“We are thankful to Sec. Roxas for confirming our optimism for peace”: Cardinal Quevedo

Cotabato City-( March 31, 2016) In a brief conversations with Presidential candidate Mar Roxas held at the Bishops Palace, Cotabato City before he and his delegation proceeded to Camp Darapanan on March 31, 2016, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo and the ‘Friends of Peace’ members asked four questions to Mar Roxas:

1. If you were to become President, will you uphold the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamaoro (CAB) and what steps would you take to push the enactment of the BBL?

2. If elected President, would you publicly apologize for the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro on the basis of the TJRC Report? 

3. What was the context and why did you used the phrase "Muslim na Mananakop" during the Presidential Debate in Cebu in reference to the incident in Zamboanga?

 4. What can Mindanao expect from a second Roxas Presidency?

Roxas clarified the issue of tagging Muslims as “mananakop”.

“Unfortunate word or unintended”, as  he was referring to the MNLF  as ‘mananakop’ or other groups that intended to occupy Zamboanga city in past several years,; the sustained 21-day siege of Zamboanga City by MNLF- Misuari faction as his justifications.

In response to the question of upholding the CAB, he said, “Finding common ground”. ” The president can’t find solution but to be able to find solution is to ask the people”, Roxas answered.

Institutionalizing the CAB, FAB and refiling of the BBL in next administration are other ways to sustain peace process of the GPH and MILF.

On the question of public apology for the historical injustices committed by the government against the Bangsamoro people, Roxas replied, “action is better than apology”.

Senate President Franklin Drilon assured Cardinal Quevedo and the Friends of Peace that the BBL has better chances of passing under the next administration. 

Drilon committed to assess the process done why BBL didn’t passed after 17 years peace process as a guide to the next administration. He assured that the next administration will also institutionalize the CAB and the FAB.

On behalf of the Friends of Peace, Cardinal Quevedo extended their thanks and gratitude to Roxas and his delegation for confirming their optimism for peace in Mindanao.

Fr. Bert Layson, reminded the LP candidates that war is not a viable solution to the Mindanao problem instead all are losers. “We must stand for Peace”, Layson added.

Consortium of the Bangsamoro Civil society (CBCS), United youth for Peace and Development, (UNYPAD), Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace (BCJP), Kadtuntaya Foundation, Inc. (KFI), Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), Bangsamoro Study Group (BSG), KASAMA, inc. and other CSOs and some candidates for the upcoming elections from the ARMM.   

From the Bishops Palace, Roxas proceeded to Camp Darapanan to sign a social contract with CSOs and met with MILF leaders and had a brief meeting them.