Tag: GPH-MILF Peace Talks

Apr 03 2016

WE HELPED BRIDGE TOP PCEC AND MILF LEADERS

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02 April 2016. Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao — The PeaceBuilders Community initiated the top leaders’ meeting between the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), led by Bishop Noel Alba Pantoja, and the Central Committee Office of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), led by Chairman Murad Ebrahim.

The two bodies discussed how leaders of Evangelical Christian and Muslim religious groups can work together for a justice-based peace and reconciliation initiatives in Mindanao and in the whole Philippines. Among those who were with Bishop Noel Pantoja were Dr. Aldrin Penamora, Bishop Gene Udang, Pastor Nemuel Castrodes, Prof. Annabel Manzanilla Manalo, Ms. Jay Atiolla, Rev. Alborne Llera, Ms. Beng Bicaldo, and Bishop Tomas Duan Mascariñas.

This was an initiative of the PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

For Joji and I, this is like a culmination of 10 years of relationship-building on the ground. For this, we express our deep gratitude to Peace Mennonite Church, our sending congregation, the Mennonite Church Canada for being our administrative support as we focus on field tasks, and to all our congregational partners who have walked with us in prayers, in financial support, and pastoral guidance.

Most of all, we give all the glory to God for allowing us to serve in this way.

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PCEC Statement on the PCEC-MILF Leaders Dialogue
April 2, 2016, Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat

We, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) is very much appreciative of the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal for the warm reception they accorded to our delegation during the entire duration of the PCEC-MILF leaders meeting held on April 2, 2016 at Camp Darapanan. We are thankful to God for this Christian-Muslim gathering that has led to a deeper understanding not only of each other’s positions on the Mindanao situation, but also as to what Scripture means that every person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

In conformity with PCEC’s previous statements that proclaim our biblically based endorsement of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF, we reiterate our unwavering support toward the attainment of genuine peace that is founded on justice for the Bangsamoro people. In this regard, PCEC highly commends the MILF for its continuous dedication to realize through peaceful negotiations the Bangsamoro’s aspiration of self-determination, especially in view of the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) within the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The meeting between PCEC and MILF leaders had shown the importance of sincerity in dialogue. When participants are sincere and open minded, dialogue can lead to a deeper understanding and unity among Christians and the Bangsamoro people. Indeed, without unity it would be impossible to forge a lasting peace in Mindanao. The importance of unity is reflected in the biblical passage that says, “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor.13:11). In loving reverence and obedience to God, we shall appropriate the message of the Scripture by cultivating unity with Muslims and building peace in Mindanao as expressed in the following ways:

  • We call on the Government of the Philippines to persist in moving the peace talks with the MILF forward, and to explore new avenues in bringing about peace for the Bangsamoro and other people groups in Mindanao.
  • We call on all Christians to help diminish and bring down the walls of prejudice toward Muslims, and vice-versa, by being good neighbors to our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters, as exemplified by the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:25-37.
  • We shall conduct dialogues with other Muslim and non-Muslim stakeholders in the peace process in order to help in forging a truly inclusive peace agreement.
  • We shall form partnerships with the MILF and other Muslim and indigenous people groups for the purpose of providing necessary services such as disaster management training, psychosocial training and trauma healing that will benefit people on the ground especially those affected by the conflict in Mindanao.

In those aforementioned ways, we hope to demonstrate our solidarity with the just aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. In those aforementioned ways, we hope to faithfully follow God’s mandate to live in peace with everyone (Romans 12:18), and as Scripture attests, “the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14).

 

Bishop Noel A. Pantoja
National Director
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC)
Philippine Relief and Development Services (PHILRADS)

 

Photos by Lakan Sumulong

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/04/03/we-helped-bridge-top-pcec-and-milf-leaders/

Aug 20 2014

OUR SUPPORT FOR THE BANGSAMORO IS BASED ON A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE

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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/

Aug 04 2014

LISTENING TO, PRAYING FOR, BOTH GPH AND MILF PEACE PANELS

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I was invited by the leaders of the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW), to join them in presenting a statement of solidarity to both the GPH and MILF Peace Panels to accompany them in this peace process until we see a mutually agreed text of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and eventually lead to genuine just-peace in Mindanao. 04 August 2014, 1300H-1400H, Davao City.

