There is no substitute for unity, yes, but if it has to succeed, it must emanate from amongst the very people themselves who suffer from the pangs of disunity. Or the initiative must come from a neutral, friendly or sympathetic organization or party. Any initiative coming from the rank of the adversary is always suspect, and in no way it can generate interests or response from any Moro or group who is worthy of respect. It will be doomed right at the start. The reason for this is simple: an adversary is always an adversary and it will never work nor desire for the good of the other party.
We admit that there is some level of disunity in the ranks of the Bangsamoro people, as there are amongst the Filipino people. There are groups and factions even in the ranks of those who claimed to be fighting for the “liberation” of our people. But this disunity is not so crippling that as if it could perish our people at once. Majority of our people are not at war with each other. And more importantly, the MILF is recognized by majority of our people in Mindanao.
On the other hand, the disunity of the Filipinos is really serious. How many groups, factions, or parties which are not seeing eye to eye with each other? How many coup attempts mounted against the presidency since 1986? How many presidents already toppled? Are not killings and other forms of feud common in many parts of Central Luzon and the Visayas?
The difference is that our people have little capability or none at all to determine the turn of events in this country; on the contrary, the power-holders in this country are using the disunity, say of the MILF and MNLF, as tool of counter-insurgency.
We cannot understand why the Aquino administration has to “burden” the MILF in factoring in of the MNLF in the GPH-MILF peace negotiation. It is none of the MILF’s business to attain to this problem; it is the responsibility of the government to fix this; after all the GRP-MNLF Final Agreement of 1996 has been implemented and most of the MNLF leaders are in government already and their combatants integrated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Police.
We want to fix what little differences with our brothers in MNLF amongst ourselves, in the spirit of brotherhood and fair play. As a matter of fact, we want to pursue vigorously what we signed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18, 2010 which provided, among other matters, for the creation of a coordinating council composed of representatives from the MNLF, MILF, and other Moro groups in Mindanao. This council makes important decisions and coordinates activities of member organizations. The good thing here is that it is being initiated by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), a pan-Islamic body untainted by any suspicion of partiality.
We can work with our brothers in the MNLF or any other groups in pursuit of the genuine interests and aspiration of our people. After all, in this struggle, there is nothing personal; and as long as everybody Moro leader holds this as paramount, there is little to solve.