Here and There

The controversial MOA

By Gerry Garcia

A way out for the militant MILF rebels opting for separation from the republic for which they have sworn to die for is again seen with administration’s renewed attempt to revive Cha-cha and push for a federal form of government.

Federalism, which would allow local governments to have more authority and flexibility in governance, particularly in delivering basic services, is also seen by the president herself as the only way forward.

And GMA, in her intent to follow through, despite over-riding opposition, had repeatedly stated she is stepping down when her term ends. Meaning, she’ll not bid for re-election in 2010, thus dispelling doubts from the Opposition that she’s pushing for Cha-cha revival not to ensure her continued stay in government.

PGMA, along with former Pres. FVR, had been advocating federalism as a way to ensure long-lasting peace in Mindanao and the only way this can be legally achieved is through amendment, not total change of the Constitution.

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Action from the SC was sought by Sen. Manuel Roxas II to stop the government from signing the controversial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with separatist MILF rebels because the MOA was prepared and finalized with adequate public consultations, in violation of the public’s constitutional right to information. The MOA, if signed would illegally create the Bangsamoro homeland and a central authority called the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity which will have authority and jurisdiction over the same granted powers of a sovereign state, in violation of the Constitution.

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The controversial MOA reminds us of GRP-MILF agreement signed May 7 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2002 which had caused uproar in the House of Representatives. The congressmen crossed party lines to denounce the agreement as an act of capitulation to the MILF and a surrender of the national sovereignty to the rebel group and its international sponsors.

It was the late Sen. Blas Ople who led the congressmen’s utmost concern in the reported undertaking of the government under the agreement to return to MILF control the Camp Abubakar, the rebel group main headquarters and 40 other former MILF military camp throughout Mindanao which were overrun and recovered by the AFP earlier during an all-out offensive ordered by then President Joseph Estrada. The Mindanao congressman consider this agreement invalid, and worse, claim this is an act of treason that can expose the President to the risk of impeachment.

What riles the sensibilities of legislators is that the agreement requires the government to pay damages or reparation for the MILF properties destroyed during the AFP attacks!

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