I heard both chairs of the GPH and MILF Peace Panels along with my colleagues who belong to various Mindanao peace advocacy organizations. I also heard, and learned from, my colleagues’ questions and comments. I’m still trying to discern the balance between transparency and confidentiality — which are both needed in the tail-end of a fragile peace process.

There are hard issues we’re still facing on how to operationalize the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (a politically negotiated agreement, general in scope) into the Bangsamoro Basic Law (a legislative document, specific and detailed in scope).

So, the two panels are working as partners for 10 days to deal with these issues.

Please pray for them as they journey from the general principles of agreement, to the specific operational details emanating from the same agreement.

May the God of Peace embrace us all!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/08/04/listening-to-praying-for-both-gph-and-milf-peace-panels/

Jan 27 2014

WHY WE BELIEVE THE NEW BANGSAMORO IS AN INCLUSIVE POLITICAL ENTITY

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Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (Chair, GPH Peace Panel) shakes hands with Mohagher Iqbal (Chair, MILF Peace Panel) as they conclude the signing of the Normalization Annex of the FAB, held last 25 January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Joji and I are so happy that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was able to negotiate the ‘Bangsamoro’ with the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

In the road map released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), step 10 says there will be an election of the Bangsamoro Government by 2016.

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In this coming Bangsamoro election, anyone from among the various Moro sectors, families, or groups can organize their political party and can launch a political campaign to be elected as the Government of the Bangsamoro. They can be a party led by any of the MILF personalities (Murad, Jaafar, Iqbal, Mastura, etc.) or a party led by any of the MNLF personalities (Misuari, Sema, Cerveza, etc.) or any of the current Moro political families (Mangudadatu, Ampatuan, Tan, Dimaporo, etc.) or a party led by Moro NGOs (Kadtuntaya, Swara Bangsamoro, Kapamagogopa, Tulong Lupah Sug, etc.).

What the MILF had planted can be harvested by any Moro sector, family, or group.

Those of us who truly seek genuine transformation towards the peace of the Moros, Lumads, and Migrants in Mindanao, must start praying for, and supporting Moro-led political parties that reflect the justice-oriented and reconciling peace of our beloved Mindanao and the Philippines.

We specially call on the Christian community in the Philippines and around the world to give this peace process a maximum chance!

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2014/01/27/why-we-believe-the-new-bangsamoro-is-an-inclusive-political-entity/

Jul 18 2013

PCEC SUPPORTS THE NEWLY-SIGNED GPH-MILF WEALTH SHARING DEAL

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L-R: Prof. Abhoud Sayyed Lingga, Bishop Efraim Tendero, and Chairman Mohagher Iqbal discuss how the Church could enhance its support to the GPH-MILF Peace Process, 14 May 2013, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

I’m so happy to be a part of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) as it advance biblical peace and reconciliation as an integral part of their calling as a Body of Christ in the Philippines.

This is well-expressed in their latest statement supporting the current agreement made as part of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF):

PCEC STATEMENT ON THE GPH-MILF SIGNING OF THE WEALTH-SHARING ANNEX OF THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON THE BANGSAMORO

 

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) congratulates both peace-negotiating panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for their excellent work of cutting a breakthrough deal on the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

We thank God for the GPH Peace Panel talking with the MILF for their sincerity and firmness in guarding the interest of the Republic of the Philippines, and yet being flexible enough to recognize the Bangsamoro as a people with a distinct identity; as a people with their right to self-determination; and, as a people who have the right to manage their God-given resources.

