(Conclusion of Part 3)
[The following is the concluding section of the 3rd part of Ambassador Romero’s three-part analysis of the Bangsamoro, the BBL and MILF question which was abruptly cut off in yesterday’s issue.]
A PH sub-state or a Malaysian vassal state?
The next question is: What is in it for Malaysia? The answer is the realization of its enlightened self-interest. It is obvious that the concern of Malaysia over of its porous territory bordering the Sulu archipelago will be better secured by its godchild the Bangsamoro which will control the land sea and air in the region. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly for Malaysia, the annexation of the Sulu archipelago where the claimants to Sabah reside, will place in the backburner the Sabah issue. Bangsamoro economic development to be accelerated by heavy Malaysian investment and a better equipped Bangsamoro security force armed and trained by Malaysia (arms support by Malaysia for MILF is a historical fact) is the best security guarantee for the Malaysian federation. Moreover a Malaysian-influenced Bangsamoro plebiscite (Sabah style) might even induce our Muslim brothers to join a greater Malaysian federation given their shared ethnic, religious and cultural ties. This will be facilitated by Bangsamoro’s adoption of the parliamentary form of government which is symmetrical to that of the Malaysia. The net result is a Philippine sub-state acting as a buffer state for our Asean neighbor.
The buffer zone will secure its porous boundaries from Tausug pirates and the forces of the Sulu sultanate. A well armed Bangsamoro security force composed of the MILF guerrillas – a breakaway group from the MNLF — is expected to neutralize the latter which is seen as allied with the Sulu Sultanate – the claimant to Malaysia’s prized possession in the island of Borneo. This is evident from the fact that neither the MNLF nor the sultanate was taken seriously by the framers of the agreement.
Will this really bring peace to Mindanao?