|Moros: JUETENG For
The Mindanao Conflict
Ethnic Cleansing In
After Abubakar's Fall: What?
Is Federalizing The
Republic The Solution To Mindanao?
Accommodation of a Bangsamoro Islamic Region
The Palestinian Intifada
A Muslim's prayer
Academy of Natural Sciences
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BUGS & BYTES 4th Quarter 2000 issue looks at the Moro's predicament at the close of the Year 2000 and beyond:
This issue is taking shape with the background of a protracted conflict in Muslim Mindanao, a conflict which flared up during the first half of the year 2000, fanned in no small amount by the Philippine government's all-out war policy to address the growing forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the kidnapping activities of the Abu Sayyaf. While the bombings and shellings have subsided for the moment, the conflict nevertheless continues to wreck havoc with the displacement of close to a million refugees, most of them Moros, from their homes and farmlands.
In the 4th Quarter 2000, the 'juetengate' controversy - the numbers game payoff scandal that now rages around the Philippine President Joseph Estrada, and threatens his very presidency - sparked a national sensation that relegated Mindanao to the backburner.
As the Filipino nation goes out to the streets, and starts an impeachment trial, to express its indignation and outrage about a president's alleged immoral ascendancy, 'jueteng' scandal money - to the tune of P200M - is traced to the President's Erap Muslim Youth Foundation, ostensibly to fund USA scholarships for the Moro youths so that they may come back someday to lead the deliverance of Muslim Mindanao from its present dire straits.
Great plan, if it is not a convenient alibi for outright money laundering! And even if it is not, how different is it from the same old plan used by the American colonizers of Mindanao in the early part of the 20th century, leading to the massive dispossession of the Moros and their subsequent marginalization in their own homeland?
This 'jueteng' money, if anything, is a reminder that the Mindanao problem remains unresolved even while the Philippines lurches from one crisis to another. When the howls, lashing and thunderbolts of Erap's impeachment storm shall have passed, Mindanao's intractable problems shall continue to haunt not only the peoples of Mindanao but the rest of the Philippines, with or without Erap.
Understanding The Conflict
The articles Understanding the Mindanao Conflict by Samuel Tan and Ethnic Cleansing in Mindanao by Fred Hill look deeper at the ills and grievances. Carol Arguillas' Sulu Saxophone depicts a sorry picture about recent government's responses to the problem.
Explaining Erap's B(ad) Movies by Said Sadain, Jr. is a Moro viewpoint of what is wrong about the Philippines and why Moros continue to aspire to be different.
After Abubakar's Fall: What? by Patricio Diaz, Federalizing the Republic... by Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and Constitutional Accommodation... by Soliman Santos, Jr. delve into some of the more creative and bold Filipino solutions for Mindanao. Nash Maulana's Mindanao Movements reports on some of the current stirrings among Moros and Mindanaoans to push the Bangsamoro self-determination issue toward a non-violent resolution.
But are there any takers? Judging by the recent national surveys about the Mindanao wars, the Filipino majority prefers to favor Estrada's all-out war policy: bomb and shell the hell out of the bad Moros, never mind that the bombs and shells are also killing the good Moros; the good Moros will just have to endure.
And this is supposed to be the kinder policy. Some Filipinos would not even recognize that there are good, upright Moros.
Are Moros, after the bombings and shellings, then going to accept that the Philippines can give them no better than 'jueteng' for deliverance? Will some of them continue to take up arms to resist the better-equipped military forces of the Philippine government? Will some of them continue to sell their souls to patronage politics or hope for miracles within the Philippine socio-political process for salvation? Will most of them continue to be patient and will they simply endure the iniquities cast upon them?
We take a leap from Mindanao to the Middle East with The Palestinian Intifada by Zafar Bangash. Notwithstanding the physical and historical distances between the two situations, there are nevertheless disturbing lessons and parallelism to be gleaned here:
When hope gives way to despair in the shadow of the continuing failures of government, liberation movements and civil society to embrace a workable solution to the conflict, and in view of the fact that realities on the ground are being methodically altered by Israeli settlers (to the detriment of the Palestinians) as much as by the Filipino settlers (to the detriment of the Bangsamoro people), the Palestinian intifada may just be the future face of Mindanao. If it is not yet already worse.
Where to now, the Bangsamoro, into the 21st Century?
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