FUTURE GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION (FGN)

Alamat Perhubungan

FUTURE GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION
No 72-1, Tingkat 1
Jalan Prima SG 3
PRIMA SRI GOMBAK
68100 Batu Caves, SELANGOR


Tel:    03-6187 7020
Faks:    03-6186 6020


Email: globalfgn@gmail.com

Donation

Laporan Mavi Marmara

Ahli Online

We have 16 guests online

FGN calls for resumption of peace talks in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail

5 September 2008, Future Global Network (FGN) Foundation, a network of Malaysian Muslim NGOs that aims towards humanity’s peaceful co-existence and conflict resolution based on human rights, justice and fairness, calls upon the Philippine Government (GRP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to stop shooting and return to talk peace. There is nothing to gain or to prove anything in waging a war except pride and prejudice that both sides have to sacrifice in the interest of peace and stability in this part of the world. 

The last frame of reference on the GRP-MILF peace process was the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) which formal signing was cancelled by the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Philippines Supreme Court a day before. As such, the solution to the on-going war is for both sides to return to the MoA-AD and pick up the pieces from there towards the greater interest of the greatest number. The interest of the vociferous minority should not be allowed to ruin peace, which the international peace-loving community holds dearly in high esteem, at the expense of the silent majority and national aspirations.

No all out war assurance

At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kuwait-owned Global Gateway Logistics City last August 25, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said: “We have never deviated from the objectives of the peace process. There is no all-out war. We are doing this (military operation) to have all-out peace in Mindanao .” Although in fact, neither side is talking peace anymore while guns are blazing at the frontline - that only suggest the situation is moving towards an ‘all-out war’- the leaders on both sides still maintain commitments to the peace process.

President Arroyo, at the same occasion, was also quoted as saying: “We will remove all obstacles to peace.”  In this context, however, the obstacles to peace are not solely the MILF “lost commands”. Those who maneuvered the demise of the MoA-AD are also guilty of obstructing peace, meaning the onus also falls on the government to fulfill its obligations towards the revival and implementation of the MoA-AD.

As a proverbial baby borne out of the GRP-MILF wedlock, the MoA-AD should have been nurtured and cared for despite any perceived congenital defects in its original shape. Such defects could be cured later when tackling the comprehensive compact of the Agreement. Therefore, the MoA-AD should never be 'killed' for whatever reason.

Media plays psychological embedding

The Philippine media pundits who control the airwaves and the populist print are also contributing towards the break-up of the peace process. Instead of creating an atmosphere for the resumption of the stalled talks, some media moguls even drum up stories and photographs that rekindle age-old hatred and dissensions among the protagonists. As an example, The Philippines Daily Inquirer featured the once dreaded “Ilaga” gang for two consecutive days. Such publicity stunt rekindles enmity, hatred and suspicion between Muslims and Christians who had already learnt to live together in peace in Mindanao under one roof . In essence, the media is also guilty of putting up obstacles to peace.

The MoA-AD

The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain is a framework for the future comprehensive agreement. It took over four years of hard bargaining between the MILF and GRP panel of negotiators to achieve. It would uphold political autonomy(subject to the Philippine Constitution which would be amended) for the Bangsamoro people in certain areas of Mindanao within what would be the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) to exercise self rule.  

A group of local government officials in areas affected by the MoA-AD submitted a petition to the Supreme Court which released on August 4 a temporary restraining order to stop the signing of the Agreement in Kuala Lumpur on August 5, 2008. Since then, there has been no Supreme Court decision yet on whether the MoA-AD is really unconstitutional or still negotiable. But a seemingly all-out war involving helicopters and aircraft bombers has been raging in some parts of Mindanao .

The detractors of the MoA-AD contended that the Agreement gives away a large portion of the territory to the Moros that amount to dismembering the country. Some say that the BJE is just another name for an independent Islamic State and that President Arroyo wants the MoA-AD as a vehicle for Constitutional Amendments to include extension of her term. Others alleged that the United States influenced the peace process because it wants a military base and/or has economic interests in the area.

An analysis of the above contentions shows that the MoA-AD is rejected not on its own merits but more on wild assumptions and fear of the unknown.

Archbishop Orlando. B. Quevedo of Cotabato wrote: “It is my firm conviction that if only the MOA-AD is allowed to speak for itself or examined on its own merits, it can be a good working document for lasting peace in Mindanao .”     He further lamented:

“The great tragedy for the country is that the MOA-AD is being rejected for reasons that can be resolved or may not even be in the MOA-AD. It is as though our fears and prejudices have become the measure for judging the Memorandum of Agreement. There is no substitute to actually reading and studying the document – in itself – to know what it says, to know what it does not say, and to realize the implications of all these. By rejecting the Memorandum of Agreement on the basis of misconception, prejudices and misinformation, we may be throwing out a “piece of paper” that could very well be a good working basis for lasting peace in Mindanao.”

Government Peace Panel dissolved

Eduardo Ermita, Executive Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, in a Press Statement on September 3, said that the government peace panel has been dissolved. The statement however did not indicate the government stand on the peace process, although tactically the GRP cannot afford to cancel the peace process. Nevertheless, it did not say when it may resume.

For its part, the MILF took the government’s decision to dissolve its peace panel as normal, saying it is the prerogative of either party to change their panel whenever the need arises. The MILF is still hopeful that the GRP will consider returning to the negotiation table, even suggesting that those who opposed the MoA-AD be appointed to take over the new GRP peace panel so that their objections can be addressed squarely.

As for the GRP demand for the MILF to turn over the two erring MILF commanders (Kato and Macapaar), its chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said, “it is not stated in the Ceasefire Agreement that ceasefire violators would be turned over to the other side. The MILF will deal with them subject to the MILF code of ethics and rules of engagements.”

As more civilians are falling victims of the atrocities, FGN appeal to both sides for a moratorium and to reconsider the resumption of the peace process as soon as possible in order to arrive at a just and lasting solution to save on manpower, energy and resources which can be channeled to the development of the economic potential towards peace and stability of the Filipino nation.

 

AHMAD AZAM ABDUL RAHMAN
Chairman, Future Global Network (FGN) Foundation
Kuala Lumpur