The Bangsamoro is a National Initiative: It is therefore, the concern of all Filipino citizens. It is an effort to evolve the ARMM and learn from its lessons - and make it work.
Mindanao is endowed with much abundance. But it is run like a frontier - 'tis a place ever awash in a sea of uncertainty, its communities trapped between the ebbing and flowing tides of random sky and restless earth - never seeming to be able to change to master change.
But the Island of Mindanao does not constitute our Southernmost frontier, in fact, it is a center of gravity of our Republic - it owns one of the three Foundation Stars that form our National sufficiency.
What is it that make us sufficient as a Nation?
Our Republic is not random nor blind. Neither is the Peace that it promises empty.
Our Republic is a shelter of Peace. Its labor with ours, as a Nation across our generations, is to constantly ensure that the sovereign will of our people rise above random sky and conquer restless earth.
To be sufficient as a sovereign and free people is to be capable of sustaining this Peace. Not as a product of strings of random events, the whim of tyrants, or an obscure fate but as the sum of our free and independent choices.
Indeed, this ability to ponder "what we are" (being) and "who we are" (becoming) came at a high cost in personal sacrifice and heroic dedication. Let us always remember - to Remember them - and seek to know them by their names.
We have suffered too much indeed in our struggle for self-determination to abandon our common destiny. The Bangsamoro is a result of this realization. It is a deliberate National effort to re-establish a meaningful, durable Peace in Mindanao.
AND is one of the many processes now taking place - in our hearts and minds - to take back from the brink - the soul of our Country and the spirit of our Republic center. It is a process that along with (1) the National Rebuild in the Visayas, (2) the difficult fight against Corruption in Luzon, (3) the labor to balance the ecological promise of Palawan with our Energy needs and stabilize our western frontier constitute the four main areas - under the Eternal vigilance of Almighty God - wherein this Peace is likewise being advanced - on a broad front - all across our Nation.
PEACE which is not an absence of conflict but a return to the Memory - of what we are - and - of who we are - that we are a "we" and that as a "we", we have belonged forever. Peace which overturns War - that the life of our people may find rest - and the enemies of our Peace find only restlessness. Peace which is the truth of something real to love, something real to defend with a zeal that can never be lost or misplaced.
For we can no longer allow ourselves to be divided by the idols of chance or the gods of ignorance. For this Nation answers to God alone and this House (Republic) serves the LORD, the one Sovereign of all Nations, above and beyond all things, seen and unseen.
- selah -
The one constant that may be presumed from the nature of frontier areas are that they are always peripheral to the politics of the central government - this to our Republic represents a problem of perspective. In the political arena, this tragically mistaken sense have denied from many of our common generations, the abundance of Mindanao, spawning policies and laws self-prejudicial to the well-being of our Republic and detrimental to the common weal of our being as a National whole - past, present, and forever.
This near-sighted politics of the frontier exists as a constant challenge to competent Ambassadorship - for what is peripheral to the National consciousness and what is central to the International consciousness are almost always in need of political synchronicity as well as human reciprocity - and so as a rule, good Ambassadors are always good managers of frontier politics - from the center - transforming them in accordance with specific foreign policy goals and specified state interests.
And most certainly, Mindanao does not require an Ambassador from Luzon. What we need to do is to draw Mindanao into the Republic center - where the Island, its peoples, and its star rightfully belongs - equally - with Luzon and the Visayas. We can not do this without winning the Peace in Mindanao for we can not win back to our Republic center that vital Foundation Star by remaining with the rule of War.
- selah -
As a direct result of a misguided perspective, the Island is trapped in poverty. Its people never knowing the enabling peace of our Republic sky and the life of its communities never knowing the empowering Good will of our Nationhood.
Poverty is the lot of Man and the labor of the Nations is to overcome it. We are here to work to be happy and be free to be wealthy. Simply put, the labor of our coming together as a Nation upon this world is to become rich - both - in the more lasting spiritual as well as in the more immediate material (or temporal) sense.
