The issue of postponement of the ARMM elections, to be scheduled in August, will be decided by the Philippine Senate today. Partido Lakas ng Masa believes, however, that the two main contending factions on this issue are mainly motivated by their own interests rather than the paramount interests of the Bangsamoro people, which is the advancement of their right to self-determination as an oppressed nation.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is a political structure that has failed to address the problems of poverty and war and the concrete cases of oppression of the Bangsamoro people. In fact, despite the formation of ARMM since 1990, poverty and war have escalated without letup in many parts of Mindanao , especially in the ARMM areas.
The postponement of the scheduled ARMM elections will only serve the interests of the incumbent President’s political party, the Liberal Party, which is aiming to establish its bases in the ARMM areas. The main trapo factions arguing for the scheduled August elections have the same aim – to maintain and strengthen their base in the ARMM areas to maximize their electoral gains.
The issues of poverty and war in Mindanao cannot be resolved by a political structure that has become a bastion of trapo intervention coming from both the national and the local levels. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is the main armed force fighting for self-determination in Mindanao, has also stated that the ARMM structure is not acceptable to the Bangsamoro as it has not provided real autonomy in their areas. The MILF supports the postponement, however, only on the basis that it might give way to prioritizing the peace process being undertaken by the government and the MILF today.
PLM opts not to side with any of the traditional political factions debating on whether or not to postpone the ARMM elections in August. The issue only underscores the in-fighting amongst trapo forces on which faction should represent the oppressed Bangsamoro people. The argument that the postponement will allow time to reform the ARMM begs the question. The ARMM itself is an imposition by the trapo elite in the Philippines and does not reflect the demand for genuine autonomy of the Bangsamoro people. PLM does not believe that genuine autonomy can be gained through reforming the ARMM.
PLM supports the continuation of the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF and any group which is fighting for self determination in Mindanao . We believe that only through providing genuine autonomy to the Bangsamoro people that prosperity and peace can be attained in Mindanao .
Chairperson, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
June 6, 2011