Finding our second wind in keeping the Peace

1st Anniversary of the Signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)

Today, March 27, we mark the 1st year anniversary of the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the landmark compact that bears all the signed agreements as a result of the 17-year negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – in fact, it embodies in essence – all the signed peace agreements between the Bangsamoro peoples and the Government of the Philippines.

Today, we mark it without the euphoria anymore, but with guarded optimism and ‘pragmatic’ hope. We are still trying to bounce back after a string of setbacks we faced as a people, as a country – from the circuitous route of legalization through the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), to the kind of legal scrutiny done by Congress as exemplified by some of its esteemed members who pounced the principals with issues in the BBL they can hang on to.

Today, we mark to accept that we have to get over the crisis as a people, as a country. The Mamasapano tragedy had proven our vulnerability as a diverse society when deep respect and understanding of each other are still very fragile. Despite of advances, the current events is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the peace process especially when we are still halfway done.

Today, we also mark to declare that any form of armed violence will always be unjust, unacceptable and dehumani-zing; and the current 120,000 IDPs in Maguindanao speak a lot of a senseless war. We strongly manifest our urgent appeal to stop the military offensives in the 15 Maguindanao towns to allow full-scale humanitarian assistance and assess the impact of this month-long law enforcement operations on people and communities.

We mark indelibly in our memory that today was the day when the political settlement between the government and the MILF was formally wrapped up in a final agreement, the CAB – an important milestone leading to transitional processes with the BBL as the only viable legal vehicle in the implementation of the peace agreement.

But we mark it not simply because a year had passed – but because a year gave us the chance to deepen our humanity. Hence, today, we draw strength in this journey on how we persevered and achieved the incremental gains of talking to each other all throughout the years. And today, we re-affirm our steadfast commitment to the core ideals, principles and negotiated consensus of the talks and continue to engage that it reflect the civilian agenda and vision of all peoples and conflict-affected communities.

On this day onwards, we, from the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW), continue to claim our stake in the peace process and steadfastly work for peace, justice and reconciliation in Mindanao and beyond.

Stand our ground. Save the gains of the peace process.
Relentlessly pursue the passage of an inclusive Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Pursue the transitional justice and other normalization processes in the core territories of the Bangsamoro.
Immediately declare the ‘suspension of military operations’ (SOMO) in the affected towns in Maguindanao.
All-Out Peace, now!

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