Editorial: A milestone for peace-A A +A
Thursday, March 27, 2014
YESTERDAY, March 27, 2014, marked a new milestone for peace-loving Filipinos as the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF) signed a peace deal with the Philippine government at last, ending decades-long strife in Mindanao.
A capacity crowd from various sectors of the society, including President Benigno Aquino III, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, witnessed the signing of the five-page Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) by the panel members from the government and the MILF.
The peace agreement that took 17 years of tough negotiations and at times reaching deadlock for a time is finally sealed.
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the four Annexes and the Addendum, the Ceasefire Agreement of 1997, the Tripoli Agreement in 2001, among others, are all put together in the CAB that serves as the blueprint for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law being prepared by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. It will then be submitted to Congress for scrutiny. The Bangsamoro political entity, which will enjoy enhanced fiscal and political autonomy, will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Najib, in a speech, said: "We see a promise of a better future, where young men fight poverty and not each other, where people work to build consensus and new identity."
Indeed, the pact underscores a bright future not just for the Bangsamoro people but for all of us Filipinos as we are all stakeholders in this business called peace.
We all wait in joyful expectation as the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives committed to pass the measure before the year ends.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, urged Congress that they must make sure not to put in vain the efforts exerted by the peace panels, ensuring the Bangsamoro Law falls within the corners of the Constitution and that it can withstand judicial challenge.
The over four decades of struggle, claiming thousands of lives in the process, is almost over. Peace in Mindanao looms. This calls for a celebration.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 28, 2014.