ADVOCACY MINDANOW: Hello, what’s happening?

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RISEN CHRIST – The story of Salvation is made complete and fulfilled with a Risen Christ. Happy Easter to all!


“RELOAD ” – I was in Iloilo last weekend to bury an uncle. But it was a good occasion to “reload” on the now famous Ilonggo “tical”. You see, many Ilonggos like me proudly admit, of course at our expense, that we are braggarts (“ticalon” or boastful). The joke is on us but we relish the reputation. Before, we used to say that we visited Iloilo “para mag renew tical”. Today, it’s to reload like cell phones. We need to reload from time to time by visiting our hometown Janiuay. This time “unli” guid!




NOTHING ‘S HAPPENING – I met Cotabato Archbishop Quevedo a few days ago who complained that since Malacañang distributed the functions of the Cotabato River Basin Task Force (which he chaired) to three government agencies, “nothing has been done since then.”
Nobody’s noticing yet but when the floods strike again, you will see why the good bishop is so worried now. What’s happening?


BISHOP-ULAMA IGNORED – I was really surprised when informed that the Bishop Ulama Conference, composed of bishops of all faiths and the Muslim ulama in Mindanao, is now sidelined and not tapped in the ongoing peace process. BUC is internationally recognized as the pioneer in interfaith dialogue. It marshaled the holding of peace dialogues and conferences and consultations of the island region’s stakeholders in support of the peace process. Archbishop Capalla, one of the convenors, told me BUC has been totally ignored by government since the start of the PNoy administration.


It is obvious OPAPP does not see value in the collective work and wisdom of our religious leaders. This means Malacañang does not understand Mindanao. Hello, what’s happening up there?


REAL REFORMS – There will be no real reforms if we only change our political leaders during elections. Changing our leaders, without systemic changes, will just allow perpetuation of our country’s ills. We need to review our fundamental law to re-tune it to contemporary realities.
Even the much-awaited GPH-MILF agreement (although lately described as “in a stalemate”) requires constitutional amendments. The government should not delude itself by believing that the “Bangsamoro question” can be best answered without amending the present constitution. There’s no other way to go! Believe me.


CAPTURED BY NPAs – Last week, Davao del Norte Bishop Manlapaz and I spent a little time recalling together our trip to Europe many years ago in negotiating with NDF leaders Joma Sison and Louie Jalandoni for the release of Army General Obillo and Major Montealto, who were captured by NPA rebels in a Davao farm area.
What was interesting was that after the “humanitarian mission” headed by Archbishop Capalla successfully returned home from the Netherlands, the bishop recalled how some politicians “hijacked” the event and suddenly figured prominently during the actual release of the Army officers by Commander Parago in the Davao highlands. We had a good laugh together.
Gen. Obillo by the way has already passed away while officer Montealto is still in active service. Commander Parago still holds sway in his Davao Paquibato hideaway.
(Lawyer Jesus G. Dureza was government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the MILF under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2003 and was later named Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (2005 to 2008). He heads Advocacy MindaNOW Foundation, Inc. and was recently named publisher of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times. This piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW.)

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