Series of protests set to push for resumption of GRP-MILF talks

The petition also asks the government to request Malaysia to reconsider its decision to pull out its contingents with the International Monitoring Team (IMT). The petition approved by 112 representatives of CSOs in a peace summit here recently said that they would “jointly work together to call for the formal resumption of the GRP-MILF peace talks.”

Alarmed with the pull-out of the Malaysian contingents with the IMT, which has “threatened the security of our communities in Lanao,” summit participants said they would “join the call of the peace advocates for government to seriously address this issue at the soonest possible time in order to prevent an outbreak of another major war in Mindanao.”

“We resolve to undertake joint actions in order to demand that government squarely face the agenda on ancestral domain and make the necessary political decision that is required to settle this agenda once and for all,” the Maranaos said in a statement sent to Malacañang.

Peace rallies, petition-signing and a walk-for-peace from Mindanao to Malacañang were among the protest actions identified “to show to the world that the people from Lanao are also getting impatient with this long drawn negotiation. We want to see concrete results on the peace talks and one critical step towards that goal is the immediate signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain.”

This developed as the Cotabato City-based Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society announced that they would organize “run-for-peace and hunger strike” as their contribution to the Mindanao-wide protest actions that have been planned by peace groups in Mindanao.

The statement of the peace summit also called for “people to be more vigilant against various interest groups who will likely exploit this situation in order to promote hawkish tendencies.”

The Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), on the other hand, said it is organizing a national conference on Mindanao where legislators, religious leaders and businessmen will be gathered in Manila to discuss the peace process in Mindanao.

The conference, said Rahib Kudto, deputy secretary-general of MPC, “is part of our continuing efforts to nationalize the Mindanao peace agenda.”

The summit statement also appealed to the “field commanders of both the AFP and the BIAF to continue observing the ceasefire notwithstanding the vacuum left by the Malaysian IMT,” even as it noted that “the IMT pullout is just a consequence of the bigger problem in the GRP-MILF peace talks and this very issue must be addressed by signing the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain.” (Romy Elusfa / MindaNews contributor)

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