“The Moro Times” is a monthly supplement of The Manila Times, a venture that Dante “Klink” Ang II, president and chief executive officer, thought would earn financial rewards for the paper, too. Unfortunately, such has not been the case but Ang said they will continue to publish the paper as a commitment to the Filipino people.
The paper’s editor in chief, Amina Rasul-Bernardo, lead convenor of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID), said they decided to celebrate because “we thought we wouldn’t reach one year.”
A public forum preceded the anniversary celebration at the Club Filipino, with former Human Rights Commissioner Nasser Marohomsalic delivering a paper on the “ARMM as an electoral basket case?”
In his written message, former President Fidel Ramos said “in projecting the views of our Muslim brothers and sisters into civil public discourse, the Moro Times has done much to bridge the gaps between the Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Senator Francis Escudero wrote that the Moro Times “plays a vital role in lives of not only our Muslim brethren but in all of us, in general, for it delivers relevant news and information that directly concerns the Muslim community and it also gives them the means to express their views and concerns so that the rest of us can better understand and appreciate them, as we all strive to live harmoniously with one another as one people under one flag and one country.”
Senator Mar Roxas wrote that by bringing news and updates on the situation in the ARMM, “including the moving forward of the peace process, the Moro Times shows that we can achieve unity in our diversity.”
Detained Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari also sent a message. “One of the problems that we have encountered as a people is the lack of representation not just in government but in national discourse. We have been marginalized not just in terms of economic development and governance but also in terms of public opinion.”
“I hope the achievements of the Moro Times will change this unfortunate situation. What the Moro Times has proven is that it is possible for the Moro people to participate meaningfully in the national discourse,” Misuari said.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, in her message, said The Moro Times “has made a strong contribution to interfaith understanding.”
“I personally enjoy reading it, and find it a valuable source of information and insight on the Muslim community of the Philippines,” she said.
Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and a columnist of Panorama Magazine, said the Moro Times is “a treasure because it enlightens not just reports; it bridges rather than divides; it tells not obfuscates the real stories of Muslim Mindanao.”
The other members of the Moro Times staff, aside from Rasul, are Samira Ali Gutoc, who also writes for MindaNews, Aliyya Sawadjaan, Riza Kamal and Nasser Sharief. (MindaNews)