Friday, October 24, 2014

Bangsamoro people only asking for 'a little love'

From the Website of MILF

Bangsamoro people only asking for 'a little love'

MANILA - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the success of Bangsamoro political entity and the realization of the Muslims’ identity rest on the “love” of the Filipino people.

During the “Bangsamoro and Beyond: A National Conversation” aired in ANC on Saturday night, MILF First Vice Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar insisted the Muslims never intended for a break-up between the Bangsamoro and the national government.

Asked if they should be trusted in the peace process, Jaafar said: “You have to force yourself to trust us because we live in the same country… The issue here is, how do you love us?”

He said there is a feeling among the general majority of the Bangsamoro people that “you don’t love them. Honestly and sincerely, what you love is the homeland of the Bangsamoro and the wealth of the Bangsamoro.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said the question should be put on the shoulders of the skeptics.

“Why don’t we turn around the question? Where has skepticism brought us? We have to trust because the continuing distrust has brought us at a standstill, even a downward spiral,” she said.

The peace stakeholders are now in the process of defending the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law before lawmakers.

Deles noted the “full partnership” between and among stakeholders as evidenced by the MILF and government peace negotiators as one front defending the BBL before lawmakers.

They said the stakeholders have gone a long way in resolving the differences and struggles during the almost four decades of armed conflict.

Former Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista said all stakeholders are pinning their hopes on the passage of the BBL as a means to resolving the core issues, such as the insurgency in Mindanao.

He believes that the creation of the Bangsamoro identity will be a big deterrent to extremism in Mindanao.

Bautista, whose own father was killed by Muslim rebels in the 1970s, said: “My father died for peace. I should not turn my back on that. There’s no other way. We have to trust each other.”

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, the chairman of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, said attaining peace is the task of everyone, including the Catholics.

He said inter-faith dialogues are needed to bring support for the Bangsamoro as this may be “the last chance for a lasting peace agreement.”

Jaafar said: “We all risked our lives for the Bangsamoro cause. We all came from the poor sector. If we did not struggle for the Bangsamoro, we could be owners of big plantations now… This is not a religious war… We only ask for a little love. This is what we’re asking for.”

MILF Website

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