Sunday, 26 February 2012 00:00
Whatever is happening to the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front? It looks like the two panels are taking their own sweet time with the people in the conflict areas and the stakeholders waiting in limbo. The government is missing the opportunity to get the Front to agree on the terms given the political upheaval better known as “Arab Spring” in most of the donor countries that for the past decades had been aiding the secessionist movement in Mindanao. In a situation where the funds become scarce it is not farfetched that some elements would turn to local sources and employ means that would only aggravate the condition that is obtaining in the area. We believe that the number of kidnap-for-ransom incidents could only be due to the scarcity of funds that sustain the existence of the Fronts. This does not augur well for the region and the protracted peace negotiation will only bring the conflict areas deeper into the quagmire of uncertainty.
We are for the stability and normalcy in the conflict areas which are practically all within the domain of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Given the length of time and the inputs put by both panels into the negotiation, we are certain that they have covered every bit of issues of concern to give peace a chance and for normalcy and reconciliation to start. The delay is unconscionable and the negotiators are doing the displaced families and the present and future generations to carve their destiny under the aegis of peace and stability.
Like them, we have gone too weary watching and waiting for the peace agreement to come to a fruition. Presently there is no utilitarian conduct of maintaining peace and order in the region. We are in a situation where government peace keeping force cannot pursue criminal suspects that make use of MILF territories as their sanctuaries. This sounds incredible but that is the fact because the ceasefire agreement bars government forces to enter MILF held territories. The MILF had been issuing motherhood statements like they will help the government to run after the suspects. These are merely lip service which is wanting of a demonstrative gesture to prove the MILF means what they say.
Despite the lackadaisical attitude of the MILF to really come to the aid of the government on matters involving suspects who are alleged members of the MILF, the government seemed to have a wellspring of patience. Patience, that have been perceived as weakness. We have seen how our soldiers are pinned in ambush simply because some quarters believe the volunteered assistance of the MILF to hunt the criminals who sought shelter in their camps.
Silence breeds suspicion that government forces yield in acquiescence to the atrocities waged by MILF rogues elements simply because they do not want to shake the ongoing peace talks. If the government negotiators can suffer the delay because they are the least affected since they are mostly residents of Manila, we from Mindanao do not have their kind of endurance. It's now time that they should walk the talk.
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