‘Peacetival’ Highlights Bangsamoro Agreement, Run for Peace
The Religion and Peace Studies Department organized a peace forum on November 9 to shed light on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed recently by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
It was one of the highlights of the ongoing “Peacetival”, an advocacy and constituency campaign using creative means to provide opportunities for dialogue and inclusion in the context of cultural diversity.
Mr. Jun Aparece of the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC) and Datu Antonio Kinoc of the B’laan Tribe each discussed their views on the FAB and its implications in achieving peace in Mindanao.
Signed October 15 in the presence of Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, the FAB, Mr. Aparece said, is a political solution as it provides a political settlement between the government and the MILF.
“This is a resolution of the historical divide between the Philippine government and the Bangsamoro,” he explained, adding that the Moro people share a strong affiliation to their clan.
Following this agreement, a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be created that will set principles and procedures for the transition until 2016. A Ministerial form of government will also be applied in the region.
According to Mr. Aparece, when the BBL will be applied, people will only vote for political parties, and the winning party will choose among them who will sit in the different executive and legislative positions.
He said though that the FAB only provides a framework and the final agreement is still on process.
Contrary to some misconception of separation of states, Datu Kinoc clarified that Bangsamoro entity will remain part of the Philippines.
“We are not an independent state, so the presence of the state is still there. What we do is to harmonize the relationship,” he explained. This set-up makes civil laws of the country in effect in the Bangsamoro, alongside efforts to strengthen the Sharia Law.
Datu Kinoc also said the transition process welcomes Christians and other religions.
“We can’t afford to drive away our neighbors… Anyone can be called a Bangsamoro, if they want,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, “Run for Peace and Solidarity for Negros Oriental and Mindanao” held November 8 launched the celebration of “Peacetival”. Participants in the run conquered the route from Canlaon to Dumaguete, passing through remote areas and arriving in the city the next day.
The run was conceptualized as a creative way of sending across the organizers’ message of peace.
A signature campaign, dubbed “One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines”, is also being conducted on campus. It aims to gather over a million signatures around the Philippines to lobby for continuing peace negotiations among the Philippine government, MILF and the National Democratic Front.
Spearheading the “Peacetival”, in partnership with Silliman, are the organizations Mindanao Peaceweavers, Bisayang Dako Alang sa Kalinaw and Mindanao Solidarity Network. Master of Peace Studies Coordinator Dr. Myra Waddington is leading the campaign for Silliman, together with the Justice and Peace Center and the Divinity School.