Posted tagged ‘political dynamics’

MOA BETWEEN GRP & MUSLIM REBELS (MILF)

August 15, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

 

The controversial MOA between the GRP (Philippine government) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which calls for the establishment of a Bangsamoro ancestral dominion or area in Mindanao island, was supposedly signed recently. Detractors were able to delay the signing by petitioning the Supreme Court for a restraining order.

 

Mr. Iqbal, a top official of the rebel group, pronounced thereafter that the MOA is already a done deal, that no Supreme Court order could stop its implementation. Maybe the rebels better prepare statements that would somehow allay the fears of detractors of the MOA, detractors that include Muslim residents of Zamboanga City.

 

Amid the amicable spirit behind the drafting, the non-signing so far had led to new rounds of hostilities in the affected areas. See the MOA highlights for your briefer view.

 

[06 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to yahoo.com database news.]

 

 

Highlights of MOA between government, MILF

 

Philippine Star – Tuesday, August 5

The memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain whose signing today was ordered stopped by the Supreme Court would authorize the so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) to negotiate directly with foreign governments and set up its own police force.

 

Aside from expanded territory, the BJE under the MOA will also be given control over natural resources found within 15 kilometers from the shoreline of BJE territories.

Beyond 15 kilometers, control over key resources like oil and minerals will be shared 75-25 between the BJE and the government.

According to the MOA, the core of the BJE covers the present geographic area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, including the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite.

The MOA said a plebiscite would be held to decide the possible inclusion of 735 barangays in Isabela City in Basilan, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao Norte, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay and Palawan.

Under the MOA, the BJE will also establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to the people under its jurisdiction.

“The parties agree that the BJE shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, inclusive of civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, necessary for developing a progressive Bangsamoro society, the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the Comprehensive Compact,” the MOA said.

The MOA said the BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries, provided that these alliances will not put the Philippines in conflict with other nations.

“Without prejudice to the right of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity to enter into agreement and environmental cooperation with any friendly country affecting its jurisdiction, it shall include the option to establish and open Bangsamoro trade missions in foreign countries with which it has economic cooperation agreements and the elements bearing in mind the mutual benefits derived from Philippine archipelagic status and security,” the MOA said.

It also stated that the Philippine government shall “take necessary steps to ensure the BJE’s participation in international meetings and events such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other specialized agencies of the United Nations.”

“This shall entitle the BJE’s participation in Philippine official missions and delegations that are engaged in the negotiation of border agreements and protocols for environmental protection, equitable sharing of incomes and revenues, in the areas of sea, seabed, and inland seas or bodies of water adjacent to or between islands forming part of the ancestral domain, in addition to those of fishing rights,” according to the MOA. – James Mananghaya/Philstar

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NEPAL’S NATIONALISTS BETTER NOT SQUANDER SCARCE OPPORTUNITY

June 6, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Nationalists are in power today in Nepal. Being a Filipino nationalist, I’d honestly say there is much cause to celebrate the Nepalese nationalist’s victory.

Here in my country, we Filipino nationalists have always been in the margins. No matter what efforts we do to create a modern nation-state, our efforts get stalled by the forces of the ancien regime (landlord-clergy classes) that dominate power in the economic, political and cultural domains in my country.

Nepal is in a very privileged position than the Philippines for that matter. The forces of the ancien regime, typified by the Monarch, were overthrown from power, by way of a parliamentary fiat that abolished the Kingship. Before that, a bloody war was waged by Maoists to forge a modern, secular society. 

All the major parties in power today—Congress, Marxists, Maoists—are harbingers of the Enlightenment principles of reason, liberty, brotherhood, and progress. Much like those liberal revolutionists of France and the USA in the 18th century, the Nepalese nationalists have smashed the old order and now have to face the formidable challenges ahead as they forge a modern nation-state with a modern economy and scientific culture.

The only competing forces in Nepal now are the nationalists themselves—the three parties concerned. True, ideological differences may be a barrier to their attainment of certain unities or consensus, but they are all united by a common cause of building a modern nation-state,  a cause that began with the demolition of the old order.

Sure, the challenges are very colossal, the tasks formidable. But what nation on Earth started  nationhood with its national life already served unto it like a lake of gold? Every nation started from down below, from rock bottom. From Cromwell’s modern England to Nepal’s post-monarchic states, the same narrative is the glaring truth: start from rock bottom, a nationalist revolution is no ‘tea party’.  

My country started in 1946 as an independent nation with a totally devastated economy. Manila, the jewel of the orient, was leveled back to the Stone Age by ceaseless carpet bombing to flash out the Japanese imperial forces in 1945. Agriculture, manufacturing and retail/wholesale trade were all flat on the ground. A communist insurgency was also brewing as the Cold War was starting.

And so the new Philippine nation had to start from the very scratch. It had to undertake an ambitious 3-year recovery to bring back the normal vibrance of the pre-war economy. Then, in 1948, it began the long road to industrialization, with the implementation of the new Economic Development Program. The Master Plan for Greater Manila Area (50-year plan) began implementation in 1949, which saw Manila’s recovery and expansion to the suburban areas where industries, residences, government offices, new universities, and new commercial centers were to rise and mark the dynamism of the new country.

