Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Muddled Picture Of Peace

The government should have consulted the stakeholders before dangling the ancestral domain issue with the MILF. With the way Commander Bravo has been acting, it seems that he is his own boss. The MILF, if they are indeed sincere in their quest for peace should have taken the necessary steps in reining Bravo in. Instead it sits on its pompous ass while Bravo retreats to his mountain lair.

The government should have thought twice before negotiating with the MILF. Only two reasons come to mind with Bravo's actions. Either Bravo is against the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity or the MILF is trying to force the issue of the BJE. Now we are faced with the prospect of an all-outwar in Mindanao because the administration focused more on how it could insert Cha-Cha in the MOA.

Clearly, Gloria's allies thought that they could ride on the peace issue to push for GMA's term extension. Well, it backfired and now the people of Mindanao have to face uncertainty once again. It also behooves me why the GRP did not consider consulting the Moro councils and went straight to the MILF? Peace cannot be attained without going to the grassroots and asking what the ordinary Mindanaoan wants.

Malaysia also has its interests to protect that is why it decided to join the peace process. Sabah is the common denominator in their interest in the creation of the BJE. I agree that the Moro's have genuine grievances but they are a fragmented people as well. Tribal issues have to be addressed too as differences in the tribes compounded by political interests have caused conflicts in the past and continue up to now.

The unrest now is not about a frustrated rebel. It all boils down to who gets what. The MILF is held only by the creation of the BJE. What is unclear with the rebel group is how to divide the spoils of war. Malacañang is not after peace when it went into the negotiation, it was after how they could stay in power. Now the people must suffer because of interests by those who have the power and the guns.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Cha Cha Cha.....

The controversial MOA creating the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity entails a change in the constitution. Without the amendments, the MOA cannot push through. So it seems that Gloria is at it again. She is bent on pursuing her Cha-Cha plans. This time, she had cloaked it in the guise of peace in Mindanao. She cannot openly push for Cha-Cha as it could finally cause her ouster and even the patient military could finally lose its cool.

With barely two years left in her illegitimate presidency, and without a clear ally after 2010, it is only through charter change that she can save her neck. I am sure that her successor(?) will not be able to save her as countless groups are poised to charge her in court. She will lose her immunity from suit the moment she steps down.

So it is not true that Cha-Cha is dead. Her zombies will again rise to wreak havoc. This time they have a more powerful weapon in their arsenal, PEACE. They all know that we want peace in Mindanao and will support any move to achieve it. But I am sure that Filipinos have learned their lessons well. They will be able to discern Gloria's real motives. In the coming days as the people begin to understand the MOA and its implications, I am sure that it will be harder for GMA to sell us this "Peace in Mindanao" crap.

I'm glad the Supreme Court issued a TRO so that it will give us more time to put under scrutiny this MOA which was hatched by this evil-minded administration. If Gloria doesn't stop, we may not have to wait for 2010 to see her charged in court.


Basket Case Of The Philippines

Rocked by decades of war, Mindanao still seeks the elusive dream of peace. considered the bread basket of the the Philippines, Mindanao is more like a basket case. The way I see it, the continuing unrest is no longer about ideology or ancestral land. It is all about who gets what. Mindanao is a mishmash of cultures. Rule of law is virtually nonexistent with security forces unable to disarm even the ordinary resident.

The region is ruled by powerful clans, warlords and rebels hiding behind the cloak of independence. What is at stake is keeping the status quo. The more autonomy the region gets, the more those in power can impose their will on the ordinary Mindanaoan. Those with private armies terrorize the people into submission while their politicians sell their loyalties to the highest bidder.

Progress in Mindanao will never come unless the people are given a voice. As of late, people are beginning to realize that they have rights and this threatens to destroy the prevailing system. It is no wonder why groups are out to sabotage the ARMM elections. The ruling class stands to lose the most. This is the reason why they have turned to politics to secure their hold to power. Rebels on the other hand is viewed with skepticism as former rebels who turned to politics enriched themselves than address the plight of the people.

Even Muslims do not trust the MILF or the defunct MNLF. The government continues to dialogue with the MILF despite the group's obvious fragmentation. Splinter groups continue to defy instructions from their leaders. It could also be that the MILF leadership is actually supporting these groups. Their continuing occupation of several towns could be a protracted action directed at gaining more ground that could give them a wider area of control should the creation of a Bangsamoro push through.

Elections also do not guarantee any form of change as long as genuine representation is achieved. With the kind of mindset Mindanao politicians have, the people of Mindanao are the biggest losers. Progress comes in trickles leaving the people salivating at the prospect of progress. At the end of the day, Mindanaons remain voiceless as powerful clans and warlords will never relinquish the power they now possess.

Is Mindanao hopeless? NO! Change is up to the people, they are the true stakeholders. The rebels and the ruling clans are the biggest obstacles in Mindanao's quest for peace and progress. But of course, everything will depend on how Malacañang will act. With Gloria at the helm, I doubt if change or peace will ever come to Mindanao. Mindanao will never be our country's bread basket with the kind of people sitting in the peace panel now. Both groups are not looking after the people's welfare but their own.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Gloria's Popularity

Gloria once again stuck to her old line that she doesn't mind being unpopular as long as she can deliver the goods. This is the reason why she is sticking to her EVAT as the funds would be used for her pro-poor programs. But in reality, EVAT is the most convenient of all forms of taxation. No need for any king of legwork to collect it. In more simpler terms, is a lazy governments way of stealing from the people. The EVAT is a tax on tax on tax. What the people should realize is that everything from the raw material to the finished product is heavily taxed every step of the way.

DepEd's Jesli Lapus defended GMA's Pantawid program saying that this is a proactive move by the administration. Instead of waiting for the trickle down effect of Gloria's economic programs, this now brings the supposed trickle down effect directly to the people. As one beneficiary pointed out, P500 will not go far. What they really need are opportunities and not one-time dole outs. Sustainability is the key. After the P500 is gone, beneficiaries will go back to their miserable lives.

Gloria doesn't mind being unpopular to most Filipinos, what she is concerned about is being popular to the right people. The Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) loses an estimated P142bilion a year because of smuggling and evasion. Yet the BOC leadership has the temerity to reward itself with millions because according to them, they performed well. Performance or dereliction of duty? I suppose the latter as smuggling still reigns supreme in the ports around the country.

Yes, Gloria is popular. Popular to the big-time smugglers and tax evaders who support her. A good president will be very popular even if he makes some unpopular decisions, while a bad president is unpopular because he is simply bad. This is the true reason behind Gloria's unpopularity. She simply is a bad president and not because of her unpopular decisions. The corruption in her administration is just too ominous for people to change their perception. Bad leadership leads to bad governance. The unity Gloria seeks will never come as good and evil will never mix. It's either we roll over and expose our asses to her evil ways or we can finally choke up enough courage to just kick her out of office.