I googled my name and this is one of those that came out. Philippine Star columnist Carmen Pedrosa quoted me again in her column of Feb 1. 2015. I did not know about it. First time I’ve read it. I refrained from giving public comments regarding the Mamasapano / BBL issues yet she practically gave one for me. This is the lower half of Pedrosa’s column on Feb. 1, 2015:
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At the same time that we deplore the tragedy in Mamasapano, we must not lose sight on how we can achieve peace and find a solution to the Mindanao problem.
Norodin Alonto Lucman, a moderate who fought the Marcos dictatorship with Christian freedom fighters writes of his fears on a collision course between the Bangsamoro people and the people of Luzon. This must never happen. I share his fears as this indeed can happen in a hostile atmosphere generated by a misunderstanding of the real problem on hand. The Muslims and Christians can live together peacefully and it does not matter whether you are from Luzon or Mindanao. The Philippines is one country and all of us people it.
I cannot forget what another Muslim scholar Jamal Ashley Abbas told me once “the only way to solve the problem is when all of us, Filipinos come together as one, bound as we are by our colonial struggle in the past that gave rise to present difficulties.”
I am glad that Lucman has made this appeal. It is for all level-headed citizens to take heed.
As my friend, Dr. Michael Mastura said the US has an obligation to resolve the Moro question because it was responsible for creating the mess in the first place. He blames it for incorporating Moroland, an independent entity as part of the Philippines.
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Do we have a president who understands such nuances of the problem? I am against the BBL or MILF’s substate proposal awaiting the approval of Congress because it is unconstitutional. I think the term is unfortunate. As I have said many times in this column there is a difference between cultivating autonomy on a federalist principle and creating federal states. There are various ways of applying the principle towards achieving a federated structure. It will take time, years, even decades. It will start with changing the anti-people 1987 Constitution to convert to a parliamentary federal government. But since this change is being resisted by the Aquino government how is it going to be started?
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Datu Jamal Ashley Yahya Abbas in a paper wrote on “GRP-MILF as quests for identity” during the Arroyo administration. He writes that it is a mistake to look at the problem as if it were about the Muslims alone. His perspective for a solution includes non-Muslims, more so of Christians, colonized then and now.
“This paper will attempt to show that the Filipinos’ quest for identity and peace should be pursued together, for only a clear and comprehensive understanding of the Christian Filipinos’ quest for identity and the Moros’ desire to reclaim their sovereign identity separate from the rest of the Filipinos, can there be true peace in the land. And only a thorough understanding of history by all parties can bring about the needed change.”
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He then makes a difficult but logical leap. “To achieve peace in Mindanao, there must be a clamor by the population. For that to happen, the average Filipino must understand the real circumstances surrounding the issue. They must understand the motivations behind every group. And to understand the real issues, one must go back to history.”
Yahya Abbas recommends reading history to understand how the Moro mess happened. Both Christians and Moros should resolve it themselves through their common bond in their fight against colonialism. He admits we have no reliable resources since our history has been written for us by Spaniards, Americans and colonial Filipinos.
Therefore if our quest for peace is our quest for identity, we will have to do more than follow the bidding of former colonialists in hotel rooms outside the country.
P.S. Looks like Ms. Pedrosa quoted me several times more: See
New life for constitutional reform! FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 5, 2014 – 12:00am
No one owns land ‘forever’ FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 9, 2013 – 12:00am