On Tuesday, members of the government peace panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign a historic deal. This deal will lead to the establishment of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), an entity which would grant sovereign rights to the MILF on “ancestral domain”. The ancestral domain, in this case, covers parts of Zamboanga, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. The GRP peace panel agreed to give the Bangsamoro political, economic and even police powers to the MILF under this deal.
This early, some hailed this as a landmark deal which could probably end the Moro secessionist struggle in Mindanao. Others, like traditional Moro families and wealthy Christian landowners, have registered their protests. They see the landmark deal as property encroachments which could potentially lead to more violence at the onset.
As PinoyObserver wrote some entries ago, this is just a start of the Bangsamoro struggle because after this, I expect an escalation of violence between and among groups with various interests in Mindanao. Expect the Mindanaoans to wage war against each other, starting with an interacine conflict between Moros themselves. This is expected since Mindanao has been under the grip of traditional “royal families” and Christian land owners and caciques whose interests will definitely be affected and even end should this deal pushes through.
There will be a period of great instability and turmoil, but this should not hinder nor discourage Arroyo from signing this deal. For the costs of such turmoil rests in the shoulders of the MILF, not the government. The MILF will have a greater struggle ahead of it, owning to the firepower that these groups have ranged against it. The MILF should persevere and should not deter from the reason of its formation—the creation of an Independent Bangsamoro State.
In general, the deal will greatly benefit not only those under the BJE but also the entire nation. The potential of foreign investments from both China, the Middle East, India, the United States and Europe is there. Mindanao is underdeveloped. With a new government to be administered by the Bangsamoro themselves, anything is possible there.
Now, the Bangsamoro can build its own megacities, create jobs, create opportunities for everyone. The Bangsamoro can build investment sites. The territory to be given to them has enormous potential for development and growth. The area is rich in mineral and oil resources which, if developed, could potentially increase investment and further grow and modernize the Bangsamoro state.
However, this is just a small step. The growth and development of the BJE will take years before we finally enjoy its fruits. For now, the Bangsamoro People will have to prepare themselves against those who don’t want progress. These groups have enslaved the Bangsamoro people for centuries. The enslavement have kept Mindanao underdeveloped and poor. For the Bangsamoro People to end it, it would need the Help of God to shackle those chains that have impoverished its people.