Our Republic exists not only to establish Peace, but to overcome poverty. But not artificial poverty. For we can not become fully established - as a Nation - in the sovereign labor of obtaining from Heaven - in behalf of the Earth, our legacy of Justice and the heritage of our National Wealth - without Peace among ourselves.
Coincidentally, the former secessionist spirit of both the MNLF and the MILF were fed by this problem of perspective. Because this problem - compounded by increasingly provincial politics - espoused a sense of inequality that is uncomfortable in a Republic.
It is uncomfortable because we were already established as a Nation before God. Else, we would feel no compunction. It is uncomfortable to us as a Nation because it is unjust before God and inhuman before the Memory of our people.
It is uncomfortable to the point of bitterness and the shedding of so much blood and tears. Both factions have heretofore, according to all our understanding - repudiated this separatist mission. Because now we are pursuing a common mission of Peace - together this time - in the Bangsamoro vision.
The fact that there are deep and ancient divisions between the two great Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam that together shape the living culture of our Republic - in the past - often did nothing to heal all those simmering political rifts, many a time adding only to the heat of those many fires that in the darkness consume instead of shedding more of the light that in the darkness leads out into the Truth. And so we have fought among ourselves to dismiss and disown the Truth for so long...
Until this new time, until this new season under heaven...
Indeed, these present days - it would be a sin not to recognize the fact that we can, as a Nation - accomplish nothing further by being divided in our hearts and in Mindanao we may find the main epicenter of this division - this fragmentation in our soul of Country. (The Visayas may feel it too, to a lesser extent - but at large, we are faced with a different set of challenges to win for ourselves that Star).
And it can all be explained by the fact that we have not done enough to draw Mindanao to the center of our Republic and address this fundamental sense of inequality that leaves so many of the least and littlest among our peoples in the shadow - apart from the light of our three stars, and away from the reach of our one sun.
To become sufficient in our Nationhood, we must in spirit - become one people - to become this, as our 1987 Constitution does not include within it, a deeper reflection on the spirit and the character of our citizenship (as it relates to the fundamental natures of our democracy and of our Republic), we must come to a deeper REALIZATION in ourselves of the spirit and character of our citizenship - one with another.
AND we are, as a Nation, the most sufficient when we do our utmost for God and Country - when we seek the good, know the good, and do the good - and to be citizens not unlike each other in this way.
None of us is a Filipino citizen unless one accepts this basic equality - to do unto each other - equal Justice before God - through our one Republic undertaking of Country - and to fear no evil - by virtue of a common civic spirit.
This common civic spirit binds us deeper than blood ties and liberates us from tribal limitations that we may - as citizens of creation - come to know greater freedoms.
These bonds of citizenship are what makes us a cohesive democratic society - it is this fundamental equality as citizens that allow us to endure and in freedom prevail.
BUT what make us truly a Republic is the constancy with which we learn to freely and humanly live out this sufficiency to allow us - with every cycle of our generations - to ascend the way of our Maturity and obtain from the Truth its fullness - in the all of us - for the All of us.
- selah -
Those three stars on Old Defiant represent to us - our being - as a Nation, and its relationship to our sun represents - our becoming - in our Republic.
Before God - at every time and place, all Filipinos true to our Memory profess this as truth - that before the LORD and the assembly of the Nations before God in Eternity - we receive freely in our souls - this being - and - this becoming - as citizens not unlike to each other.
AND our sun is the symbol of the unconquerable Dream of freedom (in God and through God's Country) within which every single Filipino dream of happiness is to be forever possessed in its golden pursuit.
This is our basic equality as citizens before God and its fundamental activity is - to seek to be good, to know to be good and to do what is good - to proceed from Benignity to establish - a dominion of Justice upon our souls - and the rule of Law upon our soil - and the realms of Sacred Life preserve upon this Earth - and to make it all "very good" before the LORD - and on each other's behalf - through His Peace - and in Good will of our common humanity - forever as Nations - of the one Family of the Nations of the Children of Mankind.