As underscored by the head of the negotiating panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Framework Agreement signed last Monday by representatives of the MILF and Philippine government, is just a framework and not a complete document. There are key critical questions that still need to be subjected to negotiation over the next several months. The Moro people will still have to contend with the maneuverings and duplicity of the Aquino reactionary regime.
The forging of the MILF-GPH Framework Agreement is the result of the steadfast efforts of the MILF and the Moro people to attain their aspiration for national self-determination through revolutionary armed struggle and political negotiations. It contains general declarations on the recognition of the Moro people’s demand to establish a distinct politico-juridical entity as an expression of their aspiration for self-governance. However, as it now stands, the Framework Agreement heavily favors the reactionary regime and poses dangers to the cause of the Moro people. Among the most critical questions to be detailed is the matter of the “decommissioning” of the MILF’s armed forces “so they are put beyond use.”
There is also the related matter of the formation of a police force which will carry out the tasks of law enforcement. Even now, key officials of the Aquino regime insist that the territory to comprise the Bangsamoro will be under the jurisdiction of the Philippine National Police. Further on, the agreement states that law enforcement functions will be transferred “in a phased and gradual manner” from the AFP to the planned Bangsamoro police force, with no explicit provision, however, that the AFP will be completely withdrawn from Bangsamoro territory.
This is in stark contrast to the demand of the Aquino regime for an explicit timetable for the dismantling of the MILF’s armed forces, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) to be agreed upon at the signing of the final agreement. The matter of which armed entities will be allowed within the Bangsamoro territory and whether this will be under the authority of the Bangsamoro officials are still to be determined in future negotiations. The danger lies in the Aquino regime insisting on having sole authority to control any armed or police force in the territory of the Bangsamoro which can only mean reducing the authority and autonomy of the Bangsamoro government. Also crucial is the matter of the Framework Agreement’s dependence on the acts of the reactionary government.
This includes, among others, the formation of the Transition Commission through an Executive Order of the GPH President. This Transition Commission is also dependent on the funds to be provided by the GPH and will likely be subjected to pressure from the reactionary Philippine government. In recent interviews, the GPH negotiating panel head asserts that the Basic Laws of the Bangsamoro Government that the Transition Commission is to draft should be in accordance with the constitution of the GPH. The agreement also provides that the Transition Commission should outline its proposals for amendments to the Philippine constitution.
In either case, there is the danger of undermining the capability of the Bangsamoro government at self-governance if its existence and authority is to be subjected to the confines of the laws of the reactionary state. Wealth sharing is another crucial issue, the details of which are still subject to negotiations. The agreement provides only that the Bangsamoro government shall have a “just and equitable share” in the exploitation, development and utilization of natural resources within the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro.
The Bangsamoro government does not have any clear authority to set its own national economic policies distinct from that of the dominant semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines. We can expect the Aquino regime and big multinational companies to take advantage of such in order to perpetuate the economic subjugation of the Bangsamoro by aggressively pushing foreign and debt-funded programs and projects to facilitate the entry of foreign big business. Foreign big mining and oil companies have long been drooling over the oil reserves in the Liguasan Marsh and other mineral resources within the Moro lands.
This early, international banks, funding agencies and multinational companies have already expressed interest in putting in their money to set up operations in the Bangsamoro. The Framework Agreement poses disadvantages and dangers to the MILF and the Moro people. The next stages of negotiations will be crucial in determining how much independence, autonomy and self-determination the Moro people will have gained. As among the most ardent advocates of the rights of the Moro people for national self-determination, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Filipino revolutionary forces will continue to closely follow the MILF-GPH negotiations in the next several months.
The CPP encourages the Filipino and Moro people to rally around the cause of Moro self-determination and push the negotiations to favor the Moro people and oppose the duplicity and maneuverings of the reactionary Aquino regime. The CPP trusts that the Moro revolutionary forces will continue to steadfastly hold on to the victories which they have gained through armed resistance.
Communist Party of the Philippines October 17, 2012