Bike for Peace slated in Cotabato City, Maguindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – Some 500 bikers and peace advocates are expected to join the Bike for Peace on May 29 in Cotabato City and Maguindanao which aims to gain greater public support to the peace process.

“Going the extra mile for peace in Mindanao will be the statement of the biking enthusiasts and peace advocates in this affair,” the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said.

The 36-km ride, which is spearheaded by the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, starts at 6:30 am at the Cotabato City Hall and ends municipal hall of Upi, Maguindanao, passing through the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, the OPAPP said.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF resumed in February this year, in Kuala Lumpur. The two parties are scheduled to meet again for another round of formal exploratory talks in June.

The government panel is expected to submit its counterproposal to the MILF’s Comprehensive Compact which contains the Moro group’s starting position for a politically negotiated settlement.

Two years ago, the OPAPP conducted a bike for peace activity in Metro Manila to kick off the  National Peace Consciousness Month.

A bike for peace led by Fr. Amado Picardal was also held in 2008 along the main thoroughfares of this city. The participants included other Catholic priests and an imam who joined calls for the resumption of talks with both the Moro and communist rebels.

Various organization have been invited to take part in the May 29 event, including the Initiatives for International Dialogue, Mindanao Human Rights Action Center, Mindanao People’s Caucus, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP), and Muslim Organization of Government Officials and Professionals.

The Eastern Mindanao Command, 6th Infantry Division, Cotabato Off Road Enthusiasts and Karancho Motorcycle Club were also invited. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)