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First Quarter 2000

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Ghost Town (a B&B collage from Reuters photos)
Gone To The Movies

The Choice Is Ours
by Prof. Rudy B. Rodil

Gone To The Movies
(Mindanao Series III) by Said Sadain, Jr.

Evelio Javier, EDSA's Sacrificial Lamb
by Freda Contreras

Headscarf
by Alia Zaldarriaga

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Cinematic Solutions

All indications point out to the heightening of tensions. And while there is hope to be gleaned in the continuing backroom peace efforts between the government and the MILF, that hope is all but lost with the realization that government for its part, in the person of President Estrada, is more interested in the capitulation of the MILF rather than a recognition of the valid grievances of the Moro people. The fact that the earlier agreement with the MNLF is on the verge of failure, if not already one big failure, only shows just how far off the mark the government is, in trying to resolve this conflict. Never mind the pitiable (and very laughable, if not for its grim implications) Erap statement: ‘It’s June or never’.

Following the 1996 MNLF Peace Agreement breakthrough, the greatest mistake of the government was to implement a traditional solution that had already failed many times in the past: that of trying to give dole-outs to MNLF ‘returnees’ and Moro politicians in an effort at integrating the MNLF into its ranks. The effort was never followed up by adequate handholding to ensure that the MNLF-ARMM governance would successfully implement programs of development for Mindanao.

Was it deliberate or was it just a lack of imagination?

Far from fulfilling the expectation that this implementation will eventually lead to the disintegration of an armed Moro resistance, the dashed hopes that had been previously raised so high only lead to the strengthening of an MILF that promises more of the same conflict. The grievances and the agitation remain the same. The potential for trouble and bloodletting remains the same. The same stakes for a struggling country remain the same. The same abyss, the same tragic fate await as before.

And if government has now reached a point of bankruptcy that can only bluster with a one-liner ultimatum: ‘June or never’, and a cinematic solution of arming civilians to defend their homes, what else can be done?

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