Mindanao Peaceweavers Appeal to Govt., MILF to Halt Battles

ZAMBOANGA CITY – MEMBERS of the largest Mindanao-based civil society group has pleaded anew to the government and Moro rebels to stop the fighting in southern Philippines, which have already claimed several lives and damaged millions worth of properties.

The Mindanao Peaceweavers, which is composed of more than 10 peace advocates groups, urged President Gloria M. Arroyo and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim to instead create a conducive environment in Mindanao for dialogue and let the southern peace process resume.

The group said it is impossible for the peace process to restart if the situation on the ground remains volatile and the exchange of gunfire still continues.

“Your Excellency and Mr. Chairman, we trust you know that violence committed by any parties in conflict cannot be resolved by another, if not increased form of violence. We all know that this will be a never ending cycle that will only bring this country to the brink of destruction. We are sure you will not allow this to happen,” the group appealed.

In its recent letter, the group asked Ms. Arroyo to declare “a suspension of military operations” (SOMO) in Mindanao to sober up the situation and allow the mechanisms on the ceasefire agreement with the MILF to work again in addressing culpability and bring to justice those found guilty of violations.”

“We also note with hope your recent overtures for the resumption of the peace talks with the MILF, but we would also like to hope that such pronouncements be accompanied at once with concrete and positive gestures of peace. The immediate declaration of a SOMO could be one of these gestures as a confidence-building measure to demonstrate the government’s sincerity in finding a just resolution to the conflict and genuine peace in Mindanao.”

Likewise, the group also appealed to the “leadership of the MILF to cooperate in finding a just resolution of alleged violations of the so-called rogue elements from your ranks.”

“We urge you to demonstrate your firm resolve and commitment to peace by reigning in all your forces and constituents and prove that indeed you are sincere in negotiating for a peaceful settlement of the Mindanao conflict,” adding that they challenge the MILF to give their share in creating an atmosphere for dialogue and the conditions to tread the tedious path to peace.”

The southern peace process broke down following the debacle in the signing of the territory deal between the government and Moro rebels. The deal is seen as the last component of the peace talks prior to the agreement on governance, and ultimately the signing of the final peace deal.

But this was halted by the Supreme Court due to some problem on legal issues which several local and national politicians have raised.

The ruling prompted disgruntled rebels headed by Umbra Kato and Abdullah Macapaar alias Kumander Bravo to separately attack civilian communities in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Sarangani.

The Arroyo administration eventually abandoned its support-stand on the territory deal, and directed its troops to run after the MILF hardliners.

The military pursuit operations have been dragging for more than three months, however with no major accomplishment on the whereabouts of the rogue MILF commanders.

The continuing firefight in some Central Mindanao have displace more than half a million persons, “who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing armed conflict,” according to the Mindanao Peaceweavers.

A recent report from the National Disaster Coordinating Council said the cost of humanitarian assistance to internally displaced individuals will reach P605-million. Some P167.7-million has so far been extended to 391,266 individuals or 79,855 families who are in evacuation centers, the same report said.

The war’s total cost of damage to agricultural crops and infrastructure facilities such as schools, bridges and irrigation has amounted to P258.3-million in Regions 10 and 12 and in the autonomous Muslim region, the report noted.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Please follow and like us:

Leave a comment

ZABIDA, INC.

Macrohon, Compound,
Suterville, San Jose Gusu,
Zamboanga City, 7000

Talk To Us

Telefax: 990-2410
zabidamail.ph@gmail.com

Follow us