We also thank God for the MILF Peace Panel for their firmness in upholding the principles of the Bangsamoro, yet affirming their respect for the national integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. Their patience, their flexibility, and their willingness to find a win-win path to come up with this breakthrough agreement on wealth sharing would eventually lead to a lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao and the whole Philippines.

We call on all who claim to follow Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14 ESV). We can apply this biblical exhortation through the following:

• Seek to understand this Agreement using the biblical lenses of justice (Amos 5:24), and peace (Matthew 5:9). While we pray and work together for the unity, integrity and transformation of the Republic of the Philippines, we also want to affirm the diversity of each people group (ethnei) as the understanding of nationhood in the Gospels (Matthew 28:19).

Get your facts and information directly from the sources. Read the document called Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing. Get your information from both the GPH and the MILF sources and perspectives. Refuse to be manipulated by black propaganda, calling for war and violence as the answer to the conflicts we’re facing as a nation, especially coming from those pockets of our society whose interests are to protect their war-based wealth and power.

• Be a channel of healthy dialogue and relationship-building discourse. As Christians, let us listen and seek to understand the point of view of our Muslim neighbors. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6). This real-life discussion on resource sharing is a kairos-moment for us to engage our Muslim neighbors in love. (Matthew 22:39)

Like climbing Mount Apo, this newly-signed Wealth-Sharing Agreement would help all citizens of the Philippines–Christians, Muslims, and Indigenous People–reach the summit of peace in accordance with the will of God. Let us be mindful that the nearer we are to the summit, the more difficult the terrain and the more tiring the climb can become. But with God’s grace and mercy, there is new energy, new hope, and new sight of the summit of peace getting nearer each day!

Hallelujah! Alhamdulillah! Let there be peace in Mindanao! Let there be peace in the Philippines! Let there be peace on earth!

”Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV)

PCEC Board of Directors July 18, 2013

For more information, please contact Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, tel. 9131658 or email info@pceconline.org.

May God continue to bless PCEC as it envisions to be a transforming presence of Jesus Christ in the Philippines.

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2013/07/18/pcec-supports-the-newly-signed-gph-milf-wealth-sharing-deal/

May 14 2013

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

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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.”

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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/

Aug 25 2011

WE REMAIN POSITIVE ABOUT GPH-MILF PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

While Dann Pantoja (PBCI President) looks at his facilitator's notes, Rev. Norman Naromal (Senior Pastor, Davao Bible Community Church) asks the MILF Peace Panel members -- Michael Mastura, Mohagher Iqbal, and Aboud Sayed Lingga -- about the nature and intention of the proposed Bangsamoro Substate during the PCEC-MILF Inter-Faith Dialogue, March 09, 2011, KFI Bldg., Cotabato City. It was described by the MILF panelists as "heart-to-heart conversation." The event was organized by the Mindanao People's Caucus (MPC) and PBCI.

The PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI)—a fellowship of Conflict Transformation specialists who are dreaming and working for a just, radical, and active non-violent transformation of our land—is confident that the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will continue towards the path of peace and reconciliation between the Filipinos and the Bangsamoros.

We expressed our enthusiasm regarding the August 4, 2011 meeting of President Benigno Aquino III and Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Japan as a positive move towards peace and reconciliation.

We were praying as the 22nd Exploratory Talks in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur started last August 22nd.  We appreciate both peace panels for their hard work.

  • We thank God for the GPH Peace Panel delegation: Chief Negotiator Marvic Leonen; panel members Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Mr. Senen Bacani, Mr. Ramon Piang; panel consultant Prof. Hamid Barra; and panel secretariat Ms. Iona Jalijali, lawyers Juhaira Wahab and Armi Bayot, both legal counsels.
  • We thank God for the MILF Peace Panel delegation: Chief Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal; panel members Atty. Datu Michael Mastura, Maulana Alonto, Abhoud Lingga, Abdulla Camlian and alternate member Antonio Kinoc, and MILF panel secretariat Jun Mantawil, with Mike Pasigan and Mohajirin Ali.

