ADVOCACY MINDANOW: Only in da Pilipins!

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REFORMS – Pope Francis made drastic reforms in the finance sector of the Catholic Church in Rome by firing the long-staying cardinal who had long controlled the Church funds. In the Philippines, President P-Noy refused to fire Budget Secretary Butch Abad even if the Supreme Court caught him red handed violating the Constitution. “Only in da Pilipins” !


POLITICS – Too early for the political season to start boiling at this time. This shows we Filipinos enjoy politics. It is one way of numbing our hardships. At the end of the day, those popular and moneyed still win – never mind if they are incompetent or corrupt. Unless we all wake up!


MAR ROXAS – When Secretary Mar Roxas publicly proposed that President Aquino should get another six-year term to continue the so-called reforms of the “daang matuwid”, it can be interpreted as his (Roxas) admission that he cannot win if he himself runs for president. For a while, I thought it was a big joke. However, after a few days, some quarters started giving serious thought and supporting a six-year term extension for P-noy although our Constitution does not allow it. Hellooow!


NO AGREEMENT STILL – The 10-day “workshop” between the government and MILF panels at the Davao Waterfront Insular Hotel to resolve issues ended last weekend without any consensus draft for submission to Congress. They will resume more work this week. Let’s all patiently wait. The task is not easy. In the meantime, rogue BIFF forces are escalating attacks in Maguindanao area, displacing thousands of civilians.


MNLF PACT – A few weeks from now, the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front ( MNLF) of Nur Misuari will be 18 years old, on September 2. Lately, Nur declared he’s back to his original aspiration: independence. Now, we are trying to finish another, separate peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), originally only a break-away group of the MNLF. I think we are missing out on something important here. We do not see consolidation and stock-taking. As if there are two divides amongst our Muslim population. We must give the same attention to the 1996 peace pact even as we forge a new one. Otherwise, we will go nowhere! No amount of peace pacts will bring peace.


IN TURMOIL – We are monitoring the turmoil now going on in Iraq in the Middle East. The Islamic ISIS is slaughtering Christians, forcing the US to save and rescue them by launching bomb attacks. Nearby, Israel and Gaza are bombing each other. In Libya, fighting is also raging. Meanwhile, Russia made counter-moves to also ban products of the US and Europe in response to an embargo due to the Ukrainian incident. Disturbing times!

[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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