Military operations in Basilan against ASG highlight the need to continue the peace process: Ferrer

“The ongoing military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan highlight the need to continue with the Bangsamoro peace process in order to curb activities of extremist and terrorist groups, Government of the Philippines chief peace negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a national televised interview on Thursday, April 14, 2016, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) said in its report on April 15.

“The event in Basilan indicates a very deep and complex problem that you cannot simply solve through military means,” Ferrer said. “It requires the kind of a much nuanced approach across the communities, across the tribes, and across the different armed groups”, Ferrer also said.

Ferrer stressed that the project of putting in place sustainable peace and development should not be held hostage by the violent episodes.

Ferrer said the ASG problem was just an effect of a deeper socioeconomic issue.

“This is basically why we are having the peace process – our goal is to find a solution that would gradually, step-by-step, be able to quell the threat of violent extremist groups and also to bring about social justice so that the roots of the problem can be fully addressed,” she added.

She pointed out that international support for the Bangsamoro peace process is broad because the governments worldwide are acutely aware of the threat to human security across nations posed by various violent extremist groups.

“One Moroccan jihadist was killed by the government forces in the Basilan encounter,” Ferrer noted.

The chief negotiator underscored that the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should not be hijacked by the hostilities taking place and that it must be refiled in the next Congress for the peace process to continue.

“The new administration and Congress can provide a fresh start to the refiling of the BBL,” Ferrer said.

She appealed to the political aspirants in the May 9 elections to see the bigger picture of the Bangsamoro peace process and understand the causes of the armed struggle.

“There is a big gap between us and in appreciating our Muslim brothers and sisters. There is a clear disparity between the majority and the minority that we should resolve,” she said.