Friday, December 10, 2010

Moro civil society group urge PNoy to break Impasse "Wants Montesa Formula Adopted"

“They must have the way to break this impasse between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Certainly, not at the expense of the poor people in Mindanao.” Maradeka sees in the wisdom of the former member of the GRP peace panel, Bong Montesa a formula to break this deadlock. As the Bangsamoro Civil Society groups will be joining the 62nd Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dubbed, it is pushing for the adoption of the Montesa formula as the practicable option to get both sides return to peace negotiation.

Early on Atty. Camilo "Bong" Montesa put on objectively his observation and recommendations after a deadlock over the Malaysia facilitator and the facilitation process. Though MILF was definitely it is supporting Malaysia government as Third Country Facilitator, but the Philippine government was intent on changing the Datuk Othman Razak by iniating request via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, which Malaysian themselves took it as diplomatic insult.

But the current state of stalled peace made all forces of the civil society sector became wary of its repercussion and a common ground to join hands in the Call to Action to urge the government and the MILF to resolve the diplomatic impasse and caution them that the rising political tension in the ground can flare up again armed conflict. The groups urge also the PNoy gov't to release all Moro political prisoners and MILF leader Edward Guerra from his detention in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig as a good will gesture in keeping for confidence building.

Let it be recalled that our brother in Sultan Kudarat and Marawi staged their rallies and issued the Ranaw Manifesto urging MILF to pull out from the peace talks. In solidarity, we will re-echo their voices in Metro Manila by saying that we don’t this scenario to happen and urge the government to act responsibly and put above all the concern of the many would be thousands of people who will be affected should hostilities ensues. If the situation continue to be so, then we will have no recourse but to join solidarity and take once more a hard line stand.

All peace advocates most especially leaders of the various Muslim organizations and Bangsamoro civil society groups put on their own Manila solidarity statement as an expression of their collective voice and reach out to the government and MILF to come to term toward the resumption of peace negotiation to avert any conflict that in the end the victims are the ordinary people. The organizers expect the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP) and the palace to receive the consolidated position paper of various multi sectoral groups.

This Manila Solidarity Statement put forward with its Tent Points Muslim Position as it deemed necessary to collectively contribute in broadening the perspective and scope of Mindanao peace process and press for it to the benefits of all stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process. Briefly in the first three major points, 1) it strongly propose the adoption of the Montesa Formula to the Aquino government and as well as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to finally break the diplomatic impasse over complaint Philippine government over the Malaysia as Third Party Facilitator, 2) it demands from the Aquino government and Armed Forces of the Philippines to stringently observe the joint cessation of hostilities agreement, desist from all unnecessary provocations and incendiary statements that can seriously impede the ongoing peace process amidst the current impasse.

On the participatory rights of the various Mindanao civil society groups the salient points are in the point number 3) it put forward a proposal that in the peace exercise, the active participation of the Bangsamoro masses must be guaranteed and represented by its recognized and legitimate civil society sector and people organizations in the peace negotiations. In respect to early official pronouncement of His Excellency President Benigno C. Aquino III during his presidential inaugural speech on transparency in Mindanao peace process by adopting a policy of inclusive peace in Mindanao involving Moro, Lumad and Christian settlers, we demand for the institution of workable mechanism of representation by civil society sector and people organizations; 4) demand the Aquino government to fully exercise its political will and presidential prerogatives to bring to an end the prevalence of political patronages that caused local politicians, businessmen, landlords, political clans and government officials to obstruct peace in Mindanao.

On the IDPs the point 5) demand in the strongest term the security and protection of the civilians from harm and destruction resulting from the armed confrontation by the contending armed forces of the government and the MILF, so that we propose a rather more effective multi-lateral peace keeping force mandated by the United Nations Security Council to thwart forcefully violent armed conflicts and hostile elements and provide emergency response, security and protection, humanitarian aid, evacuation and shelters to non-combatant civilians instead of a limited mandate of an international monitoring set up.

Finally, it demanded from the Aquino government to respect Moro civil and political rights by releasing the senior MILF leader, Edward Mohandis Guerra and all the Moro political prisoners charged in relations to political activities and unconditionally drop suits on all leaders of the MILF and MNLF officials and members before the peace negotiation commences.

(A JOINT STATEMENT during the press conference on Maradeka’s March for Peace and Human Rights December 10, 2010)