Since the MOA-AD controversy has erupted, many have suggested, including myself, to discuss the document soberly and examine its merits. Many friends in the peace movement have been divided on the document, either for it, against it, or for further discussion. From the point of view of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, I would like to share an initial political analysis of the document. As an initial one, I am open to being corrected on these. I may write an extended article later because of the complexities of the issues involved.
This is only based on the July 27th initialed agreement and the August 5th TRO’ed agreement, both of which are the same, except for the inclusion of the OIC representative’s signature in the latter document. There is supposed to be an earlier version that led to the MILF walk-out but the GMA administration is keeping it secret. Now to the analysis:
1. The MOA-AD is a big victory for the MILF position since, ostensibly, the GRP side accepted all its political premises: a) Bangsamoro as a sovereign people; b) Bangsamoro as “First Nation,” meaning they have first claim on the Moro-defined territory; c) an expanded interpretation of “ancestral domain” to include territorial seas, air, space, and the underground; d) Bangsamoro sovereign rule over the “ancestral domain,” and; e) the Bangsamoro sovereign rule through the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) is not subject to the 1987 constitution.
2. All these for the agreement for a lasting peace in Mindanao and an “associative rule” by the Philippine government in specific governance areas only, such as a 25 percent share of resources within the Bangsamoro “ancestral domain” outside of the 15-kilometer territorial sea limit. The BJE will have its own constitution, legislature, laws, courts, army and police, and even to a certain extent, foreign relations.
Essentially, the GRP lost its jurisdiction over the BJE area, including that over non-Moro peoples in the area. The peace it thus won is essentially gained by washing its hands off of affairs in the BJE territory. You might as well say that what the MILF never won in the battlefield they have won in the negotiation table.
3. This has two implications: a) The BJE, at the least, has already a quasi-state character; and b) the non-Moro peoples who may not want to be under the BJE only have the choice of either getting out or starting a political movement either for their own state or for political equality.
The first implication leads to the obvious probability of an independent Bangsamoro nation-state later–there is no guarantee against it. Considering the current political climate, this is a certainty.
The second implication leads to the conclusion that a new political conflict will immediately commence once the BJE is signed–this one by non-Moro peoples in Mindanao, most probably supported by their brethrens in Luzon and the Visayas. Certainly, a recipe for continued war.
4. As a measure for a just and lasting peace, the MOA-AD is a failure. It failed to strike a careful balance between the interests of all the peoples in Mindanao, and between the interests of the Moro people and the Philippine state. Given the situation that the peace process is not one between a victor and a loser but based on a common search for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, both sides should have given weight to all sides and reflected this in the agreement.
However, the MOA-AD is perceived to stress only the Moro interests and neglected both the interests of non-Moro peoples and the larger interests of the whole Filipino nation. Many among the Moro people will certainly embrace it–it give them largely what they want. However, it will not find much support among the Filipino people and Filipino political leaders, as well as among the Lumad. Some in the Moro community, such as those in the ARMM, the MNLF, and the old Sultanates, may also show lukewarm support for, if not go against the MOA-AD.
5. The GRP and the MILF sides certainly are aware of the imbalances in the MOA-AD document. The question is: Why did they permitted the process to go this far? If the stories are true, they would even have signed in Kuala Lumpur. And if the stories are true, there were those who were bribed with mining and oil exploration or development incomes.
The role of foreign intervention in the peace process is already well-documented. How this intervention led to the MOA-AD, however, is still murky and speculative. It is as speculative as the story that another big power prevented the signing in Kuala Lumpur.
Whatever the true stories, what is evident now is that the MOA-AD has led to a dangerous situation–a possible war, a possible intervention by foreign powers, a possible try for a dismemberment of the Filipino state and country, and a possible betrayal of the country and the nation.
If not renegotiated on a new basis that recognizes the interests of all the stakeholders, then the MOA-AD is an agreement that laid the foundations, not for a just and lasting peace but for a war of generations.