Q and A. Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza: “BBL will have...

Among the Cabinet members of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, his high school classmate Jesus Gestuveo Dureza is the "veteran," having served as a member...

PEACETALK: The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and (the Question of) Charter Change

“If such a law can be accommodated within the existing framework of the Constitution, then that would greatly simplify matters. But if it will entail amending...

PEACETALK: Sister Arnold Maria Noel: A living hero, a living saint

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 August) --- What started as an ordinary day for me turned out to be extra special when I received an inspiring...

PEACETALK: In the name of what? Hill 224 and the cycle of oppression

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/15 August) --  Several actors figure prominently in this recent armed conflict: First and foremost is the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or Bangsamoro...

PEACETALK. 10-point preliminary comment on the GPH-MILF “Decision Points.” By Judge Soliman Santos, Jr.

NAGA CITY (MindaNews/28 April) –  Here is a ten-point preliminary comment on the GPH-MILF “Decision Points on Principles as of April 2012.” 1.  GPH Peace...

PEACETALK: Why and How the GPH-MILF Peace Process Can Succeed

by Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/02 April) -- The peace process between the GPH-MILF can succeed because: 1. the paramount concerns of both...

PEACETALK: The PNOY-Murad meeting – some facts

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/09 August) -- Critics have derided the August 4 meeting of President Noynoy Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair Ebrahim Murad...

PEACETALK: A letter to Ramon Tulfo

Mary Ann Arnado/MPC DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 August) -- Dear Mr. Tulfo, Salaam to you in this season of Ramadhan! This is in response to your column dated...

PEACETALK: Different voices and positions By Bong Montesa

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/24 February) -- In Palace says ARMM failed experiment, Government lays down, in clearest terms, its theory on ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) and why postponing the ARMM elections is needed.

PEACETALK: Legal and constitutional limits of what Government can offer the MILF by...

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/11 February) -- The end goal of peace negotiations is a peace agreement. While the road to peace may be circuitous, still the end goal is the same – a peace agreement. Peace negotiations between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) started this week in Kuala Lumpur. The MILF submitted its draft comprehensive compact and Government promised to study and respond to the proposals. While the contents of the new MILF comprehensive compact draft are still confidential, we can be sure, based on over 14 years of negotiations...

OUR PEACE: Gold Fever. By Peace Advocates Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 January) --  A few days ago, civil society groups led by the local Catholic diocese staged a rally in Dipolog City...

Seek to understand rather than be understood. By Camilo “Bong” Montesa

By Camilo "Bong" Montesa MANILA (MindaNews/09 January) -- My hope is that we, Filipinos, seek more to understand rather than be understood. To learn to...

LET THE TALKS BEGIN: It's time to fly! By Irene Morada Santiago

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 January) -- Start the peace talks.   Begin at the end.   Pre-empt history. It's easy enough to just demand that the talks begin. ...

PEACETALK: IMT's mandate ends on December 8. by Camilo Montesa

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/23 November) -- The mandate of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) will end 15 days from today. Some people say that the mandate...

PEACETALK: Transforming the Facilitation in the Mindanao Peace Process. By Kamarulzaman 'Zam' Askandar

PENANG, Malaysia (MindaNews/21 November) -- To many interested observers and students of peace like me, a conflict like the GRP-MILF conflict in Mindanao 'seems'...

PEACETALK: Our people hunger for stories that bring life and hope to our...

by Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ (Closing remarks at the 2010 Ateneo Special Awards by by Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ, President, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, on 19...

PEACETALK: Let's all be patient By Jesus G. Dureza

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 November) -- I heard so many people asking what is happening to President Noynoy's bold announcement that peace talks...

PEACETALK: Impasse in the GRP-MILF peace talks. By Bong Montesa

The GRP-MILF peace process is at an impasse and I mean "impasse" in every sense of the word: "deadlock", "dead end", "stalemate", "boxed-in". What is the current deadlock all about? The current deadlock is about WHO shall facilitate the negotiations and HOW shall the facilitation process be conducted. I am not talking about the country acting as the facilitator. That has already been settled. It will still be Malaysia. The bone of contention is about who will be the person conducting the actual facilitation.

PEACETALK. Keynote Address of Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, 6th Mindanao Media Summit

Congratulations ... for this successful summit, already the 6th and expectedly a much improved one given the six regional media consultations that preceded it. This is the second time I have been asked to grace this occasion, the first one during your 2nd Media Summit held in March, 2004, in Malagos, Calinan, also here in Davao City. I have learned that you have made much progress since then. I was informed that conducting regional media conferences prior to the summit has always been your dream to ensure that the regions are well-represented, to gain better participation and more intense discussion in the summit. Congratulations for this dream come true. This is one indicator that you are making significant headway in getting yourself organized, which is good for you, good for Mindanao, good for peace in the country. I especially appreciate your presenting this summit as "the media's way of ensuring its continuing positive outlook and support to the government's peace and development program in Mindanao."

