- The Government (GRP) acknowledges it
made a mistake in the 2000 all out war by providing for reparations
and rehabilitation as contained in recent agreements with the MILF.
- The GRP has trusted the MILF to lead
in such mentioned "confidence-building measures" albeit the
intervention of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as the
implementing and accounting body.
- The GRP realizes that tagging
"revolutionary movements" as terrorists is not helpful. The
President has repeatedly clarified the difference between the MILF
and other terrorist groups.
- Critics of the agreements, mostly
rightists in Congress, warn of giving MILF control of development
funds that may be used instead for their military upkeep. The
hullabaloo (as Fr. Jun Mercado puts it) is lacking in historical
context. On June 21, 2001, the GRP-MILF signed the Tripoli Agreement
on IMPLEMENTING guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation, and
Development Aspects on Peace of 2001. Like the GRP-MNLF agreements
on the SPCPD and ARMM, such transactions are in recognition of the
peace process. By legal implication, the said GRP-MILF agreement
binds the contracting parties. And if one party violates the terms
of an agreement, then such is to be accorded legal sanctions. At the
moment, all the uproar on the return of MILF camps is speculative.
- Dubbing it an "early exercise in
self-determination," lawyer Soliman Santos sees the recent "special"
agreements in accordance with local commitments to international law
with respect to humanitarian intervention in internal armed
conflict. The Philippines, he says, has ratified a number of
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Instruments" but it has not
passed corresponding national legislation.
"It is to the credit of the negotiators
of both sides of the recent GRP-MILF agreements that they have
availed of the tools of international law, particularly IHL to
address the humanitarian problems of evacuees and communities in
conflict-affected areas," Santos said in the article "The Recent
MILF Agreements, Belligerency Status, International Law and the
- There only seems to be wariness over
the lack of transparency in coming up with the agreements. Civil
society groups such as the Mindanao Tri-People Caucus reminded the
President that the said agreements must have the "general support of
the community, in particular the Mindanaons, for it to be effective
- The agreements are not clear and
substantial as to political structures that would confront the
self-determination issue. But the test for self-governance has to
start somewhere and need to be taken in steps. Rehabilitation and
joint operations with government against criminal elements is a
small but a substantial start The MILF has drawn lessons from the
Moro National Liberation Front compromising an "armless" autonomy in
the past. The MILF will want to prove it can build communities on
its own not really for government’s satisfaction but for the people
who they ultimately represent.