Reveal contents of any peace proposal, bishop asks

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 August) – Malaybalay Bishop Jose A. Cabantan said any proposal for a peaceful resolution to the Mindanao conflict should be made transparent even as he preferred to defer his comment on the proposed sub-state for the Moro people while nothing has been made public yet.

Cabantan said he and the public need to know the details to be able to join in the discussion.

“Let the contents of the proposal be known in public so we can participate in the discussion and weigh its pros and cons,” he told MindaNews in a text message Monday.

The bishop said he did not want a repeat of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008.

“It was not transparent. Hence, it is good to be transparent and clear on the terms of the agreement like the so-called sub-state, for instance” he added.

Cabantan was referring to the botched agreement that would have given the Moro people greater autonomy and wider territory depending on the outcome of the plebiscites to be held in areas proposed for inclusion in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

Critics charged that the MOA-AD was crafted without consultations and was giving away Philippine sovereignty in parts of Mindanao.

In an earlier statement, GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen said they prefer that negotiations with the MILF be done at the negotiating table rather than through the media.

He also revealed that the GPH’s proposal to resolve the conflict in Mindanao will be presented to the MILF on August 22.

“In our view, the MILF’s release of details of their proposal is part of their effort to check the sentiment of various publics for their current positions,” he added in a statement released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

On August 12, Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. welcomed the idea of granting a sub-state to the Moro people as a solution to the 40-year old conflict in the region.

“The creation of the sub-state is the best solution so far. It has never been approached properly before,” Zubiri told reporters here, before meeting with mayors and vice mayors for his plan to form a local political party.

Zubiri made the statement after Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair admitted to reporters in Manila that the MILF had incorporated the botched MOA-AD in its draft proposal to government. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)