Friday, April 12, 2013

The Die is Cast

From the Website of MILF

The Die is Cast

By Maulana M. Alonto

The standoff in Sabah has come to a very serious point that invites the resolution of the conflict through violence. Kuala Lumpur has already issued a response: no compromise on Malaysian national security. Either the armed contingent, 300-strong according to news reports, calling itself the "Royal Army of the Sulu Sultan" leave Sabah in peace or face ejection by the Malaysian security forces. The consequences of the latter option need no further elaboration. Patience has its limits, and the Malaysian authorities have exhausted all the patience they could muster to avoid a violent collision.
Trilateral diplomatic efforts (Malaysia, Philippines, and the Sulu sultan) to resolve the standoff seem to be wearing thin as the Sulu sultan remains intransigent.

It is a given that the Sulu sultanate's claim over Sabah is a long-standing issue made more complicated by the infusion of several external factors. But these need not be discussed here. It is compellingly preferable that these be taken up in the proper international forum for peaceful and amicable resolution.

We are not questioning the validity of the Sulu sultan’s claim over Sabah. That is for the proper international bodies involved in mediation to determine. Our concern, however, is the timing of the 'invasion' of Sabah and the reason given for resorting to such an act by the people behind it. Why is the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) being blamed by the Sulu sultan and his people for ‘invading’ Sabah? Why is it being made to appear as if the so-called Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate has just been established ostensibly in reaction to the FAB that is accused of “leaving out” the Sulu sultan?

Unknown to many, the “Royal Army of the Sulu Sultan” has been existing clandestinely long before the FAB was concluded and even long before the MILF seriously sat down for negotiations with the Philippine Government in 2001 with Malaysia as facilitator.

If one would really trace its genesis, it goes all the way back to when Ferdinand Marcos - the infamous Philippine dictator who had Jolo razed to the ground in 1974 - planned the invasion of Sabah in collusion with some of the people of the Sulu sultanate claimants. It was not called the “Royal Army of the Sulu Sultan” then but the idea, concept and purpose that birthed the present “Sulu Royal Army” are the same. As a case in point, it is known but just to a few that a covert training camp was established in Palawan in the late 90s where members of the “Royal Army” underwent military training just like the one those poor Muslim recruits massacred in Corregidor had to undergo also for the same purpose about thirty years earlier.

Now the plot has thickened. More revelations are coming out that validate earlier information. Foreign elements are being ‘invited’ to put their fingers on the pudding. This, indeed, saddens us. Ruminating over these developments, past and present, we cannot help but ask: Why do Moros always allow themselves to be used as instruments by elements that are inherently inimical to their cause?  

MILF Website