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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mindanao civil, religious groups call for lasting peace

By Franklin P. Gumapon

PAGADIAN CITY – People living in Mindanao long for nothing but genuine, lasting peace.

This was the gist of yesterday’s press conference held here by civil societies and religious organizations, tackling the Mamasapano incident and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a statement read before the members of the press, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) expressed its sympathies to the families of the 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) killed in an “uncoordinated encounter with the members of the 105th MILF based command and some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighters (BIFF) in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano town, Mauindanao.”

The group also appealed to the public “to refrain from issuing statements that would aggravate the situation” and to exercise sobriety to attain peace in Mindanao.

It likewise called on the media practitioners to be always balanced, non-partisan, impartial and objective in disseminating information to the public, and to “avoid provocative reporting.”

On the other hand, Sultan Maguid Maruhom, Muslim convener of the Interfaith Forum for Solidarity and Peace, admitted that that the Mamasapano incident had really affected the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) but he is hoping that it would still be considered as it would usher in lasting peace for Mindanao.

“It is easier for non-Mindanaoans to call for all-out war, but the people living here are already tired of war and all they want is lasting peace,” Maruhom stressed.

A similar call was aired by Rudy Arpon of the Social Action Center Apostolate, reiterating the Catholic Church’s support to the peace process.

Pastor Diosdado Marquez of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) here also said “the UCCP is always supportive of all efforts at attaining lasting peace in Mindanao.”

It could be recalled that the government had already forged a peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996 leading to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Presently a peace negotiation has been going on with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with the end view of putting an end to decades old Moro problem in Mindanao.