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Sep 29th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Gov’t. Should Draft New Peace Formula for Mindanao – Senator Pimentel
Gov’t. Should Draft New Peace Formula for Mindanao – Senator Pimentel PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Sunday, 14 December 2008 17:34

S enate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged the government to draft a new peace plan for Muslim Mindanao before enticing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to return to the negotiating table.


Reacting to reports that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is tapping Qatar as a possible peace broker, Senator Pimentel stressed that the government should pursue the negotiation with the MILF without relying on the help or intercession of another country or foreign organization.


“We are not saying that any foreign involvement does not help in advancing the peace process. But in my view, it would be better if we would do this by ourselves,” he said.


He lamented that the government is being taunted by MILF leaders for calling for the reopening of the stalled negotiation even if it is not clear what they will talk about.


The MILF wants to tackle the issue of ancestral domain, but the government has not agreed to make it as the agenda of the talks. The memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain forged by both sides last August had been voided by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional.


Obviously, Senator Pimentel said the government has not yet drawn up a substitute plan on ancestral domain to replace the cancelled agreement.


The senator said the President’s efforts to ask other countries like the United Kingdom and Qatar to mediate or provide guidance in the peace process will be useless unless her government will be able hammer out a viable plan and strategy to address the grievances and aspirations of the Muslim Filipinos.


“No matter which country will act as peace broker, the peace efforts will get nowhere for as long as the government does not have a correct and mutually acceptable formula for lasting peace in Mindanao to offer to our Muslim brothers,” Senator Pimentel said.


The minority leader bewailed that the Muslim insurgency persists despite the series of peace talks undertaken by every administration – from Marcos to Arroyo – and the involvement of individual countries like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia and international organizations like the Organization of Islamic Conference and the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Peace and even the United Nations and its agencies.


Senator Pimentel expressed support for Malacañang’s plan to form a congressional advisory panel to complement the peace initiative of the executive branch.


“That is a good move. Still, what is important is that as Filipinos, we should take hold of the negotiation – not rely on foreigners to do it for us,” he said.


Senator Pimentel reiterated that one option open to the government is to offer the establishment of a BangsaMoro federal state which will enjoy full autonomy from the central government and where the Moro people will be able to preserve their cultural identity and Islamic way of life.


However, he said the BangsaMoro federal state will not be an independent state but will be part of a federalized Philippine republic. # # #

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Last Updated on Sunday, 14 December 2008 17:48

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