue with its role as peace mediator between the MILF and the government. There lies the sublime paradox and in our yearning for peace we ask the penultimate question of the peace negotiation: At what price?
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 16, 2013.