ARMM peace summit launched

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/21 July) — Aiming to redefine the active contribution of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the completion of the GRP-MNLF (Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro National Liberation Front) 1996 Final Peace Agreement and the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), ARMM’s maiden episode of region-wide peace summit was launched here on Tuesday.

Attended by various Muslim sectors and backed by the present leadership of ARMM under OIC Governor Ansaruddin Adiong, they shared their visions, ideas, perspective, experiences and practices that will enhance the ongoing peace process.

Separate versions of the multi-sectoral consultative gathering will immediately follow in Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi provinces, all ARMM components, and in Cotabato City, where a two-day regional level consultation is set to wrap up the provincial episodes, program organizers said.

The event has aimed to analyze and consolidate ideas and practices as basis in creating a peace framework and policy agenda for peace and stability in the region and as basis of action for national leadership in formulating a peace agenda in Southern Philippines.

The group is expected to come up with a six-year peace and development agenda that can be presented to President Benigno Aquino III as well as to Congress and other major policy shapers of the country for their appropriate actions that should be able to address the issues and concerns of Muslim constituents.

Adiong, in his statement to the media, has stressed the significance of this activity in the current Aquino government and in the quest for peace and development in Mindanao. He said there is a need to consider more seriously the views of the different Muslim sectors.

“Let us therefore charter the destiny of the Bangsamoro people by exploring initiatives that are responsive to treating the ARMM bureaucratic administrative lapses vis-à-vis MNLF-GRP unfinished mutual undertakings under the 1996 peace agreement taking into account the ongoing MILF negotiations. A three-fold consideration must be incorporated if we must design an objective, comprehensive, and possibly all-embracing solution to the age-old peace and order problem in Mindanao”, Adiong said.

Romy Sema, the executive director of the general secretariat of the MNLF Central Committee, said the workshop has gained comprehensive output. He is happy to note that the MILF is one with them in this pursuit for peace.

Adiong, chair of the peace summit steering committee, wanted a departure from the previous “passive” stance of ARMM leaders in the implementation of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement and in the GRP- MILF talks.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu has expressed his active support to the peace-building consultations, saying his fresh administration is pursuing reconciliation and pacification campaign.

The inputs from the provincial consultations would be collated and factored into the two-day regional peace summit, where an ARMM position paper will be crafted for submission to the Aquino administration for possible adoption in its peace agenda, he added. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)