Run for peace, Caravan for peace

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 Oct) —  The methods differ but the calls remain the same: No to all-out war, Yes to Peace.

“Running priest” Fr. Robert Reyes will lead an “all out-run for all-out peace” Sunday morning in Davao City to mobilize support  for the peace process while  caravan for peace will move from Cagayan de Oro to Manila from November 3 to 7  to support the call for “all-out justice” by President Aquino “as against the all-out war called for by warmongers.”

The Reform ARMM Now coalition announced in a statement that  together with other peace networks, they will stage a caravan for peace dubbed “Lakbayan para sa Kapayapaan” from November 3-7 with around 30 vehicles joining the five-day caravan from Cagayan de Oro City.

The caravan will end in Manila on November 7, Eid’l Adha or the Feast of the Holy Sacrifice, a national holiday.

RAN said the caravan will also “highlight the quest of the Bangsamoro for recognition of their identity as a people and nation and to make the Bangsamoro struggle become a national struggle, become part of the national consciousness.”

More groups also issued statements against calls for an “all-out war.”

The Association of Women Religious in the Archdiocese of Cotabato ( AWRAC ) in a statement opposed the “all-out war” calls of Manila-based leaders, saying it will “worsen the situation because the lives of all people will be at stake,” that it will be the civilians who will suffer, and “anger and hatred among people will escalate especially among those who lost their loved ones because of war.”

An all-out war, AWRAC added in its statement signed by Sr. Betty Cardinas, OND,  will “cause displacement of many people in the area as has happened before, during the time of former president Estrada when he declared an all out war” in 2000.

Nearly a million villagers, mostly in Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Lanao areas were displaced by Estrada’s “all-out war” in 2000;  a little over 400,000 in the 2003 Buliok war under the Arroyo administration and another 600,000 in 2008, also under the Arroyo administration, in the aftermath of the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the MILF.

The Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) on the other hand issued a statement along with the
Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace  (IRSMP) expressed their support for President Aquino’s stand against an “all-out war,” as they emphasized that “Peace is the only option to resolve the 40-year war in Mindanao.”

It also expressed support for the “all-out justice” response of the President to “catch, punish or neutralize those responsible for the killing and wounding of soldiers and civilians,whether they are valid rebels, lost commands or bandits.”

The statement urged warmongers to “desist from calling for an ‘all-out war’ and stoking anger and confusion through their provocative or ill-conceived statements.”

PAZ and IMRSP called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “exercise prudence and abide by the provisions of the ceasefire mechanisms in operating against those accused of perpetrating the recent killings of soldiers and civilians” and for the MILF to “police its ranks to rein its restive members and to exercise its influence over armed groups to prevent them from initiating further acts of violence that could further imperil the peace process.”

They also called on the media to “report responsibly, objectively, accurately on incidents and developments about the crisis such as to help resolve it at the sooner time and hasten peace-making in Mindanao” and the local government units and lead government agencies particularly in the ARMM to “exercise good governance and deliver on their duty to provide basic services to the people and thus preserve their security.”

The SocSarGen Peace Network, an organization of institutions and individuals in South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos, said it opposes an “all-out war” because “in war, no one wins, everybody loses.”

It expressed support to President Aquino’s stand against an “all-out war” and called on both government and MILF to return to the negotiating table and called on media to “help in disseminating the correct information to the public and to push for the peace process in Mindanao.”

In Pilipino, the peace network said, “Enough of War. We can achieve peace through sincere dialogue.”

The Mindanao Peaceweavers, called on the government and MILF peace panels to ensure that the ceasefire mechanisms already in place act swiftly to prevent further loss of lives.

Both panels, it added, “must ensure that the JCCH (Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities) will act swiftly to prevent further loss of lives” and that other mechanisms of the peace talks such as the AHJAG  (Ad Hoc Joint Action Group) and the IMT (International Monitoring Team)  ”must act immediately and help defuse the situation.”

It added that it would be “supremely tragic if the continuing loss of lives will hold back the voices of peace and allow those seeking total war to triumph.”

Earlier, the Confederation of Mindanao Governors, City Mayors and Municipal Mayors’ League Presidents and other civil society organizations issued statements opposing calls for an “all-out war” and supporting President Aquino’s call for “all-out justice.”

In Barangay Sinuda, Kitaotao, Bukidnon,  hundreds of Lumads (indigenous peoples) formed a human chain along the national highway on Saturday to air their calls for government to clarify provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and strengthen its implementation; for the business sector to respect and notify them of activities within their ancestral domain; for justice for the Lumads who died protecting their rights.

Bae Magdalena Herbilla, ancestral domain coordinator of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus also said the group, Federation of Matigsalog-Manobo Tribal Council, Inc. (Femmatrics), also called for a stop to the recruitment of Lumads into different religions and for the different religions to respect their cultural beliefs. They also called on the public to respect the Lumad’s rights in an out of their ancestral domain.  (MindaNews)