Protect last strand of hope for peace in South
An atmosphere of peace and reconciliation has returned to what was once a region of great divide and conflict. The highways and roads that people feared to pass, lest they be caught in a crossfire, are now safe again for commuters. Life in many areas in Maguindanao has returned to normal, while Muslims and Christians in Basilan are joining hands to restore the trust and spirit of amity that they knew and were known to enjoy in the past.
Like Christians sharing the feast of Eid’l Fitr with Muslims. For even the Koran mentions that, “Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast (eid) for us, for the first of us and for the last of us and a sign from You. Give us sustenance, for You are the Best of Sustainers.”
Eid’l Fitr celebrates the completion of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast and increase their spiritual devotions. The feast is meant to be a recognition of the material and spiritual favors God has gifted His creation.
It is in Basilan too where Muslims and Christians join together in singing Christmas carols and, during Eid’l Fitr, share food and blessings with them.
This spirit of reconciliation is back and it can even strongly bind the people who have seen and lived in the nightmarish reign of conflict. We see the dawning of peace in many areas of the proposed Bangsamoro where, because these had been ravaged by armed conflict, including clan wars, peace and prosperity are a consummation devoutly wished.
The overwhelming support for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro cannot be ignored. In and out of the region of the proposed expanded autonomous region are endorsements for the establishment of a region that responds to the clamor of those who desire and hope for nothing but peace, decent livelihood and prosperity for all.
Except that there are certain quarters that do not even have a stake in the region but are attempting to derail the peace process. Some of them had been given the opportunity to serve the autonomous region but succeeded only in as far as promoting their selfish interests was concerned.
There are those who want to lead, but they abused their authority when they had the opportunity, and in the end failed. They failed the international community, too, including members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which once supported them generously. But instead of bringing peace and prosperity to the region, they stole from the coffers and imposed a reign of terror with impunity.
The agony that the people in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have experienced through years of incessant and useless conflict must end. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have finally found a solution. Let us join the call to keep this last strand of hope for a stable peace in Mindanao from breaking.
—RINA DE JESUS,
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