Peace building in Mindanao-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
THE successful peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should be an exhortation for the NPA/NDF to speed up their peace building with the national government so that finally there will be peace in Mindanao and the whole of the Philippines.
Witnessing the great energy and passion of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the south to make peace with their Christian brothers and sisters in the north of the Philippines despite their enormous cultural and religious differences, I believe this should serve as an invitation and an incentive to our communist brothers and sisters in the mountains to overcome their ideological differences with their Christian brothers and sisters in the country side.
With respect to the negotiations with the Muslims, Archbishop Tony Ledesma said ‘important values’ such as sincerity, sensitivity, solidarity and spirituality are needed to be considered in building peace.
He said also these will only succeed if they will begin at the grassroots level as the impact of armed conflict is felt and experienced by the local communities.
At this joyful event of the signing of the peace agreement between the MNLF and the national government, I see a striking and contrasting parallel between the peace negotiations of the MILF/MNLF with the national government and those of the CPP/NPA/NDF with the GRP. There is also a striking and contrasting parallel between the different personalities involved in the peace negotiations of the two parties.
On the side of the Muslims, there are the chief negotiators of the MILF, Mohagher Iqbal and Murad Ebrahim and Ed Cabalos, who resigned as spokesperson of the MILF and joined the MNLF. And there is also the chairman of the MILF Nur Misuari who has shown interest in the formation of the Bangsamoro Liberation Front region and the MILF may be willing to lay down their arms in the long run.
On the side of the communist rebels, on the other hand, there are the contrasting personalities: Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the CPP who as a hardline ideologue, only believes in armed struggle to end the revolution. Then there is here in Mindanao the commander of the NPA, Jorge Madlos, who is still reluctant to give up the armed struggle and hesitating to make peace.
And there is Louis Jalandoni, spokesperson of the NDF in the Netherlands, who as a Christian and a former priest, I believe, should resign as spokesperson of the NDF and come back to the Philippines to join the negotiations here on the ground instead of abroad.
Then there is of course on the part of the GRP the active and energetic negotiator, Prof. Marvin Leonen, who was able finally to sign a realistic peace agreement with the MNLF and Alex Padilla who, up to now, has not scored much of a success in dealing with the NDF.
What comes to my mind at this point is what happened many years ago in the mountains of Antongalan near Butuan City, the infamous Antongalan massacre. That will still be a contentious issue to deal with in the peace negotiations with the NPA in Mindanao. I will discuss more about this in my next column.
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Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 18, 2012.