More groups pushing GRP, MILF to get back to negotiation table

The protest actions would start next week with the "displaying of our placards and hanging of streamers expressing our calls," said Dalingawen barangay chair Omar Unggi, who also chairs the seven-barangay Zone of Peace here.

The six other barangays that comprise the Zone of Peace are Ginatilan, Nalapaan, Panicupan, Ladtingan, Takepan and Unggi's village.

Aside from the placards and streamers, Unggi said that two youth organizations that were with them in a consultation here will be displaying placards and streamers along the Cotabato-Davao highway.

Anwar Saluwang, a member of the secretariat of the Bangsamoro Young Leaders Forum (BYLF) that volunteered to do the posting of placards, said they would also organize hunger strikes at town plazas.

"We will invite personalities to join the fasting for peace," Saluwang said while also relaying that they are organizing a run or walk for peace from Mindanao to Malacanang.

Earlier, a summit of over 100 representatives of civil society organizations in Marawi City also bared a plan to organize a "peace march from Mindanao to Malacanang" to pressure President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to work for the resumption of the GRP-MILF peace talk.

"If the government would still not consider our demands, we shall all go out on the streets, occupy half the lane of the national highway and shout at the top of our voice so that the national officials and the MILF will hear us," Unggi said in an interview.

"We will call this Bakwit Power-2," said Panicupan barangay chair Tanny Mandas as he recalled the "successful protest action" in 2003 where thousands of evacuees from the towns of Carmen, Kabacan, Pagalungan, Datu Montawal, Pikit and Aleosan went out to ask government and the MILF to declare a bilateral ceasefire so they could go back to their homes and till their farms after four months in the evacuation centers.

Prior to the massive protest actions, Unggi said they would simultaneously call barangay assemblies "to explain to our constituents why we need to put our acts together because we know we could not mobilize them unless they understand our cause."

The peace advocates also said they would initiate peace consultations in Luzon and the Visayas to "make our brothers understand why we are working hard for peace and solicit their support to our cause."

In June, the Mindanao Peoples Caucus would call the national conference on Mindanao where they would gather businessmen, religious leaders and legislators as part of their effort to "nationalize the Mindanao peace agenda."

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