As the fighting between Government forces and units of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rages in s0me areas in Central Mindanao, convenors and members of the A'immah-Pastors-Priest Forum (APPF) came together yesterday and today to participate in the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the Peace Process conducted by Konsult Mindanao.
Similar FGDs have been conducted in various areas of Mindanao among various sectors to gather ideas and recommendations for the peace panel of the Government and the MILF. This is part of the effort initiated by the Bishop's-Ulama Conference to facilitate grassroots consultation that can aid the peace process.
We had an animated sharing and discussion about our vision of peace, recommendation for the peace process and what we can commit/sacrifice for the peace process.
This is what I shared regarding my vision of peace in Mindanao:
Muslims, Christians and Lumads living together as neighbors, friends and brothers/sisters rather than enemies.
The battlefields will be transformed into rice-fields
The tanks will be turned to bulldozers
The only blood shed will that be of chickens and cows for feasting, only the sound of fire-crackers will be heard
The land and its resources will be shared by everyone, and no one will wallow in poverty.
Some Recommendation for the Peace Process:
Immediate resumption of the peace negotiations without preconditions.
Transparency of the peace process. It should not be done secretly, outside the country.
The government peace panel should not be dominated by people from Manila or Luzon, nor by former military men. Mindanaoans should be adequately represented.
Recognize that Mindanao has become the homeland of Muslims and Lumads as well as Christians. Any discussion on ancestral domain and boundaries have to take this into consideration.
Search for New Paradigms/framework other than the "Ancestral domain claim" that can lead genuine and lasting peace.