Peace advocacy is beyond mere talking

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, January 24, 2014

TAKING into account the developments in Kuala Lumpur where some media establishment seems to think that the Peace talks on the Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro had been wanting of media coverage, I cannot but disagree.

From day one of the talks, the media in Mindanaoa and the civil society organizations including the private sector have been closely working with the people involved especially with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the peace panels.

The Civil Society Organizations are also responsible for the massive information and consultation drive in many areas, although of course, these efforts are still wanting in terms of massive information and education drive among Mindanaoans as a whole.


It just gives me a rundown feeling that among ordinary Mindanao populace who are not within the Armm areas there seems to be a nonchalant attitude if not outright indifference or ignorance of the issue. A feeling of dread is creeping on me. But then, the talks on the last Annex on Normalization which media painted with “positive” vibes could well be a bottleneck.

Would laying down of arms mean there would be less violence from one side? What about the other side? If one hears the media right, it is proposing that Peace can only happen if the MILF silenced its guns. It’s quite simplistic, not really taking into consideration the long drawn, decades-old dissent that has become complicated through the years.

There’s more than meets the eye, I would say, to the problems in the Bangsamoro. There is a host of invisible questions and concerns that Normalization must address. What is “normal’ to some might not be true to another. It is fitting to mention though that there are a number of efforts being done by other peace advocates among civil organizations in Mindanao who are really working for real, achievable peace efforts that are on-going.

It’s not far-fetched to think that though so many of us are banking on the peace talks, many among peace advocates are actually working for peace to happen, not merely talking about it. That is why it’s more apt to say that true peace in Mindanao will occur not because of the much-vaunted peace talks, but because of the conscious efforts being done by well-meaning people.

Theirs may be small and sometimes considered insignificant, but these seemingly minute efforts have considerably made impacts on the local settings. The droplets that only made ripples can turn into gigantic waves of change. Insha Allah!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 25, 2014.


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