BAGUIO CITY – The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) admitted there is no magical solution for the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao but steps must be undertaken by the government in order to be able to convince the people to follow the path of peace and maximize the development potentials of the region in the future.
MILF Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, who is also the chairperson of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC), said there is only one direction towards peace in Mindanao but there is a need for both the MILF and the government to sustain the gains of the peace process in order to reach the final destination of lasting peace that would subsequently translate to the development of Mindanao.
“Everyone must follow the lone path to peace since the realization of peace cannot be done overnight. We must sustain the initial gains of the peace process for the benefit of the present and future generations of Filipinos,” Iqbal stressed.
He pointed out the enactment of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is just an integral part of the peace process and the putting in place of good leaders, good justice system, good peacekeeping initiatives would pave the way for the realization of peace because the people will be convinced to support the process up to the end.
According to him, the people of Mindanao are already tired of the over four decades of conflict that deprived them of development opportunities and the BBL is just one of the steps towards the putting in place of peace initiatives that would solve the age-old conflicts.
“All the things that happened in the past are just water under the bridge. Let us take them as food for thought in our quest for peace because we are also peace-loving people and we want to show the realization of peace through the BBL mechanism that will be put in place,” Iqbal added.
The MILF peace panel chairman also admitted the frustration of the Moros on the failure of government to deliver its commitment to pass the enabling law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CABB) which is the BBL was at its height over the past several months but the MILF leadership waged an all-out campaign for people to be sober and patient in awaiting the passage of the BBL even up to the next administration to show their commitment to the realization of lasting peace in Mindanao.
He cited what is important now is for the Moros to persevere in working out the passage of the BBL even beyond the Aquino administration because peace would mean the game changer of the current state of Mindanao and for the people to benefit from its rich resources translating to the upliftment of the living condition of millions of people who are still living below the poverty line.
Iqbal claimed putting in place the right system and the right kind of leaders will convince the Moro people to embrace peace and contribute in consolidated efforts to improve the living condition of majority of the populace in the areas that will be included in the domain.
By Dexter A. See