PEACETALK: Look at the larger picture, not just the tree but the whole forest

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 28 November) — The peace process has established mechanisms. If there are problems that involve people on both sides, GPH (Philippine Government) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), these problems have to be resolved through these mechanisms. We cannot afford a duplication of the Mamasapano Incident on a larger scale or the 2003 Buliok war.

That said, the President has to refer any issue re: MILF NW Front Commander Bravo Macapaar to OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza so he can sort this out with the MILF and GPH implementing panels and/or with the MILF Central Committee of which the BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Froces) Chief of Staff is a standing member. Matters of military nature, particularly with regard to discipline and behavioral issues within the MILF armed forces, are within the territory of the BIAF Chief of Staff.

Needless to say, what impeded the progress of the peace process and jeopardized the gains of the peace negotiations under previous regimes were violations of the ceasefire agreement by the latter which ignored the mechanisms that ensure that no such violations occur.

Look at the larger picture, not just the tree but the whole forest.

The adversaries of the Duterte administration, notably the yellow politicians, the drug lords and anarchist elements, will only be too happy to see another big war breaking out in the Bangsamoro and Mindanao which constitute the strong base of support of the present administration. Any outbreak of war on a large scale will dismantle this base of support and therefore will be advantageous to the destabilizers of the administration.

Meanwhile, President Digong Duterte has to be apprised of this and advised accordingly. He has to be given the correct and accurate picture of the obtaining situation. This means separating the chaff from the grain, separating facts from exaggerations and misinformation or disinformation. Moro Muslims in his government can perform this role of apprising and advising the President to avoid at all costs a strategic “misencounter” between the President and the Moros who support him and will defend him from any threat, internal or external.

It will be a great tragedy if our common aspiration to address and redress historical and current injustices in the Bangsamoro by way of system change will all come to naught because of an outbreak of unnecessary war that puts us all back to zero and, worse, restore the ancient regime and ultimately preserve the status quo! (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Robert Marohombsar Alonto was a member of the peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 2003 and Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 2014 until the end of the Aquino administration. He served as member of the technical committee of the MILF peace panel from 2001 to 2003).