Finally Malacanang admitted there are flaws in Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) which could have been signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Malaysia last August 5, 2008. Not unless these should be addressed properly, Malacanang will not sign the agreement. Press secretary Dureza said that the government will instead seek to renegotiate the agreement with the MILF.
But as far as Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita is concerned, the government will not push for a renegotiation of the flawed MOA-AD. The government would rather have it reviewed first. The review is necessary in the light of continuing violence in done by the MILF in Mindanao. And that the Solicitor General had to inform the Supreme Court that the government is no longer interested to pursue with the agreement due to critical views and the atrocities committed by the MILF to innocent civilians in Lanao Provinces, Sarangani, and North Cotabato.
Critics said the MOA-AD, which would have expanded the autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao, deal was unconstitutional. If signed and approved in a plebiscite, it could have granted the MILF nearly all the elements of an independent state where Muslims exercise wider economic and political powers. They will also be entitled to 75/25 sharing of wealth from exploitation of natural resources. And this is not acceptable to a greater majority of the Filipinos.
Because of the government decision not to pursue with the accord anymore, some MILF field commanders got frustrated and started attacking and killing civilians to pressure Malacanang into signing the deal.
But the chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Al Haj Murad Ebrahim warned Wednesday that hostilities in some parts of Mindanao could escalate into a full-blown war if the military and Moro rebels do not arrive at a ceasefire agreement.
This comes when Malacanang offered 10 million pesos for the capture of two MILF field commanders who lead in attacking various villages and municipalities in the provinces of Lanao, Sarangani, and North Cotabato. Scores of civilians have wounded and massacred in those MILF attacks.
The MILF chief said their peace negotiators are aware that it would take constitutional amendment for the agreement to become binding. He warned that using constitutional process to “water down” on the agreement that had been worked on for the past 10 years is unacceptable to the MILF. The recent massacre of civilians, burning of houses, and looting of their properties only shows the growing frustrations of the MILF on the scrapping of the MOA-AD.
He also cautioned the government that while the Muslims could not speak with their mouth they speak with the barrel of their guns. However the army chief vowed for strong military action against the rebels.