The painstaking negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to resolve the Bangsamoro question is at its peak. The people of Mindanao especially in the conflict affected areas have been gratified for seeing the light at the center of the tunnel, which made them hopeful of the possibility of getting out from the darkness of living in a place that has always been attacked by horrific war, which has been viewed by many as a mother of poverty.
This is high time for groups and individuals alike in the country to show their muscles in extending support to the peace efforts advanced by the government and MILF for it is only through negotiations we can address peacefully the conflict in Mindanao that besieged us for decades.
The achievements of the GPH and MILF peace panels are something that should be safeguarded by all of us and we will never give room to the peace saboteurs to sneak them before our eyes as these people have always been thinking of aggrandizement over the sorrow of others.
The Bangsamoro people have never felt secured under this Philippine regime ever since, and their right to self-determination has always been abridged. Human Rights Violations had been taking place left and right. It has been felt that the Bangsamoro have always been treated as second class citizens of the country.
With this unveiled progress in the GPH-MILF peace process under this Aquino regime, the oppressed Bangsamoro saw the hope of getting out from these fires of injustice, discrimination, and bigotry.
The latest incident of attack on Commander Yusop Husaen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the MILF on February 17 that caused his death, and arrests of Abas G. Andongan February 9, and Ustadz Haji Wahid of the BIAF’s 118 Base Command on February 24, all of 2014 are potential acts that can break the trust and confidence built between the government and MILF as these have been happening amid the negotiations at which there are actually established mechanisms that can be used to address this issue of criminal charges filed against some leaders of the MILF.
In this kind of situation, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Central Mindanao have been worried and they are putting the following calls forward:
- That the security sector (Philippine National Police which includes Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Philippine Army and Philippine Marines) should take the lead in protecting the Human Rights of our people, safeguarding the gains of the GPH-MILF peace process and upholding the built trust and confidence between the two negotiating parties;
- That the MILF and its Armed Forces and Peace Panel to stay sober amid these trials and never give space to evil spirit that hampers the smooth flow of the negotiations, which is now about touch its end, and
- That the government should exert all efforts to control all its armed forces in the ground particularly the CIDG, Special Action Force, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and Special Project Mindanao-Khalifa Islamiya to do things that can be detrimental to peace process, and utilize all established mechanisms governing the relationship between the government and MILF.
The CSOs commend the untiring work, candidness and unwavering stand of the 6th ID, PA, Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of GPH and MILF, the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and other established mechanisms in delivering and performing their tasks and functions.
Let us never give up in our search for peace. Let us never frustrate our people from their expectation that the negotiators of GPH and MILF will finally bring genuine peace back to them, and finally, let us guard the trust and confidence strongly built between the GPH and MILF.
ANWAR Z. SALUWANG
Cellphone No: 09173079048
MAHDIE C. AMELLA
Cellphone No: 09176223970