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Bangsamoro: Handa na ba Kayo?

I borrowed the tag-line from Korina Sanchez's "Rated K" of course. First and foremost, I have to warn everyone here that this article (and those that will come after) will not be very kind on us all, and yet, we have to face these issues all the more since these are perrenial problems that have been plaguing us and therefore are urgent enough to be properly addressed since the Framework Agreement has been signed. Read on if you dare.

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This post is written deliberately late, so that at least the excitement of the historic signing has at least cooled down. Why? Because a lot of people are unfortunately UNAWARE of the great responsibility that comes with the upcoming new order. Ask the common people of the street randomly and they won't answer you what the Framework Agreement really is and what it really means for them. I am not kidding. I recently edited a research that tried to compare the levels of awareness of both the educated and the tradespeople in the City. The findings were sad, especially for the tradespeople. The bottomline: The common people don't know what the framework agreement means for them, and worse, they even have misconceptions about it. Shouldn't the educated people, concerned groups, and yes, the MILF really reach down to them NOW and get them to actually learn what the Bangsamoro are in for in the next few years? After all the success of the agreement and whatever will result from it lies on the people themselves.

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I was not one of those who cheered at the Plaza during the day of the signing. I am in fact, a skeptic. Don't get me wrong, I am all for peace and progress, but my point here is, are Meranaos ready for a great attitude and character upheaval, not to mention a huge paradigm change once the provisions of the agreement are fully in force? Are we ready to help the new regional government achieve its objectives and finally realize that we are partly to blame for the stagnation that has left us decades behind the rest of the country? I have been here for almost 20 years now, and it is sad that what I have seen way back in 1996 are the things that I still see in 2014.

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Bottom line: what so many of us don't realize or have left out of the picture is that the success of the soon to be formed Bangsamoro government rests largely on the people, not just the leaders. It is the people who, by virtue of their votes, bought or otherwise, who will determine the kind of government that will be elected. We the common people have a very serious task to do and we must do it with diligence and sincerity. We have to let go of the attitudes and actions that have led us to regrettably become what we are right now. We have to have the guts to do what is right and and speak out against injustice that our own people do. Simply said, we have so much HARD WORK to do and expectations to meet, and if we are not willing to give the new government and the region the justice it deserves, then we do not have any business being part of the rebirth of the Bangsa Meranao. Hindi tayo handa kung ganoon.

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Food for thought. There's this essay on the Internet by someone way back in 1997 or 1998. It's entitled "The Maranaos are a Hopeless People." Before you guys think that the writer is some Meranao-hating outsider, the author is Meranao himself. What is very interesting about the things he wrote about is that they still ring true right now in 2014 as it was when he wrote the essay more than a decade ago. Go to Google and find it, it paints a sad yet true picture of our situation today as a people.


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