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The Bangsamoro (Sub)State: Its Identity, Nature, Struggle and Movement

Organiser:
Nassef Manabilang Adiong
Co-IRIS and Middle East Technical University
info@nassef-m-adiong.com

Chair:
Prof Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol
Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
chancellor@g.msuiit.edu.ph

 

Panel Abstract

Palestinian Question has dominated discourses on self-determination, homeland, independence (emancipation), nationalism, etc. The primal aim of this proposal is to put forward studies and literatures concentrating on Bangsamoro in mainstream academia and orient by hoping to instill interest to students, researchers, teachers, and practitioners alike. This panel is composed of four paper presenters, excluding the chair/discussant, whose families belong to the Bangsamoro (or members of Muslim ethnic communities). Mr. Adiong will discuss the geopolitics and the utilization of the BATNA approach in the peace negotiation. Mr. Arobinto will present a case under the literature on the relations between politics and religion, and that is, highlighting the participation and/or influence of the ulama (Muslim scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law) in political affairs and public policies of the government, especially concerning the Bangsamoro people. Prof. Dr. Tanggol argues for a serious consideration of federalism by the Philippine Government, the Bangsamoro, and other stakeholders, as a political formula to finally put to rest the seemingly-perennial Bangsamoro question. And finally, Ms. Halud will explore options for the country’s peace negotiators according to the framework of transitional justice without having to erode our confidence in the validity of world’s existing collective political struggles.

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Paper 1: Question of Bangsamoro: Its Geopolitical Issue Areas and the BATNA Approach on GRP-MILF Peace Process

Nassef Manabilang Adiong
Co-IRIS and Middle East Technical University
info@nassef-m-adiong.com

This study examines the intricate geopolitics of the Bangsamoro problem cognizant to how the ‘Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement’ (BATNA), as a theoretical approach, will be operationalized to give an earmarked suggestion for both parties (Government of the Philippines or GPH and Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF) to forged a final comprehensive compact agreement that will hopefully pave the way for the socio-economic development among the peoples of Mindanao (Muslims, Christians and Lumads), especially those located in conflicted areas and considered as Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs. In to-to, the paper will focus on two phases: Firstly, presenting the geopolitical issues that made their aspirations legitimate and rebel against the government, and secondly, how BATNA may provide incremental ideas in the course of the negotiation process.

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Paper 2: The Voice of the Ulama on the Bangsamoro Struggle

Raison Dimaampao Arobinto
University of the Philippines
rdarobinto@gmail.com

This paper focuses on the voice of the local religious leaders (Ulama) on the Bangsamoro struggle in the Philippines. Several studies have shown that Ulama rank on top in trust rating by the people in their respective communities. It is on this light that the theory on Ulama’s levels of involvements beyond religious and moral duties was developed. This theory examines the participation of the Ulama in various aspects of societal dynamics such as the impacts of their actions to influence the Philippine political system.  Responding in the urgency to mainstream the participation of the Ulama on the Bangsamoro issues, the paper will deliver the following objectives: to present the current position of the Ulama in the Bangsamoro Struggle; to shed light on the participation of the Ulama in the political affairs; and to measure the knowledge of the Ulama on various peace agreements between the Philippine Government and MNLF/MILF as part of the Bangsamoro endeavours for self-determination and independence. The significance of this study is the realization of the people involved on the issues involving the Bangsamoro people and how Ulama have responded and continue to respond on issues related to peace and development in Southern Philippines. To accomplish the objectives, the researcher conducted a survey research to the Ulama in Metro Manila, which represent their communities in their respective place. To support the result of the study, the researcher added a structured in-depth key-informant interview (KII) with selected Ulama members.

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Paper 3: Between Autonomy and Independence: Is Federalism the Answer to the Bangsamoro Question in the Philippines?

Prof Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol
Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
chancellor@g.msuiit.edu.ph  

The Bangsamoro Question has been a persistent problem facing the Philippine Government. Various political solutions were proposed and tried and a series of peace negotiations were held between the Government of the Philippines and the Muslim groups fighting for self-determination, with the help of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and active involvement of Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. While Muslim demand mediated between independence and genuine autonomy, the Philippine Government could only grant or promise various forms of regional autonomy. Meanwhile, federalism has been suggested as an appropriate formula that would address Muslim self-rule without tampering with the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Philippine state. This paper explores the option of federalism as a theoretical mean between autonomy and independence; revisits the relevant discourse, initiatives, and issues within the Philippine polity regarding the federal option and the Bangsamoro issue; and analyzes its implications for Philippine politics and governance, as well as the OIC and the ASEAN. This paper builds on the previous researches and publications of the author on the Bangsamoro question; relies on secondary materials and documents; and draws insights from interviews with key informants, including experts, parties to the peace negotiations, civil society organizations, private sector representatives and international observers like the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT). This paper argues for a serious consideration of federalism by the Philippine Government, the Bangsamoro, and other stakeholders, as a political formula to finally put to rest the seemingly- perennial Bangsamoro question.

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Paper 4: Transitional Justice: Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Southern Philippines.

Leila Asani Halud
University of the Philippines- Diliman
leigh.halud@gmail.com   

The turn of events in North and South Sudan makes Mindanao conflict the longest running one on earth. Much has been discussed about the human and social costs of conflict but mechanisms to prevent these escape the range of national commitment albeit peace negotiations are in place. The region remains impoverished and pockets of resistance still persist. The academic community has to ask the question why because the conflict continues to claim lives from both the government forces and minoritized group – the Bangsamoro people. Another important question begging to be answered — do we really need to rely on third party intervention? The most recent incident, the Zamboanga Siege, that occurred in September 2013 is one of the serious indications that, first, there is a failure to set up mechanisms to address historical injustices, which includes the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Second, there is a vacuum in the aspect of reconciliation. The gap between the contrasting narratives of the Philippine state and of the minorities left a void, where both clash when they are supposed to reconcile if the state is to ensure fuller integration of the Filipino nation as well genuine self-determination for the Bangsamoro people. This paper will explore options for the country’s peace negotiators according to the framework of transitional justice without having to erode our confidence in the validity of world’s existing collective political struggles.