By Farida Dalandan
LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato (August 19, 2013) – The Maguindanao Peace Advocates (MPA) for Clean, Honest, Accountable, Meaningful – Secured and Fair Elections (CHAMP-SAFE), a broad coalition of the Civil Society Organizations in Central Mindanao and State Security Sector, started yesterday, August 18, 2013, its first strategic planning held at the Mountain Lake Echo Resort, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Anwar Saluwang, Director of the Development Management Center (DMC) of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), disclosed that the said activity is held until Wednesday this week.
In his opening address, Abraham Pino, Executive Director of the Tabang Ako Siyap ko Bangsa Iranum Saya ko Kalilintad Ago Kapamamagayon, Inc. (TASBIKA), said that the activity is brought in this good place which is far from individuals’ home so that we can concentrate more and be able to assure the coming up of a good output.
“This is aimed at coming up with a 3-year strategic plan so that the MPA will become instrumental in the would-be plebiscite in 2015 for the Bangsamoro Basic Law for the envisioned Bangsamoro Government and inclusion of to-be covered areas, and in the 2016 first elections for the Bangsamoro Government,” Samsodin “Mahdie” Amella, Coordinator of the MPA, said.
“The uniqueness of this group is that it has been able to bring together groups from different beliefs and orientations which include Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to advance the cause for having clean elections in the region and it envisions to serve the Bangsamoro Government beyond transition,” Amella, also Executive Director of the Mindanao Action for Peace and Development Initiatives (MAPAD), added.
“Let’s be united to fight for our rights, to fight against injustices and continue to be not conquered, saying that Mindanao had never been conquered by the colonial powers and the Bangsamoro and other native inhabitants were able to manage in fighting for their survival,” he stressed.
He emphasized that the efforts exerted by the MPA is in support to the over-all effort of the Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for peace in Mindanao as he has been believing that the only way to have a peaceful Mindanao is “resolving the core issue” of the Bangsamoro question.