PEACETALK: Tolerance in the time of Ramadan. By Mehol K. Sadain

MANILA (MindaNews/10 September) -- The deprivation and sacrifice that the fast of Ramadan instills in Muslims from all walks of life last for thirty...

PEACETALK: Eid Mubarak! By Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI

09 September 2010 (Message written by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, on the occasion of Eid’l Fitr, the end of Ramadan) Dear Muslim Friends: As you...

PEACETALK: Declare GRP-MILF negotiations as constitutional negotiations. By Bong Montesa

MANILA (MindaNews/08 August) -- If there is one thing that President Noy Aquino can do that will send a strong signal that the Government...

PEACETALK: Invictus: OPAPP and the incoming administration. By Atty. Camilo “Bong” Montesa

BANGKOK, Thailand (MindaNews/27 June) -- I am writing this note here in Bangkok where I am participating in a reflection session with social activists...

PEACETALK: Silencing 100,000 voices- The need for global & local solidarity with Mindanao. J...

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 April) -- My hands and arms are getting tired of being pulled, grasped, clasped and yanked.  Is this what it feels like to be a celebrity?  We’ve been driving since 6 am when we met at Freedom Park in Downtown Davao, the main city in the southern Island of Mindanao, Philippines.  The plan for “Peace Power Day” (on March 18, 2009) was to travel a 500 km circular route through the 4-province Magindanaoan region of central Mindanao and then back to Davao.  An ambitious goal for our “Peace Caravan” of 21 vehicles plastered with banners saying the likes of, “Save the Evacuees,” and, “Ceasefire Now!” 

PEACETALK: Our freedoms, their struggles. By Rick R. Flores

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace—Jeremiah 6:14
DATU PIANG, Maguindanao (MindaNews/15 April) -- Here at last is the ‘bakwit’ country. Just like the name of the first village entering this long stretch of depressed humanity called Barangay Salvo,  where one would be greeted with a barrage of worn-out hopes from faces not keenly captured in airwaves and podcasts, either in recycled newspapers or in picture messages from high-end mobile phones. Here is the country that denies the scrapping of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain by the Supreme Court. Here the MOA-AD is alive and felt among the hearts and minds of the Bangsamoro. Here is the country that tells the very meaning of internal displacement even when government social welfare agencies have tried to obfuscate their existence.

PEACETALK: What happened to the Mindanao pace process? By Ishak V. Mastura

(Presented on the first day of the conference on Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao 3: Strategic Planning for Peace Post MOA-AD,  in Penang, Malaysia, on January 12 to 15. The author is the Deputy Executive Secretary at the Office of the Regional Governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).

The Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in a 2005 comparative study of conflicts in Sri Lanka, Philippines and Malaysia noted that the Filipino conflict perspective in the Mindanao (Moro) conflict:

PEACETALK: What happened to the peace process? By Mary Ann Arnado

(This paper was read on the first day of the Consolidation for Peace (COP3) for Mindanao: Strategic Planning for Peace for Post MOA-AD at Park Royal Hotel, Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia, January 12-16, 2009. Ms Arnado, secretary-general of the Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus, was unable to attend the conference).

I like this first topic in the Plenary Session of this Conference.  What happened to the Peace Process?  The question is very simple yet extremely difficult to satisfy given the situation when we seem to be in a state of quandary and denial.  The irony here lies in the fact that in the midst and thick of the MOA-AD controversy, we were all there and yet we seem to miss the story.  Indeed, just what had happened?  If I may add, how did the peace advocates allow this to happen? 

PEACETALK: Reflections on the GRP-MILF Peace Process, By Rudy B. Rodil

(This paper was read at the Consolidation for Peace-3 for Mindanao: Strategic Planning for Peace Post MOA-AD, jointly Organized by Research and Education for Peace, Universiti Sains Malaysia, the Southeast Asian Conflict Studies Network, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency at the Park Royal Hotel, Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Penang, Malaysia, on January 12 to 16. Mr. Rodil and other participants from the Lanao area were unable to make it to Penang as flights were cancelled from Cagayan de Oro to Manila on January 11 and 12-MindaNews ed).

ILIGAN CITY (MIndaNews/17 January) -- I wish I can be with you today but it seems that nature has it own plans. I have the tickets, to and from Penang, Malaysia, thanks to the organizers of this gathering, but I cannot cross the 96 kilometer stretch between my home in Iligan and the airport in Cagayan de Oro. Heavy rains, flood, and a cracked bridge had their way. 