We respect the MILF peace formula that calls for “the creation of a substate for the Moros.” We are aware that “this entity is not an independent state” and that “the powers over national defense, foreign relations, coinage and currency, and postal services are still the sole jurisdiction of the central government.”   We have nothing to fear in the MILF proposal, because “the substate, as the name connotes, is still part of the Philippines.”  We are aware that the proposed substate will have “no army, except police and internal security forces, tasked to do policing within the substate.”

We respect GPH Panel Chair Marvic Leonen’s “3 for 1″ Proposal—that is, one solution with three components, such as “massive economic development,” “political settlement with the MILF,” and “cultural-historical acknowledgment.”   We are aware that this approach was a result of the GPH Peace Panel’s extensive consultations with various sectors in Mindanao.

We respect MILF Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal’s commitment “to reframe the consensus points with the end in view of moving towards the comprehensive compact to bring about a negotiated political settlement of the conflict in Mindanao.”  We are aware that, for the Bangsamoros who have been suffering from decades of war and historical injustice, “the peace negotiation cannot be delayed anymore.”

We listened carefully when Mohagher Iqbal announced last August 24 that the MILF Peace Panel did not accept the GPH’s proposal because of the following reasons:

  • The GPH peace panel draft is way below the MILF expectation. The MILF peace panel thought that the Aquino administration had a better formula than the previous administrations in addressing the Moro Question and armed conflict in Mindanao;
  • The draft has no meeting point with the MILF peace panel draft; hence, will not fast track the negotiation as agreed by President Aquino and Chairman Murad in Japan last August 4;
  • The GPH draft is not solving the Moro Question and the armed conflict in Mindanao but it is a formula to prolong it;
  • The unbridled domination of the Philippine government over the Moros through the unitary setup of government is not only maintained but reenergized or reentrenched; and,
  • Practically, the GPH draft derogated all signed agreements or documents including the historic Tripoli Agreement of Peace of 2001.

We listened carefully when Marvic Leonen announced early today, August 25,  that “the government is standing firm on its proposal” and that “the government rejects the MILF’s rejection of our proposal.”  He cites the following reasons:

  • The government proposal is the most principled, realistic and practical approach to resolving the decades-old armed conflict in the south;
  • The “3 for 1” proposal or three components for one solution to the Bangsamoro problem was crafted within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution, which allows a lot of flexibility;
  • The 20-page proposal was the result of the series of consultations the peace panel conducted with various stakeholders in Mindanao;
  • It seeks not only to provide a just and lasting peace to the troubled south but more so to improve and uplift the lives of the people who have long suffered from the brutality of decades-long armed conflict;
  • The GPH proposal reflects the sincere desire of the President for permanent peace in Mindanao obtained in a fair, just and transparent manner.

On one hand, the MILF is emphasizing a prompt action on the part of the GPH to arrive at thefinish line of this journey—which is mostly a journey of suffering on the part of the Bangsamoros because of historical injustice. On the other hand, the GPH is emphasizing awell-processed action towards the same finish line, when the final agreement will be embraced by all segments and sectors of the whole Philippine society, and therefore be effectively and efficiently sustained permanently. The finish line, we believe, is a comprehensive agreement where the Bangsamoros, the Indigenous People, and the Migrants can claim themselves to be enjoying their respective rights to self-determination in this beautiful land of Mindanao.

We have met and have interacted personally with both GPH and MILF peace negotiators in various occasions.  We are confident that both parties have the characters and skills of a genuine and sincere set of peace-builders.

Along with all the Filipinos and the Bangsamoros, we await a reciprocal show of sincerity, openness and commitment from both the GPH and the MILF to move the peace process forward.

For more information, contact: Rev. L. Daniel Pantoja, PBCI President & CEO, telephone +63 908 888 8017 or email: daniel@peacebuilderscommunity.org.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2011/08/25/pbci-remains-positive-about-gph-milf-peace-negotiations/