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By Atty. Taipan Millan

One Small Voice

Thursday, April 3, 2014

FIRST, there was the MNLF, then there was a splinter group called the MILF. The MNLF eventually entered into a peace agreement with the government, then the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was created by law, while the MILF continued its war for independence.

Second, there was the MILF, then there was a splinter group called the BIFF. The MILF recently entered into a peace agreement with the government, then a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will be created by law subject to ratification by plebiscite, while the BIFF will continue its war for independence.

Third, there was still the MNLF and new splinter groups of the MNLF also named MNLF. The original group, not so long ago, launched a blitzkrieg attack in one southern city, but ended up with a bungled siege. The others, at one time or another, elected or selected their very own set of officers or leaders, but they no longer appear to be interested in any battle.


Now, what do we do with all these four-letter groups?

To be sure, the MNLF already had its chance. Without a doubt, it already lost its opportunity. This refers to all the MNLF groups. They are all back to where they started but had lost all their firepower. There is just no more fire. There is just no more power.

As for the BIFF, as they have chosen armed struggle over peace talks, as they have opted for a separate state instead of self-rule, as they have refused negotiations and prefer fights to the deaths, then they will get not what they really want but what they really deserve.

As for the MILF, as they rose above the disputes to find a common ground, as they went beyond the differences to realize a shared dream, as they accepted their being citizens of one and the same country and no longer insisted on their becoming nationals of a distinct state, then they deserve the chance and the opportunity to try to make things work for the good of all.

The executive branch did all that it could to save what can be saved, to take what can be taken and to give what can be given. Of course there are still doubts. Of course there may also be errors, mistakes and blunders. Of course there may also be painful but necessary concessions. All these are part of the price that we all have to pay.

It is now the turn of the legislative branch to do what it could to save, to take and to give. Of course it is not expected to cut and paste what the executive branch has saved, has taken or has given. Of course it is entitled to its own analysis, opinion and judgment. Of course it is allowed to write its own version of the story - of what peace should be, of how peace should be, of where peace should be and of when peace should be. All these are within the confines of their mandate, discretion and authority.

It will be the turn of the judicial branch, if and when in the future the matter is brought to them for interpretation, to be the final arbiter of all the whats, hows, wheres and whens. All these are under their jurisdiction.

But can peace really attained through a declaration of policy, through the provisions of a bill or through a ruling in a case?

Maybe. Maybe not. Nobody knows for sure. What is sure, to be sure, is that whoever has a better idea of attaining peace should have already raised it at any time in the last half century when hundreds of thousands of our people were brutalized by the wrath of war and its collateral damage, injury and suffering.

Obviously, nobody had a better idea. We were at war for half a century.
So, now, let us all give this peace a chance and let us all turn this chance into an opportunity. The executive branch has led the way. The legislative branch must follow suit. The judicial branch must confirm both.

This is just not the time to be divergent.

Comments are most welcome. Please send them to onesmallvoice2014@gmail.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 04, 2014.


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