WHILE government propagandists and photographers are busily pushing photos to newspapers showing that speakers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are holding public meetings to inform the Muslim Filipinos about the Bangsamoro Basic Law, observers on the ground in Mindanao are shaking their heads.
What they are holding are not consultations. In most instances, the people herded to attend these rallies don’t have a clue about what is being discussed.
In other words, just like the very beginning of the meetings between the government negotiators and their counterparts in the deadly separatist rebel organization, the proceedings are a moro-moro.
“Moro-moro” (for the benefit of young Times readers, specially those born and living abroad) is a pejorative term in Filipino. It means a deceptive activity put on to cover a fraud. This meaning developed from the term used to refer to Catholic morality plays staged to show Christian armies, like those of El Cid against the Moors. Of course the Moors or the Moros always lost. Soon, “moro-moro” came to be the Tagalog and Filipino term for any kind of pretense.
The word “moro” used to be offensive to Muslim Filipinos. It was an insult to call a Muslim Filipino a “moro.” But politically incorrect terms in the old days now seem to be perfectly acceptable. “Moro” was the term the Spaniards used to refer to the Moors, the Muslims from Morroco and North Africa who conquered southern Spain. These great Berber dynasties built magnificent cities and palaces in what is known as Muslim Spain, which lasted for some 700 years. But perhaps realizing the greatness of Muslim Spain, the Muslim Filipinos of the Moro National Liberation Front led by Chairman Nur Misuari began to call themselves Moros and called their desired autonomous region in Mindanao “Bangsamoro” or the “Moro nation.”
Lack of respect for the Philippine Republic
The sheer unconstitutionality, the incredible absence of public consultations, the impossible lack of respect for the Philippine Republic and the concept of being Filipino that can be read between the lines of the Framework Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and now the Bangsamoro Basic Law make the whole peace-process that the Aquino government embarked on with the Moro Islamic Democratic Front a moro-moro!
The latest news about it even adds to the moro-moro quality of the whole CAB enterprise.
Despite the President’s insistence on the importance of the CAB and the need to fast-track Congress’ passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Palace had not given Congress a copy of the BBL as of this writing. Congress had no copy of the draft of it when it opened on Monday after a recess of more than a month. So the leaders of the two houses of Congress could not put the BBL on their agenda.
The more astute constitutionalists among the lawmakers saw that the President’s assurances to us, the Filipino people, that the CAB and now the BBL will lead to peace are all treasonous BS. Instead, the Framework Agreement, the CAB and presumably the BBL that congressmen and senators had not yet seen as of this writing, could allow the proposed Bangsamoro substate that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to have pockets of the substate located outside Mindanao.
House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan City warned that the Framework Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Aquino government and the MILF states that areas outside the core Bangsamoro territory in Mindanao may opt to become part of the substate anytime. If at least 10 percent of the residents petition for it and then a majority of qualified voters of the area approve the petition in a plebiscite then that area can be made part of the substate.
That part of Quiapo in Manila where the Gold Mosque stands and its surrounding neighborhoods up to five to 10 blocks could easily meet the criterion. So would the Maharlika Village in Taguig which has a 100-percent Muslim population. And a barangay or two in Pasay City.