PEACETALK: An open letter to the new GRP Panel negotiating peace with the MILF....

Let me begin by offering my profoundest congratulations to the Chairman and the members on their recent appointments to the government negotiating panel for talks with the MILF. I assure the panel this is going to be a great challenge and, as I may add, an exciting one! It is an enterprise worth embarking upon as it provides an opportunity to do a whole lot of good -- peace, development, justice not just in Mindanao but the whole Philippines as well. Alas! It is also an enterprise which, if not handled well, will bring this country to perdition. Peace or perdition? The future of peace negotiations is in your hands.


PEACETALK: Misdirection of the Muslim-Moro agenda in Constitutionalism.(1) By Michael O. Mastura

1st of 2 parts

COTABATO CITY (Mindanews/22 May) -- To speak of a configuration of forces in potent politics is to rule out, as inconsequential, the Government peace talks with the MILF even if its primacy is supposedly to accent the "principled" use of diplomacy with greater impact as well as popularly answerable to stakeholders and their constituencies. Thus regarded, as essentially meaningless, the consequence of interactions could lead to any number of different outcomes or crises. So I have sought in this analysis to redirect understandings of "public consent" in regard to Muslim-Moro agenda, which is narrowly examined in the context of a secessionist crisis in constitutionalism. To ask why recurrent questions of public policy are not thought of as "constitutional questions" (in normal times) is to mistake the character of constitutional crisis in general. Simply digesting the configurative role that constitutional issues might play in the Government-MILF peace process is not the point of immediate importance, however.

PEACE TALK: Message of Peace and Hope on the Day of the Corregidor Infamy:...

PEACE TALK: Message of Peace and Hope on the Day of the Corregidor Infamy!
Implications on the Mindanao Peace Process
by Mohd. Musib M. Buat and Hadji Abdulla U. Camlain
MILF Peace Panel Representatives

(Delivered at Corregidor Island on the 40th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre, 18 March 2008)

CORREGIDOR  ISLAND -- We greet you in peace and may the blessings of Almighty Allah bestowed on us my dear brothers and sisters, on this solemn day in commemoration of the infamy and tragedy on this hallowed rock, the Island of Corregidor - a symbol of freedom and the resting place of young Moro trainees who became martyrs (shahid), one day in March 1968 - forty years ago were murderously massacred by their military instructors on orders from higher-ups for their alleged 'mutiny' or refusal to infiltrate and sow terror on their fellow brother Muslims in the neighboring State of Sabah (North Borneo), Malaysia.

PEACETALK: Lighting the way forward. By Silvestre Afable. Jr.

(Secretary Silvestre Afable, Jr. wrote this as foreword to the book, “The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GRP-MILF Peace Process” by Salah Jubair, the pseudonym of MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal. Afable wrote this in June, a month before he resigned as chair. But he still sits at the panel as senior adviser.  MindaNews was granted permission by the publisher, Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, to publish this foreword. The title was taken by MindaNews from the concluding paragraph of the foreword). 

The world welcomes fighters seeking to lay aside the sword for a moment and take up the pen, such as the author of this book, which offers not a glimpse as denoted by its title, but a panorama of the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Negotiation Front (MILF), plus sidelights that illuminate the main pathways.

PEACETALK: Sleepless in Basilan: A postscript

ISABELA CITY (MindaNews/27 August) --  Expecting  bangs and booms upon my return to Basilan province after more than ten years of absence, I was in for a big surprise.

The same warmth of welcome from people at the port you don’t even know by name and the impish smile from children as you pass them by. No rolling cannons to rock you up from being mesmerized and endlessly marveling the beautiful seascape that divides Zamboanga Hermosa and Basilan.

PEACETALK: Peacemakers as Agents of Change

(General Gurrea is chair of the government peace panel’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities. This speech was delivered at the forum “Peril and Promise in Mindanao: The Peace Process and its Prospects,” held June 19 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City, sponsored by the United States Institute for Peace.)

The guide question for this afternoon’s panel discussion, “Is the Philippines Ready for Peace in Mindanao?” sounds both simple and complex. It begs to be answered not just by people like me who are engaged in the peace process with the MILF. Others—businessmen, religious leaders, sociologists, social workers, even psychologists—deserve to be heard as well. And while different people may have varied opinions on the matter, so disparate too are the socio-economic, political, and cultural indicators of the nation’s readiness for genuine peace.

PEACETALK: Who gains from the kidnapping of a priest?

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (MindaNews/14 June) -- The recent kidnapping of an Italian priest, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, PIME, in Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay province on June 11, 2007 had a far-reaching implication on the relations of Muslims and Christians not only in Mindanao but throughout the world and can affect the ongoing peace process between the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).