The ethnic leaders assembled Friday at Camp Dagohoy to witness the blessing and inauguration of the new police center catering to Muslim issues and concerns. It is called Sala'am Center.
It was an opportune time for the Post to get the reaction of the Muslim leaders given the combustible issue of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islam Liberation Front (MILF) now catching fire from all segments of Philippine society.
The government and the MILF on Tuesday were set to sign a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain following 10 years of off-and-on negotiations. But the Supreme Court stopped the ceremony after local Mindanao officials protested the inclusion of their areas in an expanded Moro homeland without consultations.
Critics said the broad economic and political powers accorded a proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity with its own security force spearheaded by 12,000 MILF fighters amounted to the creation of a separate state.
The MILF-government deal has become a hot political issue all over the country after Malacanang critics labeled it as a sellout of Philippine sovereignty.
In Bohol, just as many residents are expecting the local Muslim population to support the negotiation for an expanded homeland when the opposite actually happened.
In separate interviews in the sidelines of the Camp Dagohoy affair, Abdol Samad Pangomping of the Ulama League for Guidance Propagation, Dimakura Alanyadi, president of the Islamic Center and Datu Manong Ambor, president of Muslim Urban Organization batted for the need to consult the people first especially those manning local government units where communities under their jurisdiction are affected by the new juridical entity.
For his part, Pangomping said that the MOA as defined by the two contracting parties (MILF-government) was not a product of a thorough consultation among Muslim leaders in Mindanao.
Even the local Muslim population who have no intention of going back to their original homeland in Mindanao do not agree with the terms and conditions of the peace process.
If the MOA is allowed to be in force, the expanded homeland billed as Bangsamoro Juridical Entity would have its own armed forces, banking and financial system, health care services, education system, etc.
The Muslim leaders admitted that they still have their relatives in Muslim Mindanao but they lost interest in going back home because they have found Bohol as their second home. - Sunday Post