They want a “substate” arrangement that would require changing the country’s constitution. It would be a win-win situation for the jihadists: all of the benefits of sovereignty, without the full responsibility of acting like a real state. And they would be in a position to continue to move the goalposts on conditions for peace with the central government, changing demands for resources, for borders on the territory, and of course, insisting on the right to impose all the Sharia they please. Again, blackmailing Manila is cheaper than war.
In the current proposal, MILF would also have to disarm. A disarmed jihadist movement would be a contradiction in terms. An update on this story. “Muslim rebels reject Philippine peace proposal,” by Oliver Teves for the Associated Press, August 23 (thanks to Twostellas):
MANILA, Philippines “” The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group rejected a government proposal for autonomy in the country’s south as inadequate but said Tuesday they will continue talks.
Representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front insisted on a substate for minority Muslims, chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen told reporters in a video conference from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the talks were held.
The government position omitted the word “substate” because that would require a change in the Philippine Constitution, Leonen said.
He said the government proposal contained autonomy but the rebels believed it did not go far enough.
Rebel vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar told ABS-CBN television that the government proposal “does not address the real issues.”
It’s about dominance, and Sharia.
“We want to first address the political issue,” he said. “This is a political problem, not an economic problem. We are not talking here about economic reforms, which are nothing if they are not given a political solution.”
The rebels earlier gave up their demand for a separate state and said they are willing to work with the government on protecting Muslims’ rights in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.
Leonen said the government’s 20-page peace proposal included “three components for one single solution.”
“It seeks to not only provide just and lasting peace to the troubled south but more so to improve and uplift the lives of the people who have long suffered from the brutality of decades-long armed conflict,” he said, adding it was “principled, realistic, and practical proposal.”
He said the three components include massive social services and economic development to break the “cycle of poverty” in areas already under an existing autonomous Muslim region.
Speaking of contradictions, it should seem just a bit hypocritical to demand political autonomy from the very entity from which one is requiring “massive social services”: leave us alone, and pay us. And for that matter, autonomy didn’t solve the problems the last time, but, let’s try it again. And throw more money at it, please.
It also included a political settlement under a peace accord with the Moro rebel group that would create a commission to push Congress to pass a legislation to strengthen the Muslim region, and an acknowledgment of Muslim contributions to the Filipinos’ historical struggles to facilitate the “healing of the wounds created by war.”
He said he could not yet disclose the details of the government proposal. However, any proposal would require “the consent of the governed and is within the bounds of our national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the Philippine Constitution,” he said….