Biyernes, Pebrero 6, 2015

Denying the Bangsamoro of their right to self-determination means denying peace

6 February 2015

Statement on the Mamasapano Battle

SANLAKAS fully supports all progressively principled and meaningful solutions to achieve a lasting peace for Mindanao directly related to the Bangsamoro Question. Any such measures aimed at resolving this national question must be based on concretely attaining real social justice for the oppressed Bangsamoro nation. Achieving this will be a strategic answer to a centuries-old dilemma that has haunted the Philippine State.

Tensions once more rose on January 25, 2015 in the aftershock of a bloody battle in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. It reportedly resulted in the deaths of 44 policemen of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police (SAF-PNP) and 18 fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF); scores of civilians and non-combatants were also killed in the crossfire, with many others wounded. Likewise, the spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement-Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFM-BIFF) claimed that its own fighters also battled with the same composite SAF unit. In this very tragic aftermath, SANLAKAS expresses its sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to all the families and loved ones of the protagonists who lost their lives in Mindanao’s latest, but avoidable carnage.

The Bangsamoro people have long suffered gross and untold historic injustices since the US occupation and at the hands of the Philippine State led by its elite. As a result, not a few Bangsamoro have taken up arms to resist and fight back. And they do so to shape their own national future as a nation. In this regard, therefore, it is now totally imperative that the historically-oppressed peoples of the Bangsamoro homeland be allowed to collectively express, and to rightfully determine their own national aspirations as a free and sovereign people.

SANLAKAS believes that for peace to be achieved in Mindanao, the Bangsamoro people’s right to self-determination must be respected and recognized. Their struggle is no different from our nation’s struggle under centuries of colonial subjugation, against the tyranny of the Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers. Thus, Filipinos should be in the best position to understand that there can be no genuine peace if there is no social justice, that peace would remain an elusive ideal when entire nations and oppressed ethno-cultural communities are deprived of their right to determine their own destinies. We, therefore, cannot become colonizers of the Bangsamoro people by refusing and denying them what previous generations of Filipinos steadfastly fought and died for, that is – the right to self-determination.

However, the current national political situation is one that is sharply alarming. It starkly reflects the direct outcome of the Battle in Mamasapano. Rabid war proponents and right-wing tendencies are already exploiting the situation for maximum explosive effect upon the Filipino national psyche to trigger yet another terribly devastating ‘All-out War’ against the Bangsamoro nation.

In recent public pronouncements by these reactionary spoilers of the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF, they now want the so-called Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the lynchpin instrument for an acceptable peace earlier approved by the MILF’s Central Committee, to be junked. While they earlier criticized the GPH-MILF peace process, specifically the BBL, on constitutional grounds, they now want it totally scrapped in reaction to the unfortunate loss of the 44 SAF troops.


Yet amidst all this confused tension, the interventionist maneuvers and ploys of the US persist. America’s openly expressed role in the Philippines is to directly assist Philippine state security forces in the latter’s fight against international terrorism, as clearly witnessed in the aftermath of the Mamasapano Battle. On this front, Washington’s intrusion is fundamentally linked to its geostrategic agenda to secure and dominate access to Asia’s vast and fast-growing regional economic markets via political-security means. This is chiefly aimed at the current survival of America’s own capitalist-imperialist system after the near-collapse of Wall Street on September 15, 2008, plus the global capitalist system’s ensuing crisis. Thus, it is centrally focused on pre-positioning US military forces across bases within the region to protect American profits and interests, but under the pretext of fighting international terrorism in collaboration with its puppet states.

In this setting, American strategic interests intend to transform Mindanao, including the Bangsamoro homeland, into a forward projection base akin to a globally-extended dagger. This ‘American dagger’ will be aimed (externally) at its top regional rival, China; although its real intentions of doing so will be hidden from public view. Yet at the same time, it will also be targeted (internally) on “international terrorist targets”, as repeatedly stated in public. This latter justification is now used to veil America’s primary covert intentions in order for it to use Mindanao as a major base of operations for its flanking maneuvers against Beijing. Through this approach, the US can readily take full advantage of its relations with both the PNoy Regime and the MILF and thus, be in a position to exploit greater political leverage and economic gains from both. For as long as American imperialism’s regional scheme to counter China is secured, the outcome of the Philippine State’s peace process with the Bangsamoro would not matter much to the US.

For now, America’s presence in our country still reflects its post-9/11 ‘Global War of Terror’ legacy. It is precisely this militarist aspect of US imperialism’s aggressive worldwide thrust which the PNoy Regime has eagerly invited and consciously welcomed onto Philippine soil. And it is Mindanao which has already become a major battleground for US imperialism’s unfolding shadow war throughout the area. Alas, our country is now reaping what MalacaƱang has so earnestly sowed.


Another war is definitely not in the interests of both the Filipino and Bangsamoro working classes and poor masses who will stand to suffer the most. We must shudder at the thought of mothers losing their sons and daughters, of families torn apart, of homes deserted, of communities displaced and razed to the ground as a consequence of yet another reactionary war.

Hence, SANLAKAS appeals upon all democratic and peace-loving peoples to join it in undertaking a collective national stand for genuine peace concerning the Bangsamoro nation. SANLAKAS now calls upon the Filipino masses to urgently demand for, and to advance the following positions:

• The Bangsamoro nation’s right to self-determination must be fully respected and recognized as a democratic principle. Its pursuit and outcome must be plainly upheld and clearly accepted by the Philippine State and its majority Filipino nation.

• As the Head of State, President Noynoy Aquino, as well as ranking officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who masterminded Oplan Wolverine, must take full responsibility and accept total accountability for criminal negligence. The President cannot pass the blame for an operation executed under the auspices of his Office. Command responsibility dictates accountability.

• The current framework objectives of the GPH-MILF Peace Process must be allowed to reach a just conclusion by both signatory parties; and all reactionary spoilers to the peace process must be resisted and stopped.

• The peace process in Mindanao must be broadened to greatly encompass and include other political factions/formations who are not presently involved in the GPH-MILF Peace Process in recognition of their right to self-determination. In this new multi-front peace process context, the general masses of the Bangsamoro nation must also be recognized, encouraged and allowed to actively and directly participate in the negotiations proper in order to help bring about deeper and enhanced solutions to the Bangsamoro Question.

• The dual-faced character and dangerous intentions of US imperialism, both inside the Philippines and in its lingering engagement with the MILF, must be totally unmasked and exposed before the Filipino and Bangsamoro peoples. This is very necessary so that both sides can both learn to build confidence as peace partners together.

• All US military forces in the Philippines, especially those operating in Mindanao, must right away be expelled from the country; and relatedly, all bilateral defense agreements and war instruments between Manila and Washington should promptly be abrogated. Effectively, we must pursue an independent and progressive foreign policy – one which will not compromise the sovereignty of the peoples within the Philippine State.

• The establishment of a multi-stakeholder ‘Independent People’s Commission of Inquiry’ must immediately be undertaken. Its role shall be to ferret out the truth as to what really happened before, during and after the January 25, 2015 Battle in Mamaspano. This is needed in order to establish and assign official accountability on the appropriate government and PNP officials (aside from PNoy himself), and to settle the issue publicly once and for all. The Commission’s mandate, scope and functions shall be parallel to the official investigations being pursued by various government bodies. Government investigations must result in actual prosecution of those responsible.###

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