Would you negotiate with a pushover? Yes, but only to get even more advantages. The Spaniards only negotiated with the Moro sultanates when they realized they couldn’t defeat them. The Americans signed treaties with the Sulu Sultanate when their hands were full with the Philippine revolution in Luzon. Afterwards, they massacred the people of Sulu in Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak, among others. During the Philippine Republic, the government dealt with Moro rebellions with an iron hand like in the Kamlon rebellion and the various massacres in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
It was only in 1976 when the MNLF were giving the Philippine Armed Forces a very rough time that the government sued for peace. It was the Philippines who begged for a peace agreement in 1976, which resulted in the Tripoli Agreement. But the diabolical Marcos reneged on the agreement on the excuse of “constitutional processes”.
With the expulsion of Marcos and the national enthusiasm for renewed peace and democracy in a new constitution, an Organic Act for an Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was created. But again, the craftiness of Filipino political leaders, with the collusion of the Supreme Court, the ARMM became a totally powerless and inutile institution. It is certainly not what the thousands of martyred Moros, and tens of thousands of mujahideens fought for and millions of Moros dreamed of.
In 1996, President Ramos wanted to have peace in Mindanao. With the help of USA and Libya’s Qaddafi, MNLF’s Nur Misuari was strong-armed to accept a “Final Peace Agreement”. Again, it was a dud.
Meanwhile the MILF gathered strength and showed its might once in a while. President Arroyo, in order to co-opt the MILF leaders, held long-term negotiations while supplying arms and materiel to the warlord Ampatuan, who was her leverage against the MILF.
The MOA-AD between Arroyo’s government and the MILF was turned down by the Filipino people, including the Supreme Court.
President Aquino followed Ms. Aquino’s tactics. He tied up the MILF to long-term negotiations only to have its BBL turned upside down by Congress/Senate and the Filipino people.
President Duterte, who claims to be pro-Moro, promised a BBL and two Moro federal states – one each for MNLF and MILF. But before all that, he bombed Marawi to kingdom come on the pretext that a couple hundred of Mranaos, mostly from the Maute clan, are actually ISIS fighters and had taken over the city.
The MNLF and MILF supported the Philippine government. Otherwise, they could lose the promised federal states. And the Moro political leaders all kowtowed to Mr. Duterte.
The Islamic City of Marawi was totally bombed out by military jets and howitzer cannons and tanks and what-not, including drones from dear old USA, supposedly an enemy of Mr. Duterte. And the houses were looted. The Rape of Marawi continued for months. And even after the government declared victory, the residents were not allowed to return. So many innocent civilians died at the hands of th military.
The government now plans to have its military occupy the city and dispossess further the residents of their lands by proclaiming most of the city as public domain.
Yet, in spite of all these, some Moros are still hoping that the government will give them a good, powerful BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) that would create an autonomous sub-state or even a federal state.
Now, how could the Moros or Muslim Filipinos or Muslims in the Philippines expect or hope that the Philippine government, Congress /Senate and the Christian Filipino people give them REAL autonomy or REAL sub-state status or REAL Federal state rights or a powerful BBL??
Why in the world will the Philippine government, Congress and the Christian Filipino people give them anything when they think (and because of the Rape of Marawi, they think they KNOW for sure) that they can just bomb the Moro cities and provinces into oblivion any time they want!!! And so-called Moro revolutionary groups and so-called Moro political leaders and their non-(critical) thinking supporters will even applaud them for it!!!
The Bangsa Moro revolutionary leaders, of what is left of them, have forgotten that one must negotiate out of strength, not out of weakness.