MOA on ancestral domain meant to fail–communist leader

By Veronica Uy
First Posted 11:19:00 08/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Self-exiled Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison said the unsigned Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was meant to fail because it was “too good and too generous to be true.”

Upon reading the document, which was to have been signed in Malaysia, Sison said: “I thought immediately that the contents which appeared to recognize and concretize the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination and ancestral domain were too good and too generous to be true.”

“The MOA was so contrary to the greedy and brutal character of the GRP [government of the Republic of the Philippines], whose presumptions and actuations I have long known in the course of revolutionary struggle and the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” said Sison, who now carries the title chief political consultant of the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines, in an e-mail sent to media Friday.

Sison called for a united action and cooperation between the MILF and the NDFP.

“The pretense at generosity is full of malice. It is calculated to outwit and outflank the MILF and the Bangsamoro and to facilitate frontal military attacks against them. They are being left no choice but to wage revolutionary struggle in order to advance their cause of national self-determination. There is a heightened need for the unity, cooperation of the MILF and the NDFP in their distinct and common concerns and causes against the same adversaries,” he said.

Sison accused the government of insincerity in getting the MOA-AD signed. He said that if the government were sincere about granting Moros the right to self-determination, it would have released the document to the public way before the signing for more discussions on the issues contained in the MOA.

“It was almost predictable that the signing of the MOA would be aborted. The public release of the draft only a few days before the date of signing was clearly meant to stir up a controversy big enough to cause the abortion,” he said.

The communist in exile echoed the concerns of the opposition that the MOA-AD was a “sneaky” way for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to effect Charter change so that she could extend her term beyond 2010.

At the same time, Sison accused the United States, together with Japan and Australia, of trying to ingratiate itself to the MILF so that it could exploit its human and natural resources if and when a peace agreement has been finalized.

“It is obvious that the US has been out to sidle up to and ingratiate itself with the MILF and the Bangsamoro in order to further strengthen its position in exploiting the human and natural resources of the Bangsamoro and deploying US military forces in Mindanao,” he said.

Sison said that under the direction of the US State Department, the US Institute of Peace has been busy in carrying out the Philippine Facilitation Project since 2003 in order to help produce a document like the MOA.

To the MILF, Sison said, the MOA could be used as a standard or minimum for negotiating with the government. To the government, it can be used to put off the formal peace talks which would have followed immediately after the signing of the agreement.

“Unilaterally or in cahoots with the GRP, the US can use the high expectations raised by the MOA among the MILF and Bangsamoros to justify US military presence and advance US hegemony in Mindanao,” he said.

He warned that the document would be used “as a device of pretended generosity” to advance the government and the United States’ public standing.

This in turn will “prolong GRP-MILF informal talks and ceasefire and to deploy larger US and Philippine military forces against the MILF and the Bangsamoro,” he said.

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