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Assurance of Moro Ancestral Domain? PDF Print E-mail

30 July 2008, Future Global Network Foundation (FGN), a Kuala Lumpur based NGO that seeks to advance the Cause of stateless and downtrodden peoples, welcome the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reached between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) recently. Scheduled to be formally signed in Kuala Lumpur on August 5, 2008, the Agreement:

-           Recognize the Bangsamoro people as "distinct from the rest of the national communities";

-           Grant the Bangsamoro people their own "distinct territory";

-           Grant the Bangsamoro people their own "government"; and,

-           Concede international recognition to the Bangsamoro people.

The Agreement, which took more than seven years to negotiate, is expected to provide the majority of Bangsamoro Muslims in 721 villages the much-needed relief and assurance on their ancestral domain. It could also be the beacon for their future in Muslim Mindanao, with assurance that their remaining landed properties and estates can now be safely preserved for posterity without having to fear of being ‘misappropriated’ by any carpetbaggers without their consent.

FGN and the international community hope that this agreement will be implemented according to its letter and spirit. Otherwise, if the ghosts of previous Agreements signed by the GRP and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), such as the Tripoli Agreement, the Jeddah Accord and the Final Phase Agreement, resurface to haunt the Bangsamoro people again, it may entail grave consequences no one would like to be associated with.

Unfortunately, the so-called Final Peace Accord (FPA) has not provided much benefit to the Bangsamoro people within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) apart from the officials and employees of ARMM. It has been 12 years now since its official signing in Jakarta and in Manila, but even the problem of the displaced peoples, both internally and overseas caused by decades of war, have not yet been addressed properly.

Operation against illegals in Sabah

In a short while, the Sabah state government will be launching another comprehensive police operations against illegal immigrants, majority of whom are supposedly ‘refugees’ from Muslim Mindanao. But, despite the FPA which is anticipated to include the repatriation and resettlement of refugees back to their respective homelands, more and more seem to be “fleeing” from Mindanao than those who want to return.

It is therefore highly prayed for that better deals and good sense this time prevail.