MILLIONS of ideas were expressed and hundreds of articles were written about the success and pride of the Moros when the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed on the 27th of March.
Listening to the live telecast of the speeches delivered in Malacañan Palace on that day brought me tears of joy. At long last, the Moro struggle is now recognized by this country.
When President PNoy expressed his hopes that one day he would want to see himself and Murad sitting together in the Bangsamoro land watching the sunset, it reminded me of what Martin Luther King said in his historic speech, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
Today, the same dream is what we all want to achieve. We hope that one day our fellow Moros along with our fellow Filipinos will also sit in the same bench working and sharing ideas without the feeling of distrust and discomfort.
We hope that one day our fellow Moros will no longer be subjects of discrimination, will not be judged as barbaric, or will not be tagged as terrorists, but rather be respected and recognized as peaceful freedom fighters.
We hope that the word “Moro” will be redefined by our sincerity in achieving lasting peace in Mindanao and the Philippines, and not the connotation of being the bad, the ignorant and the rebellious people.
The signing of the CAB is just the first single step in this journey of a thousand miles. This means that many things are yet to be done. Many plans are yet to be designed, redesigned and even thrown in the deep. Many other dreams may not come true. Many aspirations may not be granted.
However, the journey must go on. Barriers, big or small, may be waiting ahead. But no matter how gigantic a block on our path would be, for as long as we patiently move and eradicate this barrier, we can again see the light ahead. We need more courage, more patience, more audacity and more humility if we want to succeed.
If we are to recall this journey toward this first single step, we have stumbled and have sacrificed the lives of many in the wars in Mindanao. This is the reason why we, the Moro people must work hand-in-hand in achieving the ultimate goal.
The CAB will have to go through a series of policy reviews in the congress and the senate. Many of the disgruntled individuals may oppose and delete significant aspects or provisions in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
So, being a humble Moro, the only way to help is to be vigilant in these processes. We have to continue valuing the sincerity we have given in the past decades.
The success of the CAB is a feat won by those who shed blood in the past. When Al Haj Murad dedicated this feat to those who died in the battle and have struggled for years, I cannot help but be sentimental because many of our Meranaw Moro warriors died for this cause.
Murad was very sincere enough in recognizing that this success is not only by the present Moro group but of all those who have been there in the past and have believed that respectable recognition of who we are is possible.
The CAB may not be perfect but at least we are all here to protect this first valuable step in our history.
As a Meranaw, to be finally recognized is more than enough to celebrate and be thankful to the Almighty. This is indeed a dream come true.
(Professor Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.[Email: email@example.com]