Why was President Benigno Aquino III silent on peace processes with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in his 95 paragraphs, 56 minutes State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on July 25? Does this deafening silence imply he has no policies on the two sovereignty-based struggles?
It cannot be that government has no policy on such important issues that rocked this country for decades. But policies can be written or unwritten --- having no policy is also policy. But normal mind always does thing systematically.
MindaNews quoted Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles as saying “both major tables are in sensitive, complex stage at this time. But something will unfold soon.” On his part, Lawyer Marvic Leonen, chair of the government peace panel in the negotiations with the MILF, said: “Everything done for good government and accountability provides context for government’s peace initiatives.”
Well, we don’t assign malice on their statements; first, they are full of technicalities whose meanings are only known to the speakers; second, we do not know what is in the mind of the government; and third, they are whose clout and credibility are demeaned if they are taken for granted in the public. Leonen, especially, enjoys a good level of credibility with the MILF.
But the natural meaning of silence in this particular instance is that the government wants both peace processes kept out of the public consciousness, which is laden with dangers, gauging from the lessons learned from the debacle of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). The alleged lack of consultation was one of main reasons why the Supreme Court shot down the MOA-AD as “unconstitutional”.
Aquino’s silence on the twin revolutionary struggles is worse than his phrase “sitwasyon sa Mindanao” in his first SONA on July 27, 2010. Definitely, it is a drawback. The explanations of government’s apologists would not amount to anything. In the public perception, the two peace talks are not in the real radar of the state, which might embolden both the MILF and NDF into increasing pressures on the government including military to get the attention of the current dispensation.