Sunday, January 18, 2015

MILF: Editorial -- Thank you Pope Francis!

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Jan 16): Editorial: Thank you Pope Francis!

There is nothing we can ask for from the highest personality of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, except to thank him for “blessing” the
Bangsamoro peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Thank you Pope! We know how much value and influence your simple words work with people who follow and listen to you. Ordinary mortals can shout and shout to the world but only few people would listen to them, but that of a leader of 1.2 billion Catholics all over the globe including those in this country is unimaginable. The moral suasion penetrates the heart and soul of every Filipino Catholics; we are sure, including those in the highest echelon of government and the lawmakers.

This was not the first time the Pope has commended the peace-making efforts in Mindanao. Prior to leaving the Vatican City for his trip to Sri Lanka this week, the pontiff addressed the diplomatic corps and noted the peace agreement between the GPH and MILF as among the examples of dialogues used to bridge differences.

"I note with pleasure ‎that last March an agreement was signed to end long years of tension in the Philippines," Pope Francis said.

The Pope's "words of encouragement and blessing” follow the recent statement of the surviving framers of the 1987 Constitution expressing full support to the Bangsamoro Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) including its constitutionality. They said that the vision, spirit and the core principles behind the provisions on autonomous regions constitute the essential constitutionality of the proposed BBL.

Both statements came at a critical time as Congress enters the final, difficult stages of deliberation of the proposed BBL.

The MILF shared with the Aquino administration the expectation and prayers that the papal message serves as clarion call to all persons of goodwill, borrowing the words of Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, to work even harder, collectively harnessing the power of hope and perseverance, to overcome all obstacles and push national consensus towards a just and peaceful settlement of the armed conflict that has divided our people for too long."

Clearly, there has been no better time in the past and in the near future that the chance of resolving the Bangsamoro Question presents itself than today. Except for few naysayers or doomsayers, the entire nation and the international community, fourteen of the 18 surviving framers of the 1987 Constitution, and now Pope Francis by blessing the peace process urge us to solve this question now.

MILF: BLMI conducts Human Resource Development Planning

Posted to the MILF Website (Jan 18): BLMI conducts Human Resource Development Planning

The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) conducted a two-day Planning activity on Human Resource Development (HRD) from January 12-13, 2015 at the BLMI Training Center, Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
The activity was a continuation of similar program Philippines-Australia Human Resource Organization Development Faculty (PAHRODF) in coordination with the BLMI held at the same venue. Participants were members of the BLMI’s Steering Committee led by its Executive Director, Sheikh Mahmod S. Ahmad, working group members and volunteers.  It was facilitated by a dynamic and skilled PAHRODP team.
Assessing the BLMI organizational management and its status were among the objectives of the program to become more operational and responsive in coping up with various complex challenges in relation to its thrust as capacity building entity.
The program was opened with Islamic Invocation led by Brother Majid A. Nur, BLMI Steering Committee member from Isabela City, Basilan followed by Islamic orientation by Sheikh Ahmad.  Planning is a requisite in all undertakings before implementation.  Planning is setting viable directions aimed at achieving goals, Sheikh Ahmad said. 
Mrs. Femy D. Calderon presented the HRD consolidated overview based on the team’s previous gathered data from BLMI officials, members and other stakeholders. She also presented essential elements to strengthen the BLMI and become responsive to the needs of the Moro people; effectively deliver services to them and prepare them to efficiently participate in the proposed Bangsamoro Government. 
Significant alternatives, approaches and mechanisms in attaining success in one’s institution were presented by Mrs. Melot B. Atillo. She noted various concepts and mentioned some attributes for leaders and managers such as enhanced knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Mr. Jon Obillo and Mrs. Inday Sarona also provided valuable insights based on standardized approach and applications when administering an institution like BLMI. Both lecturers elucidated the concepts of leadership and management based on scientific approach which may be applied in BLMI.   
In day-two session. Mrs. Femy synthesized various concerns and issues that were previously discussed related to HRD Panning, Intervention and Risk mitigation. The participants were one in saying that BLMI personnel need to be capacitated and skillful to cope up with the existing challenges and well-prepared for the future especially when Bangsamoro Government is in place.  
In their closing message, the team from PAHRODC expressed their heartfelt gratitude to BLMI Management and its personnel for their openness and active participation during the activity.
Sheikh Ahmad on his part expressed his profound gratitude to the team for imparting knowledge which beneficial to the BLMI Steering Committee members, staff and the institution in general. 
The program was supported by the PAHRODF, one of the agencies involved in HRD intervention and Peace Building in Mindanao and other parts of the Country.

MNLF leaders hail Pope’s message of peace

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 18): MNLF leaders hail Pope’s message of peace

More leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have hailed the message of peace of Pope Francis, one of them saying the papal message also reminds of Islam.

Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, who chairs an MNLF group composed of “the founding fathers and vanguards of the Bangsamoro Revolution, issued this statement as he expressed gratitude to the Vatican leader on behalf of Muslim Filipinos for his statements seen as supportive of the peace process in Mindanao.

He also took note of the Pope’s ever-present message of peace inclusive of all of humanity.

“The Pontiff clearly reminded us all of the great message of Islam that is shared by all Abrahamic religions, that the highest form of all ideas and ideals that a man can aspire for is to be at Peace with himself, his fellow humankind, his environment and, above all, to be at Peace with his Creator,” the former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria said.

Alonto cited the vital role of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three Abrahamic faiths, stressing that their unity and “working together can establish world peace and secure a safe and sane future for our children and progenies.”

The Moro leader lauded the Pope’s message on the search for peace in Mindanao, which he enunciated while on a visit to MalacaƱang on Friday.

While at the Palace, the head of the estimated over 1.3-billion Catholic Church voiced his “trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the South of the country will result in just solution in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.”

Alonto noted that as he was preparing in Rome, Italy, to leave for his visit to Sri Lanka (before proceeding to the Philippines on January 15), the Pope also made a statement on the Mindanao peace accord between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“I also note with pleasure that last March an agreement was signed to end long years of tension in the Philippines,” the pontiff said.

The senior MNLF leader believes the twin statements of the Pope “can be easily construed as a support to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).”

Alonto then reiterated his earlier joint statement with MILF Chairman Al-Haji Murad Ebrahim that called on “the Filipino Nation to rally behind the President (Benigno S. Aquino, III) and the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

It could be recalled the government and MILF signed on March 27, 2014 their final peace agreement — CAB — out of which came the BBL, which was proposed to establish a new political entity dubbed Bangsamoro. The BBL is still being heard in both Senate and the House of Representatives.

However, the BBL’s passage into law is still a big question mark as the clock continues to tick on the roadmap for peace in Mindanao.

Another power pylon bombed in Southern Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Jan 18): Another power pylon bombed in Southern Philippines

Suspected rebels blasted a power pylon late Sunday in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato, the second attack in 5 days in the restive region of Mindanao.

Security officials said Tower 42 situated in the village of Batulawan in Pikit town was toppled down by the powerful blast causing a massive blackout in several areas in the province. Troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion were dispatched to the village to inspect if other towers were rigged with explosives.

The pylon is being operated by the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and has been target of rebel attacks in the past.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but security officials suspect the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters may be behind the latest attack, although other smaller groups and extortionists operate in the province.

On January 13, rebels also bombed Tower 26 in the village of Galakit in North Cotabato’s Pagalungan town.

Three improvised explosives assembled from 81mm and 60mm mortars were used in toppling the power pylon that cut off electricity in many areas in the province and neighboring municipalities. The blast affected the 138KV transmission line servicing the area.