Tag: bangsamoro

Aug 20 2014

OUR SUPPORT FOR THE BANGSAMORO IS BASED ON A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE

cso-bbl-gph2014

Representatives of civil society organizations deliver a statement of support to the respective chairpersons of the GPH and MILF Peace Panels. 04 August 2014, Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City. Photo Courtesy: OPAPP

The positive attitude of PeaceBuilders Community towards the Bangsamoro is energized by our peace theology.

While being supportive and actively praying for the success of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), our hope for the future goes beyond politically negotiated agreements and beyond legislative acts of governments.

As a community of Christian peace and reconciliation missionaries, our hope is ultimately based on a biblical view of the final justice and peace on earth when Christ, the Prince of Peace, will govern the world with genuine justice for all. In our worldview, the reality of this radical just-peace began with the first coming of Jesus Christ and will be completed in His Second Coming. In this sense, the context of our peacebuilding mission is in the intersection of the ‘already’ and of the ‘not yet.’

It is this biblical hope that motivates us to call on our fellow Christians to repent, seek forgiveness, and correct our unjust actions, as well as to forgive, and to reconcile with, the people who treated us unjustly—in the past.

It is also this spiritual hope that energizes us to strive for just-peace in the present—including our support and advocacy for the on-going peace process between the GPH and the MILF.

It is because of this hope that we say, “Peace is possible!” with much conviction and passion.

From this theological perspective—

  • We affirm our support for the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its four Annexes;
  • We continue to celebrate the signed 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, praying that it will be an effective instrument to attain just-peace in Mindanao and in the whole Philippines;
  • We express our appreciation for both the GPH and MILF Peace Panels who demonstrated their dedication and commitment to peace as the “only option” in this negotiation;
  • We applaud the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) for finally submitting a “mutually agreed draft” of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to the Office of the President;
  • We call on His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to certify the BBL before the Legislative Branch as an urgent bill;
  • We call on the Legislative Branch of our government to process this Bangsamoro Basic Law with careful, responsible examination and deliberation using the lenses of justice, righteousness, and peace for all;
  • We call on the People of the Philippines to look at this peace process through the reconciling eyes of their spiritual hearts and minds.

As we dream and work towards national peace and reconciliation, we resonate with the statement of the late Nelson Mandela: “In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of the people.”

And so, we pray for the completion of this peace process between the GPH and the MILF for the salaam-shalom of Mindanao and of the whole Philippines!

We deeply believe that peace is the will of God. May God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/08/20/our-support-for-the-bangsamoro-is-based-on-a-spiritual-perspective/

May 14 2013

PCEC BISHOP LISTENS TO MILF ON HOW TO ENHANCE CHURCH’S SUPPORT TO PEACE TALKS

image

L-R: Professor Abhoud Sayyed Lingga (MILF Peace Panel Member), Bishop Efraim Tendero (PCEC National Director), Chairman Mohagher Iqbal (MILF Peace Panel/Bangsamoro Transitional Commission): PCEC and MILF discuss how to enhance their partnership in advancing just and sustainable peace in our land during their May 14 meeting in Simuay.

Cotabato City, May 14, 2013 — PCEC Bishop Efraim Tendero met with MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal this afternoon in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. Tendero asked Iqbal on how the Church can enhance its support to the GPH-MILF Peace Talks.

Before answering Tendero’s question, Iqbal gave an update on the current state of the negotiation between the GPH and the MILF. He highlighted the need to sign the Annexes in the newly-signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). The said FAB Annexes include crucial details such as wealth sharing, power sharing, and normalization.

“The Church can help in the peace process more effectively if its constituents would support the hastening of the completion of the Annexes in the newly-signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, ” Iqbal said. “The resolution to the GPH-MILF conflict is political in nature.”

Atty. Naguib G. Siwarimbo, a member of the MILF Peace Panel, also suggested that the Church will have “to journey with the government and with the negotiators and keep the pressure on both panels not to further delay the transition, as time is of the essence.”

image

L-R: Rev. Daniel Pantoja (his back on the camera), Prof. Abhoud Sayyed Lingga, Bishop Efraim Tendero, Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Datu Kharis Baraguir. The PCEC delegation and the MILF team prayed together after the meeting.

The other members of the Bangsamoro Transitional Commission, which Iqbal also chairs, were also present, including the second highest ranking member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

The meeting started at 1:30 in the afternoon. Bishop Tendero expressed appreciation that the MILF leadership team prepared a sumptuous lunch and that the MILF hosts waited for the PCEC delegation before taking their lunch in order to have a solidarity meal.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Tendero made a commitment that, “PCEC will initiate inter-faith and multi-sectoral consultation to advocate for the support of the prompt signing of the Annexes to the FAB.”

