We, members of the Mindanao PeaceWeavers, gathered in Davao City for a two-day Convenors Meeting to consider the state of peace in Mindanao and take stock of important lessons in the work of helping create a hopeful future for the region.
We recognize the enormous challenges that still need to be surmounted in order to address the various conflicts that weigh down development efforts and continue to consign the lives of millions of people to lingering uncertainties.
For the peoples in conflict-affected communities, development is synonymous with peace. Hence, we reaffirm our solidarity for peace in Mindanao and commit to further cultivate the ideals that brought us together as the broadest Mindanao peace network for the past 11 years.
Throughout the decade of our work, we note the positive climate created by the breakthroughs in the political negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), symbolized by the forging—after a 17-year process—of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
As civil society networks that have engaged and accompanied the Bangsamoro peace process since its rough and tumble days, we share the same hopes imbibed by our constituents—including the grassroots peoples of Mindanao— that a lasting solution to the Moro rebellion is close at hand, and that they are saying goodbye—with finality—to war and recurrent displacement from their communities.
We understand that some kinks have recently come up in the process of implementing the CAB, particularly in drafting a Basic Law that would give birth—when enacted by Congress and ratified in a plebiscite—to the Bangsamoro political entity. To some extent, the lack of adequate official information about this situation resulted to stirrings of restiveness in several areas.
Even then, we note the present efforts by the peace panels and their principals in addressing the issues raised about the Basic Law drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. This gives us confidence that the parties are still heavily invested in the peace process.
We extend our goodwill to the members of the peace panels as they roll up their sleeves from August 1 to 10 to come up with a mutually acceptable text of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We trust in the deep and strong commitment of these men and women for achieving peace in Mindanao, and we expect that to drive their much-needed creativity, patience and resolve to muster the decisive consensus in this crucial exercise. They have consistently shown these qualities during the negotiations for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its Annexes that now constitute the core of the CAB.
We pray for their continued personal strength and fortitude as they carry on a task that is made formidable by its historic significance and the weight of expectations from stakeholders within the country and those in the international community.
We also pray that President Benigno Aquino III and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim maintain their unwavering stance for this peace process, and continue to keep and nurture the partnership they have built in pursuit of a just resolution of the Moro conflict.
We call on our peoples– Moro, Lumads, Filipinos– to stay calm and keep holding on to the aspiration for lasting peace. This is the effective way of maintaining sobriety in the communities amid these trying times.
Fueled by our strong desire and resolve to keep alive the cause of peace in Mindanao, we commit to continue to journey with the government and the MILF in this critical period of the peace process and beyond.
To us all, Salam, Kalinaw, Paghidaet, Kapayapaan, Peace!