It was so tough surmounting the gargantuan problems. There was the corruption that was seen in the implementation of the wartime recovery funds ($200 aid from the USA), squatting in Manila, communist insurgency arising, and the lack of technocrats (manpower) to undertake development planning to name a few. And there was landlordism that barred an effective land reform program to take off.

Amid the marginal state of nationalists’ influence and power, the new nation moved on and achieved results gradually. Much like the slow-moving carabao (water buffalo), the economy moved so slowly across the decades, yet it delivered the goods just the same. Because we nationalists are marginal here, it’s taking us a tough time to let the ‘rule of law’ permeate daily life, strengthen our institutions, construct definitive policy environments, and solve poverty.

Because the oligarchic/pro-colonial forces have been the ones in power since the start of the new Philippine republic, they kept on deterring change. Even our political parties here are no modern parties that are founded on solid ideology, but rather are platforms to advance the vested interests of leading political personalities.

Yes, the problems of nationhood are so gargantuan like what we’re going through in my country. But they can be solved. And many sympathetic forces around the world are there who can lend their support when necessary.

So, to our brother and sister Nepalese, most especially the modernist-nationalists, your chance to move up has come. Good luck to your efforts! You shall overcome!

[Writ 02 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

DON’T COUNT OUT NEPAL’S ROYALISTS, THEY’LL COUNTER-ATTACK!

June 6, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

The recent turn of events that saw the catastrophic devastation of the old order in Nepal should not be equated to the complete eradication of kingship. Any adroit observer of political dynamics knows that, in the founding of any modern nation-state, the forces of the deposed ancien regime will counter-attack sooner or later, with the option of a royal revival or equivalent being the top agenda.

Nation-building takes so much time to galvanize, more so for a new nation with a diversity of ethnic communities. Look at Canada, after so many decades of existence as a sovereign nation-state, there are still forces within it that want to separate from the republic. The Canadian nation is still being constructed till these days, this is the clear message of the Quebec separatist movement.

A century may not even suffice a time to build a new nation from out of formerly diverse ethnic communities, or after gaining independence from a colonial master. In the case of the USA, the southern landlords-slave owners represented the ancien regime that refused to go by the wave of the north’s modernist, anti-slavery, pro-industrialization path. The landlords opted to make war against the Union, and had they won, they could have gone back to the old days of bondage to the British Empire.

Till these days, the clash between the Unionists (nationalists) and Confederates (pro-British Empire & oligarchy) continues in the USA. Amid the galvanization there of a federation-wide American identity, the clash continues in the terrains of public policy and foreign affairs. Fact is, the victory of the neo-conservatives and realists in America—who kowtow to the whims of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy—point out to a subtle victory of the Confederate forces right inside Washington DC.  

In my own country, the landlord-clergy classes comprise the representatives of the ancien regime .Even before America left Manila in 1946, the landlords-clergy already pre-positioned themselves in society. The landlords eventually controlled both the Establishment political parties, thus effectively undercutting the possibility of a revolutionary agrarian program that could have jettisoned the country to mature industrialization as early as the late 1970s.

Till these days, patron-client relations remain strong in all spheres of Philippine life. Not even if the post-industrial society had already made inroads into Manila’s cultural and economic domains. The landlords are themselves the big capitalists, while the Church remains the biggest landlord oligarch of all, praise the Lords of the oligarchic houses!

Thus, in the Philippine case, the nationalists who represent the modernizing, Enlightenment-inspired trend remain in the margins. During the Cold War, the nationalists were demonized as Soviet agents and were chased out of state organs, chased in the hills as insurgents, locked up behind bars, tortured and killed. Till these days nationalists are marginalized here, this is the real situation in Manila.

So, fellows, please don’t count out the royalists of Nepal just yet. Even long after the present monarch (Gyanendra) is gone, pro-royalist fanatics will raise up arms against the prevailing regime, expect this to happen. It’s like the recycle of the Stuart revival in England, Bourbon revival in France, and the long struggle for a Bonapartist revival in the whole of Europe.

The modernists of Nepal (Congress, Marxists, Maoists) look like the Atuturk prototypes of Turkey of the nationalist halcyon days of post-Ottoman era. The problem for Nepal is that it has too many nationalist voices with nary  clear consensus on the compass of nationhood, while Ataturk forces were homogenous in mindset, vision, and agenda of economic development and governance for Turkey.

So no matter what overthrow plots the Caliphate’s loyalists want to mount in Turkey, they will fail. They have to ride by the modernist rules there, abide by the ‘rule of law’ of the Atuturk mindset. It’s been a century hence since the Caliphate’s overthrow,  so the chances for the Caliph’s fundamentalists to return Turkey to the superstitious ancien regime is too late a dream.

Again, to re-echo, please don’t count out Nepal’s royalists. They are watching closely the fractiousness of the Enlightenment parties (secular, modernist, socialistic) in Nepal. They will bide their time. They will regroup, silently organize and expand, build their logistical bases both within and outside of Nepal.

And then they will strike with sweeping zeal, like thousands of angry Himalayan tigers coming down upon their enemies. Whether they win or not is another question. They will come back for sure.

[Writ 02 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]