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By Radzini Oledan

Slice of Life

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


THE peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao. With the signing of the Framework Agreement, all secessionist groups will be brought to the fold. “No longer does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aspire for a separate state. This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens.”

The peace deal is seen as a way to narrow regional disparities and place the island on a faster growth trajectory. Moody's, the international credit agency said the signing of the Bangsamoro peace deal is "credit positive" for the country. Given its more favorable terms, including greater fiscal autonomy, the latest peace agreement has a better chance of success. "Not all Muslim separatist groups are happy with the arrangement, but the greater stability that it will bring will likely encourage investment in the region and provide scope for the development of more profitable industries, such as mining and agribusiness," it added.
Within the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, investors could start looking at the region and plan for the long term. Government said that with Mindanao’s abundant natural resources and the richness of its culture would make it the ‘perfect food bowl.’

Under the agreement, the national government will continue exercising exclusive powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship, and naturalization. “The Constitution and lawful processes shall govern the transition to the Bangsamoro.”

The peace agreement spells out the general principles not only on the territory but also on the extent of power, revenues in the Bangsamoro, including a graduated program to decommission the guerrilla unit of the MILF ‘so that they are put beyond use.’ Under the transition roadmap, the preliminary peace agreement will clear the way for the establishment of a new autonomous political entity called Bangsamoro, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The government of the Bangsamoro shall have a ministerial form with its own electoral system that will allow ‘democratic participation, ensure accountability of public officers primarily to their constituents and encourage formation of genuinely principled political parties.’

It would take more than the signing of a peace agreement for local communities to rise above the devastating effect of state-centric and militarist approach on security. The challenge is on translating the peace agreement into an instrument that will provide ample space for the Bangsamoro to genuinely manage their own political and economic affairs, as well as be able to feign off any political agenda that seeks to subvert public interests.

Email comments to roledan@gmail.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 02, 2014.

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