Inter-religious group calls for support on Framework Agreement

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/15 Oct) – The Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) urged their fellow religious and lay leaders, including associates and collaborators in the big family of civil society in Mindanao, to throw their support behind the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The Framework Agreement was signed on Monday in Malacañang by chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen and his Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) counterpart Mohagher Iqbal.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, MILF chairman Ebrahim Al Hadj Murad, and other top government officials stood as witnesses to the signing of the Framework Agreement.

“The peace talks have been an important, integral part of our social agenda for the past many years, and before us now stands the most crucial moments in our joint concern and unrelenting effort. Peace is in our hands, as we often say,” the IRSMP said in a statement.

The signatories of the statement are Prof. Ali Yacub, Al Haj, Muslim convenor; Reverend Paulino Ersando, Evangelicals convenor; Nulhamdo Cegales, indigenous community convenor; and Fr. Angel Calvo, Catholic/lead convenor.

The IRSMP urged, too, the few but significant factions and disgruntled parties, and traditional or professional critics, to lay aside their fears and prejudices and give peace a chance.

“No political agreement is perfect on paper, until we make it perfect and most of all fair and fulfilling to all by dint of our deed,” the IRSMP stressed.

The IRSMP also urged all peace-loving citizens and all other stakeholders, including Muslims, Christians and indigenous communities, to persevere in actively working for peace.

“Love peace, talk peace, do peace, pray peace. Goodwill and platitudes are not enough. Peace is the highest prize, and because it is so it requires also the toughest of tasks. But with all of us working together, with the Framework Agreement showing the high way, the golden prize will soon be ours as a gift of God and reward for our tears,” they further said.

They also said that genuine, lasting and long-wanted peace for and by the people of Mindanao, most especially the Bangsamoros, is now within our reach and grasp and possible in our present generation.

“All patriotic Bangsamoros and Mindanaoans justifiably and joyfully celebrate, therefore, the forging and signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malaysia and Manila, respectively.”

The IRSMP described the Framework Agreement as a roadmap “to this new, unfolding chapter of peace.”

“Let us light that road as we hand in hand journey its way with our sincere commitment and cooperation to help realize its vision and objectives, to reach its golden destination.”

Meanwhile, the IRSMP, which is composed of more than 60 individuals and organizational members from various sectors and faiths, declared its support to the Agreement and its principals – the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Philippine government peace negotiators, political leaders and working groups such as the International Contact Group, mediator Malaysia and others.

The IRSMP works to create harmonious relationships within and among individuals, groups, from various sectors and levels; and, develop an awareness, appreciation and understanding of problems and issues affecting the local Muslim, Christian, and Indigenous Peoples’ communities.

The IRSMP noted that the GPH and MILF peace panels, International Contact Group, mediator Malaysia and others have worked and will continue to work hard to set up the new alternative governance system to make the dream of peace and progress based on truth, reconciliation and justice come true so soon.

The IRSMP congratulated and thanked them for their historic and meaningful achievement and wished them God’s blessings and Godspeed “as you – and we with you – struggle on.” (MindaNews)