by Xandelyn Racel R. Baena
The College of Arts and Social Sciences in its 35th founding anniversary program DisCASSion, a series of lectures/forums sponsored by the each department of the College, holds a very relevant and timely discussion on the Bangsamoro Organic Law on March 13, at the Cassalida Theater. The sponsoring departments were the Political Science and History in partnership with the Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA). Invited speakers on the panel discussion, who are exceptionally experts on the subject, were Dr. Julio Teehankee of the DLSU and incumbent president of the PPSA, MSU-IIT’s pride Dr. Jamail Kamlian, and Dr. Acram Latiph, the Acting Director of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (MSU-Main). As Mindanao steps into the path of peace through the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the lectures of the esteemed speakers had definitely shed light on the matter.
Dr. Teehankee decisively remarks that the success of the BARMM, as a sort of political experiment, will also determine whether Federalism can actually work in the Philippines. But Dr. Teehankee cautioned by saying that the country needs to “fix the way we do politics before going to Federalism” concerns such as political dynasty and many other negative political cultures in the country affecting positive success for constitutional change. In many other aspects, Dr. Teehankee lay down the transformative ways in which the MILF, as the forerunner of the BOL, had consolidated its power that resulted into political gains for the Bangsamoro. He emphasized the importance of formation of political parties to be heard and empower rather than take the rough road of rebellion. Equally insightful, Dr. Kamlian raises that BARMM is not only an exclusive concern of the Bangsamoro people, but of the people of Mindanao hence there should be “common interests and common responsibility to make BOL a successful journey.” While Dr. Acram, with his good training in economic and policy analysis, considers the “BOL as the last hope” for Mindanao and in the same manner, he expressed that the benefit of its success is not only for the Bangsamoro but for the rest of Mindanao. In his profound discussion, Dr. Acram said that “peace brought by BOL will create a trickle down effect in the whole Mindanao particularly in improving its economic industry.” The underlying emphasis of the talks is to hope for mutual cooperation for the success of the BARMM because there is no other alternative for Mindanao but peace.
The College of Arts and Social Sciences, with the known predilection towards social relevance, has always spearheaded talks dissecting social concerns and issues. Holding the panel discussion also propels the crucial role of MSU-IIT as a social laboratory that provides a venue where issues and concerns of the country are examined and deliberated, in which the end purpose is to be instructive.