The PCEC bishop was accompanied by a team from PeaceBuilders Community along with Wendy Kroeker, a conflict transformation consultant from the Mennonite Church Canada.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/05/14/pcec-bishop-listens-to-milf-on-how-to-enhance-churchs-support-to-peace-process/

Oct 27 2011

MENNONITE CHURCH CANADA EXECUTIVE VISITS BANGSAMORO COMMUNITY

Tim Froese (Executivel Secretary, Christian Witness, Mennonite Church Canada) visited the Philippines during the time when some politicians and a few media personalities from Manila were shouting for an all-out-war against the Bangsamoro, the Muslims in Mindanao.

The socio-political atmosphere was so tense. In Tuesday, October 18, 2011 an armed skirmish between some elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and elements of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) happened in Sitio Bakisung, Barangay Cambug, Municipality of Al Barka in Basilan Province. In a gun-fight that went from 5:30am up to 4:00pm, about 31 government forces, and 6 of the Bangsamoro mujahideens, lost their lives.

In October 24, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) released a statement expressing that an all-out-war is not the answer.

Tim’s visit was timely. PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) was planning to visit our Bangsamoro friends and peacebuilding partners. We wanted to assure them that, during these times when many of the Filipinos in the power center of the Philippines were shouting for war, we, their Christian peacebuilding partners, are committed to help them build bridges of understanding. As executive secretary of Mennonite Church Canada Christian Witness, Tim saw, touched, listened, and prayed with our Muslim peacebuilding partners who belong to the Bangsamoro people.

PBCI, along with our Bangsamoro partners, requested Tim to tell Canada and the world that in Mindanao, there are voices of peace in the midst of those who clamour for war. There are many, many Muslims and Christians in Mindanao who are united to advance just-peace in this beautiful land of Mindanao!

Thank you, Tim Froese and Mennonite Church Canada, for your visit! Please help us tell our story to the whole world!

27 October 2011
Bagoinged, Maguindanao
Philippines

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/10/27/mennonite-church-canada-executive-visits-bangsamoro-community/

May 10 2011

EXPERIENCE HISTORY, ART, & PEACE AT “DATU’S BREW”

 

We thank the Hon. Datu Kharis Baraguir and his family for inviting us at the Grand Opening of Datu’s Brew, the first Bangsamoro-conceptualized fair trade coffee shop in the Philippines.

Joji and I are a native Tagalog couple. Through the Baraguir Family, we have learned to love, respect, and appreciate the history and culture of the Bangsamoro in general, and of the Maguindanao people in particular.

Our experience at Datu’s Brew encapsulated — through sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste — our formerly-abstract and academic idea of the term Maguindanao.

As a social enterprise, the Baraguir family explored the values that are relevant to them. The three terms they chose to characterize their advocacies are history, art, and peace.

History. At Datu’s Brew, we got immersed in this people’s time, memory, and territory. “Time, memory, and territory,” according to a Bangsamoro statesman, “are the historical antecedents of a people’s identity.” Identity results in community. The blood and soil of the Bangsamoro and of the Maguindanaons characterize their nativity.

Inside Datu’s Brew, we had a grasp of the Moro people’s nationhood. A nation is said to be a territorial community of nativity.

Datu’s Brew is not just a story of business interest which is merely characterized by labor and market.

Datu’s Brew is the story of a native people’s journey in their native land — that of blood and soil.

Art. Datu’s Brew re-tells the journey of Mindanao through the lenses of the Bangsamoro narrative using arts and crafts. The pieces of artistic items and textiles presented to their guests represent certain segments of history and aspects of their culture.

Products of Ginis Arts and Crafts are displayed for sale at Datu’s Brew.

Ginis Arts and Crafts and Datu’s Brew both bring light and understanding to the Bangsamoro’s vision of a land where beauty and freedom is Reality.

Peace. Our experience at Datu’s Brew gave us the indicator that the visionaries behind this social business understand that genuine peace comes from Salaam.

The Arabic word “salaam” basically means “completeness, soundness, welfare, and peace.” Completeness has the idea of being whole — that is, all the parts are connected with each other. Soundness can be understood also as safety of the body and clarity of mind. Welfare can be viewed as wellness — that is, holistic health and prosperity.

Peace can be read as tranquility, contentment, and healthy relationships.

The ultimate meaning of Salaam is total submission to the Creator.

Peace is harmony with other human beings, and thus, the absence of any hostility or war.

Having said all these essential characteristics of Datu’s Brew, it must be emphasized that Datu’s Brew serves the best 100% Arabica beans that has been ranked as Premium Coffee in accordance with global cupping standards.

The food menu and serving at Datu’s Brew is at par with international standards, appreciated by foreign aid workers and peace building executives in Mindanao.

In our role as co-founders of Coffee for Peace, we are privileged to be a partner in this business: we supply Datu’s Brew with global standard quality and fair traded Arabica coffee beans.

