Nurturing the seed of peace-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
THE visit of President Benigno Aquino Jr., in the MILF Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat and the MNLF campaign against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups are two dramatic developments that had radically changed the landscapes in the Bangsamoro Land. The twin events seemed to have abbreviated the long road to peace and the protracted campaign against the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
President Aquino made an intrepid stride into the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Camp where his predecessors fear to tread. He did not assert his authority for frankly, he need not to, but he has more than demonstrate the immensity of his presence as President of the Republic of the Philippines and that includes the Bangsamoro people.
One meaningful statement made by the President is his assurance that the isolation of Mindanao, most specifically the conflict areas in the autonomous region, will now be addressed. The giving of health cards to those who were present during the reception ceremonies may just be a small gesture but we believe that that signals the initial delivery of government services to the people long deprived of genuine government attention.
For it is a shame that while Metro Manila and other metropolises in Luzon are swamped with all the modern infrastructures and opportunities, the Bangsamoro land and the rest of Mindanao, to include the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, have to fend for themselves. Where these iniquities exist struggles lead to strife which had been the way in many parts of Mindanao.
Now, President Aquino set foot in what is perceived to be a volatile region. He just delivered an eloquent message to the investors that it is now time to engage the Bangsamoro people into partnerships. Building trust is a slow and difficult process, however, this is the way partnerships are made. It will even be a more challenging task given the divisiveness and conflicts that happened in many parts of the autonomous regions. We are not referring solely to the armed confrontations between the government forces and the secessionist fronts and neither are we referring to the cultural and religious differences, but also on the deep-seated animosities between clans and tribes.
The daunting task of reconciliation must run parallel to the quest for peace. There is an overwhelming confidence that following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and all the positive events that come after the unprecedented pact the path to peace, reconciliation and development is now paved with enthusiasm and confidence and trust.
The visit of President Aquino in Darapanan ushers in a new dawn of amity, unity and hope for a better and productive life in Mindanao. This seed of peace must be nurtured by every Filipino.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 15, 2013.