LISTENING to mixed groups of locals from Mindanao, I get the following insights:
1. Forget BBL, junk Armm, and just stick to local autonomy.
2. Education, jobs and livelihood should be the top priorities instead of fooling around with political systems and structures.
3. The problem is cultural. Fix that even if it takes a long time, and we solve many problems in one blow.
4. There are few sympathizers for BBL amongst the Muslims versus those against, even within the MILF’s commanders and sub-commanders due to lack of consultations, and the lack of shared benefits being kept by the “top” to buy the referendum.
5. About 8,000 armed rebels––both secular and Islamist. Mostly in Central Mindanao––Maguindanao, N.Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.
Malaysia will never return Sabah to the Sultanate / Philippines because it’s sucking out the oil and gas reserves; and lording it over its acquatic, timber and mineral resources. Now it wants to do the same to Mindanao via the so-called Bangsamoro.
For the past 30 years, Malaysia’s been funding the MILF. Its status as peace broker and monitor should be revoked and it should be replaced by a country that’s not conflicted.
What is your trust and confidence level that:
1. Political “parties” only choose national candidates qualified to run government, deliver results and look after the national interest and common good?
2. The thinking class pro-actively campaign and influence the masses to vote only for “new politics” candidates?
3. For the elite not to fund undesirables as a matter of grave national security?
4. For Comelec to be a true, brave and staunch protector of free, honest and orderly elections; and for the counting system to be 100% error and tamper free?
(Rafael Alunan III is a former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.)