Again, we thank the Baraguir Family for inviting us in this social entrepreneurial endeavour.

::  May 10, 2011  ::  Davao City  ::

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/05/10/experienced-history-art-peace-at-datus-brew/

Mar 10 2011

EVANGELICALS ENGAGE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARIES IN A PEACE DIALOGUE

 

09 MARCH 2011. COTABATO CITY—The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the Peace Panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held an inter-faith dialogue on the newly-resumed peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF.

Bishop Efraim Tendero (PCEC National Director), Bishop John Tayoto (Chairman, PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission), Bishop Genesis Udang (PCEC Mindanao), and Bishop Noel Pantoja (PCEC Board Member and General Director of the Conservative Baptist Association of the Philippines) led the 78 evangelical participants—pastors, church leaders, and mission workers—representing various Christian groups in Mindanao.

The MILF Peace Panel were represented by Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Attorney Michael Mastura, and Professor Abhoud Syed Lingga.  They were assisted by Mr. Mike Pasigan, Head of the Secretariat, MILF Peace Panel.

Bishop Tendero, in his opening remarks, referred to the biblical concept of the Image of God—the view that humanity, as originally designed by God’s creative will, though fallen into imperfection, is a reflection of God.  This biblical teaching, according to evangelical theology, is a healthy starting point for Christians to engage in these kinds of dialogue.  Because evangelical Christians believe that all human beings are created in the Image of God, we are all equal before the eyes of our Creator—the God of justice and peace.

The PCEC bishop also quoted a couple of Scripture passages emphasizing that peace and peacebuilding are crucial aspects of the Christian mandate because we follow Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace:

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20

MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, during his opening statement, quoted Prophet Muhammad in his letter to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery at Mount Sinai in the year 628 CE:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far: We are with them.  Verily, I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah, I hold out against anything that displease them.  No compulsion is to be on them.  Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.  No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything to the Muslim’s houses… Their churches are to be respected…

“Insha Allah (God willing),” Iqbal publicly declared, “the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will also honor this commitment in the same way the Muslims before us had honored this covenant once the Bangsamoro state will be emplaced in some parts of Mindanao.”

Iqbal further explained their intention for having this dialogue with religious groups like the PCEC: “We, in the MILF Peace Panel, upon the expressed go-signal from our principal, get out of our way and conduct dialogues with church people, a very important sector in the society.  While there is separation of Church and State in the Philippines…the truth remains that the Church is a very powerful institution that holds the spiritual side of every Christian and, therefore, can influence their decisions, especially in relation to the cause of peace in Mindanao…  On our part, it is a matter of necessity that we must leave no stone unturned if only to make the cause of peace succeed.  This is also a sign of goodwill that we also reach out to groups other than those within the sphere of our responsibility…  There is also need for other people or groups like you to understand the MILF proposal, whether what we want for ourselves signals the demise of other groups, or whether our proposal is framed on extremism that defies logic and moderation.  Or we want to live and let others live in peace, love, and harmony.  Please examine our proposal very closely.”

Attorney Michael Mastura, explained the MILF draft on the comprehensive compact submitted to the GPH on January 27, 2010.  He summarized the highly technical document in a very passionate way: “We are not getting out of the country, but the unitary form of arrangement is a thing of the past for the Moros… There is really a need for a separate Bangsamoro state without severing ties with the Philippines.”

Professor Abhoud Syed Lingga, who is also Executive Director of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies (IBS), shared the concept of “a united country in the form of an asymmetrical state-substate relationship.”  He expressed his anxiety that GPH might not even consider this new political way of relating between two peoples.

During the question and answer period, majority of PCEC participants shared their concern about religious freedom, specifically the liberty of Christian minority to express their faith, under MILF governance in those parts of Mindanao where majority of the population are Muslims.  Bishop Genesis Udang of Cagayan de Oro City best represented this concern: “Would there be genuine religious freedom in a Bangsamoro substate?”

“Yes, there will be religious freedom,” Attorney Mastura answered.

Rev. Norman Naromal, Senior Pastor of Davao Bible Community Church, represented the second most asked question: “Would the Bangsamoro substate eventually lead to Bangsamoro independence?”

Attorney Mastura responded with another question: “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing’s wrong with that,” replied Pastor Naromal, “we just want to see transparency where this peace negotiation between the GPH and the MILF is eventually going.”

After many more theological, historical, political, and economic discussions, the dialogue ended at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

The Mindanao People’s Caucus, led by its Secretary General, Attorney Mary Ann Arnado, organized this event.  Rev. Luis Daniel Pantoja, President and CEO of PeaceBuilders Community, facilitated the actual dialogue.

____________

:: MILF perspective of the story

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/03/10/pcec-engages-milf-in-a-peace-dialogue/