Mar 032013


Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao



October 9, 2012


Bangsamoro masses, Filipino people should adopt vigilant optimism on GPH-MILF framework pact


Is peace now at hand for the Moro people with the signing of the framework peace agreement?


It is, indeed, welcome news after two decades of talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who have gone through tortuous negotiations and a failed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008.


As the Framework Agreement will be formally signed on October 15 this year, we are imbued with vigilant optimism that the Moro people will see some infant steps towards exercising their right to self-government and determining their own destiny. However, let it be clear that it is the Bangsamoro masses themselves who will be the judge of the correctness of this agreement.


As history is witness to the fact that colonial regimes and the Manila central government have repeatedly done historical wrongs and thrown out their commitments against the Moro people— from the Kiram-Bates treaty to the Tripoli Agreement— the litmus paper test of the pact will be GPH sincerity.


The government may be using this agreement as a Trojan horse for Charter Change in Congress. With the window for Cha-Cha being opened, the temptation for term extensions and lifting of caps on foreign property ownership will ride on the rhetoric for peace in the South.


This peace rhetoric is already being betrayed by the Aquino government’s attacks on civil liberties with the passage of the Cybercrime Law and the unabated killing of indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and activists.


In the case of the GPH-NDFP talks, government needs to show compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other signed agreements.


Thus, the Bangsamoro masses, and the Filipino people, need to be vigilant as there is a wide sea to cross between text and action, between signing a pact and translating it into building the mechanisms to actualize the Moro people’s right to autonomous governance.


The agreement shall also be put to test in the Bangsamoro social setting wherein the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) is an emerging revolutionary movement taking up the torch for Bangsamoro independence. Clearly, even as the agreement is signed, the guns will not be silenced, as the BIFM armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters led by Ameril Umbra Kato, has vowed to continue to seek the resolution of the Moro problem.


As peace advocates, we express the hope that the “Bangsamoro” as political entity and as identity, struggle, and destiny, truly reflect the essence of the Moro nation and not be reduced into a play on words.


This we believe, as peace does not end with the signing of the agreement. It is built upon the people’s consciousness and will.


For reference:



Chairperson, InPeace






Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao

Rm. 101 Kalinaw Center for Interfaith Resources

13 Francisco Avenue, Juna Subdivision, Matina, 8000 Davao City


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The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on Nov 2nd 2012


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