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At Large

A new day of peace?

Comments on social media have been noting the rather odd confluence of events that has placed people from Mindanao in almost all the important positions in the government: President Duterte, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

And now, even a nongovernment body, but nonetheless just as crucial and important, especially as a “balancing force” to government power, has just been taken over by a man from Mindanao. And not just a native of Mindanao, but also a long-time friend and ally of Mr. Duterte.

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I’m referring, of course, to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which is now headed by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles. So confident, in fact, is Malacañang about the cooperation it foresees from the head of the CBCP that officials have said they now look forward to “a new day of peace” with the prelates.

I suppose Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, a Protestant preacher, was referring to the often testy and barbed statements issuing from the office of the former CBCP president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan. Are we seeing the beginnings of the cooptation of the Church?

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Marawi was on my mind when I wrote about the role of women in the efforts to broker peace between the government and the different factions of Moro rebels, as well as to safeguard the civilian populace going hungry and homeless in the wake of the siege of the city.

But the increasing involvement of women in peace efforts did not begin just during the Duterte administration. During the previous P-Noy administration, in fact, women were playing a most active, prominent role in pushing the peace
efforts forward.

The most prominent of them is Teresita “Ging” Quintos Deles, who headed the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, together with Miriam Coronel Ferrer, who became the first woman to chair the government panel in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. They were joined by Yasmin Busran Lao, who sat in the government side, and lawyer Raissa Jajurie who was part of the MILF panel. Another woman leader, Jurgette Honculada, was part of the government panel in the talks with National Democratic Front.

In the legislature, efforts to pass the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law were spearheaded by Batanes Rep. Dina Abad, who also served as deputy speaker. Among the Muslim women leaders, an articulate lobbyist for the BBL and spokesperson for the Moro cause was (and is) Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, party-list representative of Amin. Another Muslim woman leader, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, resigned as member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in the wake of President Duterte’s joke about allowing soldiers to rape up to two women each in Marawi.

People have been calling and texting to ask where they can send their donations to the “Piso para sa Laban ni Leni” campaign, which aims to raise money to help Vice President Leni Robredo meet the funding requirements for her share in the election protest filed by defeated candidate Bongbong Marcos.

Donors may deposit at either of two banks: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Glorietta Mall branch, account number 000069-8066-51, account of Maria Cristina Lim Yuson and Antonette F. Marcella; and Banco de Oro (BDO) Arnaiz Ave., Makati branch, savings account number 005350241878, account of Maria Cristina Lim Yuson. For donors based abroad: BPI Glorietta Mall, savings account number 0069-8066-51, account of Maria Cristina Lim Yuson and Antonette Marcella, Swift Code BOPIPHMM.

Yuson is leading the group of seven women behind the fund-raising efforts. Please inform her office, Museo Pambata Foundation Inc., Roxas Blvd., cor. South Drive (near Luneta), tel. no. 632-523-1797/523-1798 local 105; fax no. 632-522-1246. E-mail address: [email protected] org; website www.museopambata.org. The organizers stress that the money will go directly to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, but if they are not given permission, the money will instead go to the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay program.

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According to latest reports, the organizers have so far raised P579,000.87, plus P44,929 through Paypal.

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TAGS: Aquilino Pimentel III, At Large, CBCP, Inquirer Opinion, Koko Pimentel, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rina Jimenez-David, Rodrigo Duterte, Romulo Valles
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