By Abdullah Bin Ahmad
April 3, 2011 - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace negotiating panel, headed by MohagherIqbal, held a consultation with the Bangsamoros and indigenous tribes (lumad) of Davao Oriental on the on-going peace process between the GPH and MILF, in Lupon Islamic Center, Lupon Davao Oriental last Saturday, April 2.
Four of the six–member panel members were present, namely: MohagherIqbal, Atty. Michael Mastura, Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, and Datu Antonio Kinoc.
Not in the forum were panel members Maulana Bobby Alonto and Abdullah Camlian.
Also present were Brother Jun Mantawil, Secretariat head MILF peace panel and UstadzShouaibYacob, BDA Executive Director. The activity was in line with the consultation series program of the Panel for all the stakeholders of the Mindanao – GPH – MILF Peace Process.
One thousand people attended the forum.
It was the first time the panel came to conduct a consultation in Davao Oriental. The Muslim Dabawenyos and IPs alike were very pleased with the panel for taking their time to be with them to discuss a matter of significant concern, especially in the light of Davao Region being in the category “C” of the MOA-AD.
Iqbal stressed that they do not want a repeat of negative reactions to the MOA-AD from different sectors and stakeholders due to lack of consultation in this round of negotiation. This consultation series is also being done with the business sector in Davao City, the Bishop Conference of the Philippines of Davao City and civil society community.
In closing, the 111th Base Commander Sonny Davao remarked that the Bangsamoros have indeed gone far after 40 years of struggle, citing that public gatherings such as consultations cannot be done before without fear from government persecution.
He said the freedom now enjoyed by them in general is due to the ultimate sacrifice (of lives) of martyrs (shahids) and those who are still struggling (the mujahideen).
He went on to remind everyone that the peace process must be coupled with sincere work, struggle and sacrifice in the way of Allah (Jihad Fissabilillah) and not just lip service.
“Otherwise, the peace process,” he warned, “will end in demise.”
He said that in order to succeed, he stressed that everyone must work for unity, unity, understanding and singularity of purpose.