Not that he even wants to be involved, despite wishful thinking on the part of Malacanang. He was quoted as saying he is “willing to help” but this seems to go only as far as listening politely to a narration of the administration’s missteps in dealing with Islamic secessionist groups. It appears he would rather keep a safe distance from President Arroyo and her corrupt and bumbling coterie of advisers. This is a mess he would be well advised to steer away from.
Blair was initially being eyed to be part of the proposed eminent persons group, which would serve as advisers in the peace talks with the secessionist MILF. GMA has been stalking him for some time, since around December 2007. He visited the country for speaking engagements over the weekend and Arroyo pounced on him. He was dragged to the Palace for a lunch meeting in which the proposal was never brought up. It seems to have been an awkward moment for both sides, as a reticent Mr. Blair was unwilling to make a clear public statement on his supposed involvement in the Mindanao peace process.
Which is just as well. Not to diminish his considerable achievements in his 10 years in office, but he is still seen as, although not the chief architect, then certainly one of the principal implementors of the inconclusive war on terror. He completely bought into George W. Bush’s militaristic policies and in the process divided Britain. More importantly, the MILF, Abu Sayyaf and any number of groups with alleged ties to a global terror network will not find it palatable to sit down with Bush’s best buddy and main man on the other side of the Atlantic. Unless it would be Blair himself on the menu.
Neither are local and national officials enthusiastic about Blair coming into the picture. This is not Northern Ireland, they say, where his charm and apparent sincerity were enough to engineer an uneasy peace. His knowledge of the conflict in Mindanao is “peripheral”, according to Sen. Pimentel.
Blair has more than enough on his plate as special envoy to the Middle East for the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union. His duties do not include lending his name to prop up the utterly discredited Arroyo adminsitration.