“Is the quest for Mindanao and Sulu Independence legal?
“Yes it is legal – as long as our movement is peaceful and non-violent.
“The legal bases for the Movement for a Federal Republic of Mindanao and Sulu are the Philippine Constitution and the Charter of the United Sulu are the Philippine Constitution and the Charter of the United Nation.
“First – The Philippine Constitution provides the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.
“If so, then the Philippines adopt or respect the Charter of the United Nations. And in that Charter to which the Philippines is one of the signatories, the UN urges all member nations:
“1. To recognize the principle that the interests of inhabitants are paramount;
2. To ensure among others their political advancement; and
3. To develop self-government of take account of political aspirations of the people and assist them in the development of their free political institutions.
“Which means that we are free to state and promote the idea of establishing an independent Federal of Mindanao and sub-provided, of course, that in so doing we do not advocate an armed struggle or the violent overthrow of the Philippine government.” (ONE PEOPLE MINDANAO, Federal Republic of MINDANAO Primer, 2006)
A No Federal Scenario during the term of President Duterte could have possibly terrible consequences to our people and country. One of these terrible consequences is the revival of the One People Mindanao (OPM) movement whose ultimate goal is the secession of Mindanao from the Republic of the Philippines. (See our previous article titled: One People Mindanao: Revisited” recently published in this Newspaper).
One anti-dote for Mindanao secession is Federalism according to former Regional Assemblyman Reuben Canoy. The other anti-dote is what yours truly is proposing which is the adoption of a Constitutional provision creating a third autonomous region in the Philippines covering part of Mindanao outside of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). This connotes the continuous existence of the Unitary System of government in our country despite a Charter Change. I would like to call this Plan “A” anent Constitution Reform in the Philippines.
Aside from the above suggestion, Plan “A” would likewise include the following:
1. Strengthening of our political parties system.
2. Liberalizing our economy to attract more Foreign Direct Investment in the country.
3. Adopting of a Modified Social Market Economic System to ensure social safety nets, social security and social equity in our society.
4. Strengthening of our Local Government Units (LGUs). This includes guarantee of non-abolish of any existing LGUs.
Frankly, even if President Duterte weakens his position anent Constitutional Reform through this compromising Plan “A”, there is still no assurance that three fourth of the new Senate membership will agree to pursue Constitutional Reform during Pres. Duterte’s term due to their personal political interests. If the probability of Cha-Cha becomes nil within 2020, then Plan “B” on Cha-cha becomes a very viable option. (See our recent article titled “Plan ‘B’ for Federalism published also in this newspaper).
For the benefit of our readers, allow me to reprint below part of our Plan “B” article:
“Our military, being the “protector of our people”, is now fully aware that the time has come to save our people and country from unabated corrupt bureaucracy that breeds widespread dehumanizing poverty, perpetuates our longest insurgency in the whole world, rampant buying and selling of votes during elections, sustained smuggling and pushing of illegal drugs in the country that destroy many Filipino lives, continuous regulatory control of our economy by Filipino imperialists, messy political party system and an unresponsive 1987 Constitution to the needs of the times, among other problems besetting us.
“Unfortunately, we cannot depend on Congress to undertake an honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform. Why? Due to two valid reasons namely: 1) Three-fourth votes even in the new Senate as required by our Constitution for amendment or revision of our present Charter cannot be attained: and 2) Selfish political interests prevail at the House of Representatives. Let’s not also discount the possibility of filibustering of anti-Duterte members of Congress to stop Charter Change.
“Thus, the only viable option left is our Plan “B” which calls for a more radical approach to an honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform through the Exercise of “Direct Democracy” by the Filipino people either via People Mandated Revolutionary Government (RevGov) or Expanded People Initiative (EPI) with President Duterte’s leadership style and political will, and full support of our military to heal our terribly sick Philippine society.
We would also like to point out that the success or failure of PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago Parties in their pursuit of Constitutional Reform has positive or negative repercussions in the 2022 Presidential elections. An honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform within the term of Pres. Duterte means more votes for the 2022 administration bets and vice versa, December 2019 should be the deadline for Congress to dance the Chacha under Plan A. “Pag wala pa,” let’s go for Plan “B” in 2020.