Peace pact only the beginning, says bishop Abigail Chee Kee Malalis-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
CAGAYAN de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said the recent peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is only the beginning of more consultations.
Ledesma, a known peace advocate and a member of the Bishops-Ulama Council (BUC), said in a report that peace building will only succeed if it will begin at the grassroots level as impact of armed conflict is felt and experienced by the local communities.
“Peace process will just be on paper if the agreement is not acceptable to the local communities,” he said.
Ledesma lauded the preliminary peace deal between the government and the MILF, as he claimed that the peace agreement is a part of the whole process to attain solidarity.
“We have to work now in the grassroots for peace building and reconciliation. It’s the beginning of transformation of the whole Mindanao towards a culture of peace,” said Ledesma, who formerly heads the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue.
President Benigno Aquino III described the preliminary deal as a “framework agreement” – a roadmap for establishing a new autonomous region to address the grievances and claims of the Bangsamoro people.
Aquino also said establishing the Bangsamoro political entity will go through the full process of legislation in Congress and will be subject to ratification through a plebiscite.
However, according to Ledesma, there are six “important values” needed to be considered in drafting the final peace pact, which he said derived from the series of consultations conducted by the BUC in various communities in Mindanao.
These include sincerity, security, sensitivity, solidarity, spirituality and sustainability.
“There is a need for sincerity on both sides that they are really for peace while security calls for an end to armed hostility and stop formation of these armed groups,” he said.
He added that sensitivity to the different cultures and traditions, including the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, is also important.
Ledesma said there’s also a need for solidarity -- a sense of oneness and unity especially with the IP communities.
“Another thing is spirituality. We have to focus on the religions of Islam and Christianity. And the last one is the need for sustainability. We need to realign our institution for good governance and honest elections to sustain the gains of peace building process. We need to emphasize the need for interreligious and intercultural understanding… the need for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation in Mindanao,” Ledesma said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 13, 2012.