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.

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