Cultivating peace in Mindanao

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Thursday, February 6, 2014

First of Three Parts

PEACE is something that you cannot easily plant in the heart of chaos. I was touched by the unknown author. “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be love in the home. If there will be love in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

Martin Luther dreamed of peace. He fought for peace and he obtained peace. “Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.” Abraham Lincoln is not only president of the United States.


In history, he is known as the “Great Emancipator” because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation to attain justice and to obtain peace for black and white Americans. Saddam Hussein desired for peace and prosperity for his country and people. He was swallowed by his own greed for power. He built an empire on the blood of a nation. He killed peace.

We have been shown several faces of peace in the world. Peace is like a seed. It should be planted and cultivated until it becomes a plant. That plant should be nourished until it becomes a tree. As a tree, it should stand firm to symbolize the dream of those who planted the seeds.

The Republic of the Philippines has a dream for peace embodied in the Constitution. It is found in Section 2, Declaration of Principles. “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

There should be peace in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. There should be peace among national and local political leaders. There should be peace among churches. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, the Man of Peace.

In any community, peace is the barometer of understanding. There can only be understanding if those who are there live peacefully, live harmoniously and attain the state of peaceful coexistence.

Groups need not be at war. Groups should live and compete together in peace. The Philippine Government would want to show to the world that we can showcase peace in Mindanao (not making Mindanao a peace laboratory, which is bad).

The PNoy administration believes that peace can be achieved (somehow) if the Philippine Government would have a peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). That could be right! Could that be wrong? Let us eat the cake after it has been baked. We have to consider the ingredients, the utensils used, the oven temperature… and we have to know the baker(s).

We find one thing very interesting here (a recent development). The MILF has agreed to a gradual decommissioning of its guns. Would that mean that the armalite rifles, the .45 ACP, the 10-mm MP5 Submachine guns, the Barrett M-82AI, the Robar SR-90, the L8 Multi-Launcher, the sting grenades, and the other icons of guerilla warfare used by MILF will be dramatically turned over to the big wigs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to emphatically highlight the event. I don’t expect to see a parade of thespians just like what they did in the Manila Film Festival. I heard one pessimist saying, “It is anticipated that obsolete guns and all those that malfunctioned will be there.”
The AFP can also check if some armalite rifles from the MILF were once issued also to the regular personnel in uniform. Senator Antonio Trillanes may have a point in his sourgraping. If the decommissioning of the guns will be a reality, can the AFP verify the origin of the guns? It was said (in the past) that some guns may have come from the AFP arsenal or could have originated in USA, France, Russia, Israel or China. Who are the brokers in the arms deals? We can’t just pinpoint it to Nicolas Cage because he did it in his movie.

It sounds dogmatic but there should be faith in peace. Pope John XXIII said that peace will be but an empty-sounding word unless it is founded on the orders, which is founded on truth, built according to justice, vivified and integrated by charity, and put into practice in freedom.

If the peace negotiators are consistently consistent in their purpose, they may be able to unearth that Mindanao is a playing field where athletes want to play different games. We can always start with the “Games of the Generals.” In this game, the onlookers enjoy the most.

Let us aspire for a genuine peace in Mindanao. We very well know that Mindanao is the “Land of Promise.” We don’t want to see and hear many broken promises. To be continued

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2014.


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