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Let’s talk peace now and strike a deal PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 September 2011 15:42

By MENARDO WENCESLAO

Government peace negotiators should stop blaming past negotiations for its inability to address the proposition of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that talks can proceed and that it is dropping its bid for an independent state including matters involving defense, foreign affairs and other vital issues of governance. Importing the blame from the past is accepting its inability to craft its own peace agenda.

Nothing in the conduct of negotiation which mandates that negotiators will follow a single track to peace. On the other hand, the unwritten rule in search for peace is to exploit all available avenues that allows mediation and commonality of issues and objectives. Where the MILF had advanced an agenda that had spelled out what it want to give up and desired to pursue, the government peace negotiators should hurry and pack up and proceed to the negotiating tables ready with its own agenda and prepared to look at what the MILF proposes.

It is unthinkable for the government to tarry awhile and then sulk at the opportunity to resume negotiations by blaming past negotiations. The present peace negotiators are not to be bound by the conduct of the past. We presumed for example that when the secessionist front proposed a ‘sub-state’ for the Bangsa Moro people in effect they finally accepted the unconstitutionality of the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity that subtly defined the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral           Domain.

For whatever are the merits, the government must look at closely what are proffered in the sub-state proposal for the Bangsamoro as we find this extremely interesting and in fact intriguing. The matter of ‘defense’ for example is a primordial issue in the MILF agenda. We see this to mean that disarmament of all forces – civilian volunteers or CAFGUs, private armies and security forces, MILF combatants and the withdrawal of all military forces shall now be enforced. That only the Philippine National Police and conscripted MILF elements maintain peace and order in all the regions in Mindanao.

We want to see the entire area of Mindanao as one zone of peace free from terrorist bands like Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah which are abhorred by Islam and Christianity. Where both sides want peace and prosperity who will think of giving asylum to the common enemy?

Let’s talk peace now and strike a deal while the iron is hot.

 
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