From the Philippine Star (Oct 10): Ceasefire holding as peace panels step up cooperation
The ceasefire between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is still holding with increasing cooperation from both sides to prevent any conflict, government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said yesterday.
Ferrer told the resumption of the 41st formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that the government and MILF ceasefire panels continue to have increased cooperation in preventing untoward incidents and containing criminal activities.
“This alone is good reason for all those concerned about peace in Mindanao, why it is important to pursue this process between the GPH and the MILF: so that this temporary ceasefire becomes permanent, and in becoming permanent, the other, better things become possible; and so that those who continue to take the path of violence will be isolated, and the rest who commit to peace will coalesce to bring about a broad consensus on the way forward,” Ferrer said.
She said the government, MILF peace panels and their negotiating partners in Kuala Lumpur and stakeholders in the peace process will need to work together to finally attain peace.
“We carry a great burden borne out of equally great expectations. We know that it will require a lot of hard work, the appropriate strategies, the effective mechanisms and collaborative approaches, at the soonest possible time,” Ferrer said.
She said it has taken the government and the MILF peace panel a long while to put down in words and phrases the framework agreement annexes because they want to guarantee the integrity of the document.
The gridlock between and among the three branches of government has reached a point whereby its demerits (no system is perfect) lord it over the merits. The outcome would necessarily lead to more problems and complications. A weak leader will lead him/herself to submission or inactivity. In the end, he or she is one of the victims.
Add the problem with the MNLF particularly involving Nur Misuari. Add the long delayed signing of the GPH-MILF comprehensive peace agreement. Add the upsurge of violence by various groups including the BIFF, Abu Sayyaf, and other radical groups, who are never satisfied with any arrangement. They will always demand for the utopian state, which is not anywhere and will never happen. The ideal is always in the psyche’ of people. Add the threat of the New People’s Army. The sum total is a mounting national headache, nay threat?
We never doubted the strength of character of President Benigno Aquino III. But he has to stay focus especially in handling the corrupt officials, the MNLF issue particularly Nur Misuari, and the long-delayed signing of the GPH-MILF comprehensive peace agreement (CPA). The strength of a nation comes with the ability of its leaders to act and decide on the most pressing issues and manage the rest and wait for the proper time to settle them.
But this success does not come in handy. It comes with many other factors like good moral values, love of fellowmen, correct decision, and, we repeat, decisiveness. And this will be incomplete without popular support, which President Aquino still enjoys to this day.
For one, the GPH-MILF peace negotiation must be in the constant radar of the President. So much time has been used by the parties, but to blame the hard nature of the issues like power-sharing and normalization as the cause of their inability to conclude the discussion early on is to play innocent of the other possible real reasons. We cannot blame the facilitation, because so far the Malaysian facilitator is discharging his responsibility exceptionally well. Rigidity is surely one of the reasons. We do not want to speculate on the other reasons.
Similarly, the MNLF problem should be handled consistently and appropriately. Allowing one man or few people to hijack what is best for the group is highly unfair and creates more complications in the future. The entire leadership of the MNLF should determine amongst themselves what should be done and what is good for them as a whole.
Leadership is not the franchise of one man. A leader is only good for a certain period of time, after that, he has to go either by his own free will or circumstances will force him out. Of the two, always outside forces determine the fate of leaders. Voluntary exit from power is so difficult to make, because power comes with it resources and other privileges.