But for us, civil society organizations and peace stakeholders in Kutawato Region, supporting or opposing the IMT pullout, is of least question. Everything boils down on the issue of government’s lack of sincerity and political will in working for the attainment of genuine peace in war-torn Mindanao.
The Mindanaoans are already tired of war. We have already suffered enough bloody armed conflicts and violence. We want peace, and we want it to be in our own terms and context.
We, however, would like to extend our ineffable gratitude to the Malaysian Government for its laudable contribution in pushing the GRP-MILF peace talks forward, thereby helping in working for the attainment of peace and justice in the land. Since the talks started in 1997 and Malaysia led the IMT in 2000, the number of armed conflicts between the military and the MILF has dramatically declined. Millions of properties and tens of thousands of innocent lives—including children, women, and other vulnerable sectors of society—have been spared from the havoc of war.
Towards this end, we put forward the following calls:
1) the GRP and the MILF to immediately resume the formal peace talks and sign the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain based on the agreed consensus points, and
2) for Congress to legislate a postponement of the ARMM elections to allow time for the peace negotiators of government and the MILF to finally conclude the peace negotiations and the government and the MNLF to complete the process of review on the 1996 peace agreement.
3) appeal to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to exercise her full powers as President of the Republic of the Philippines and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in upholding the primacy of the peace talks and by using her political will to finally resolve the Mindanao conflict.
4) appeal to MILF to exercise more patience and restraint in dealing with the GRP in the peace process.
Finally, we appeal to the international community to help us in pushing the talks forward to attain the kind of peace that we want, not what others want for us.
Kutawato Regional Management Committee
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
Rahib L. Kudto
# (064) 390-3184
# (064) 390-2726
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Inc. (CBCS)
KFI Compound, F. Tamse St, Poblacion IV
9600, Cotabato City
Tel / Fax No.: +63 (064) 421-5420
E-mail: [email protected]