Omen for 2018!

Nobody knows what is in the future. In the past, the future was only known through prophesies given to prophets. Today, there are no more real prophets, only false prophets. In spite of this, some aspects of the future can be still known by men. On the basis of solid and scientific analysis on current situation, some people can rightly predict the future. For Muslims, however, even if they are certainly sure of what happens next, they still look up to the Great Creator the ultimate cause of things. This is the reason they always say at the end of what they think would happen the remarks, Insha Allah (If Allah will!).

Days prior to the coming of 2018, violence marred what otherwise was a joyful days for reveller of the New Year. Fighting broke down between members of the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the military. A total of 421 families of Indigenous Peoples — Tedurays, Lambiangans and Dulangan Manobos —fled their homes following a series of attacks by the BIFF shortly before Christmas. Both incidents happened in the province of Maguindanao. In Marawi City, evacuees are still jampacked in evacuation centres or in makeshift houses. Relate these to the persistent reports of foreign-looking individuals arriving in Basilan and Sulu and the uncertainty facing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. Include the conflict between China and the Philippines in South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. Surely, the image formed in our mind is not wholesome.

But the above is half the image. We need to look at the other half to complete the image.

The other half, of course, are the good things that happened in 2017 such as the improving Philippine economy, the successful war on drugs despite the bloody part of it, and the curbing of graft and corruption in government.

Overall, what is the real image or what do we expect in 2018?

Clearly, what lies ahead is not a paved road. It is still full of twists and turns.

Anent all these, the most logical action would be by government is really to be serious in addressing the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people. A flip-flopping statement can only harden the stances of those opposing the BBL and soften the heart of those supporting itZFor the greater majority of the Philippine populations, the real challenge is how to overcome hatred, biases, and prejudices against the Moros in Mindanao, which negatively affects the decisions of those who are involved in policy matters vis-à-vis Moros and BBL.

For Moros, they should and must continue to work for their unity untiringly and without let-up. This is the only way they can get themselves strong. For their leaders, they should think less for themselves but more for the incoming generations of Moros.

Finally, all must conclude that the only way forward is to close ranks and solve our problems together. The enmity of the past is past and we are now in the 21st century, the age of democracy and Islamic revivalism.