The Philippine Government Forges Peace Agreement With MILF, A Milestone To Be Commended

There is a lesson to be learned that there can still be ‘harmony in diversity’ if only as a people we know how to acknowledge and respect each other differences.

Being different to one other in terms of culture, belief, social and political orientation should not be an obstacle why we couldn’t live together in peace.

Under the principle of ‘one country two systems’ like what occurred between Hong Kong and China, there’s no reason why we couldn’t adopt their system for the sake of peace.

It has been a tough agenda for the Philippine government panel before reaching an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to terms that could be acceptable to both parties.

The key for the breakthrough should be credited to the people behind the Philippine government negotiating panel and that of the MILF panel who painstakingly and patiently talk to each other, grasp and understand their differences while considering the true aspiration of the Bangsa Moro people as a new political entity.

Despite the establishment of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), lasting peace in Mindanao has continued to be a dream, because the core to the problem has not been properly addressed by the previous government administrations and who also failed politically to correct them.

President Aquino, in his speech announcing the forging of the framework agreement in MalacaƱang said:

“We have counted two generations since conflict began in Mindanao, a cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of more than a hundred thousand Filipinos. Many solutions have been proposed and tried. We have had peace agreements in the past, but still our hopes for the region remained unfulfilled. The ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun.”

He said the framework agreement “seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation.”

The agreement also creates a new political entity, the Bangsamoro, which symbolizes and honors “the struggles of our forebears in Mindanao, and celebrates the history and character of that part of our nation,” he added.

Peace advocates, academe and youth sectors in Mindanao commended the members of the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for succeeding in forging a draft framework peace agreement that will determine the road map for a permanent peace accord in Mindanao.

Under the new deal expected to be signed on Oct. 15, in MalacaƱang, the rebels shall be accorded a larger share of power and wealth in a new autonomous region by 2016, known as Bangsamoro superseding the ARMM.

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