CSO’s Call for Continuing Support to the GPH-MILF Peace Process

CSO’s Call for Continuing Support to the GPH-MILF Peace Process

By Farida P. Dalandan

COTABATO City (February 7, 2014) – The Mindanao Alliance for Peace (MAP) and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCS) jointly conducted a press conference at the El Comedor Restaurant, Cotabato City on January 29, 2014 after the “thanksgiving” ceremony at the Cotabato City Plaza by the CBCS at 6:00 A.M. until 10:00 A.M. and the rally staged by the MAP at the Tantawan Memorial Park in Cotabato City, which was dubbed as “Agong for Happiness and Thanksgiving.” Both activities launched at the same day were expressions of happiness and gratitude in the latest development of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We, Bangsamoro, would like to show our sincerest happiness and thanks for the successful signing of the Annex on Normalization of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), said Haji Murshid Mascud in a press conference, Vice Chairman of the MAP.

“The MAP and its allied organizations throughout Mindanao Island are extending their all-out support to the new development of the peace process between the GPH and MILF,” he added.

In the Press Statement released by the MAP and the Bangsamoro Alliance for Peace, Social and Economic Development (BAPSED) signed by Dr Abdulmanan Gayak, BAPSED Chairman, the rallies were simultaneously conducted in Tacurong City, Pikit Municipality of North Cotabato, and in Cotabato City. It is also said that the groups will be staging the same activity in the Municipality of Guindulungan, Maguindanao this coming January 30, and they will be hanging streamers in the different strategic areas of Bangsamoro Homeland.

Asked about what will happen to employees in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when Bangsamoro will be established, Esmael Kulat, Administrative Officer of the CBCS, said: “It’s not that easy to speculate but, as far as I knew, the GPH and the MILF have been doing their best in assuring the protection of people’s rights, and, rest assured, the CSOs do not tolerate abuses to be committed against our people.”

“The CSO’s help assure that the voices of the people especially the weak ones are heard,” he pointed out.

The CBCS considered the signing of the Annex on Normalization as a very important milestone achieved in the ongoing GPH-MILF peace process.

“The annex on normalization contains the core roadmap of transforming violence into peace and development,” Guiamel Alim, Chairman of the CBCS, said.

“We at CBCS commend the joint efforts of the GPH and the MILF for their commitment and strong determination to reach a consensus to finally sign the last annex,” he added.

Cognizant of the great challenges ahead, the CBCS committed to accompany the peace process until peace is finally attained, and it also calls on all sectors to offer the GPH and MILF a conducive political climate as they are already about to wrap up justly and rightly the peace negotiation to its conclusion.

Asked about the feelings of youth, in a separate interview by luwaran.com, Yusoph Lumambas, Secretary General of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), said: “The peace panels of both GPH and MILF deserve high commendation as they were able to sign the most sensitive annex of the FAB as it dealt with the issue of decommissioning, among others.”

“Honestly, I was afraid that the devils have to be found in it, but I am happy as if there were devils lived in it, they were not able to prevail. Praise the Lord for the guidance, strength and determination He bestowed upon the peace panels,” he said.

Mahdie Amella, Executive Director of the Mindanao Action for Peace and Development (MAPAD), said: “Finally, the light has already appeared at the center of the tunnel but we have to protect it together as not all want light as wrongdoings are done easier under the darkness of the night.”

Bangsamoro Center for Peace and Development (BCJP), Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MWDECC), People’s Coalition for ARMM Reform and Transformation (PCART), SEED Foundation, MAPAD, UNYPAD were among other organizations took active participation in the said activities.