Editorial: What to do with spoilers

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

WE CAN'T blame if people are non-committal about the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed Thursday.

After all, there was the Tripoli Agreemnt before followed by the peace agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the government, which a lot of sectors are saying were not implemented.

A lot has been lost before, and a peace agreement will not put an end to this just because it has signed by the two negotiating parties.


What we shouldn't give up on, however, is our own individual commitment for peace. It is by shrugging our shoulders and not even lifting a finger to work for peace, even to just our own neighbors, will ensure that peace will never be had.

Peace, after all, is a state of mind. No one can impose their will on us to nurture peace if we ourselves will not nurture peace.

There will always be those who will hold on to their gun. But there will be more willing to live normal lives. Let us reach out and even form alliances who would want to live normal lives, see what partnerships can be made, or how to help them establish their own enterprises; from there, let us encourage each community to grow.

No one will be more concerned about maintaining the peace than people who have invested in their own land and see how this is starting to provide a better life for them. The first step in a peaceful coexistence will always be access to better livelihood opportunities, which all boils down to confidence that a community will not turn to arms as their first line of defense, but instead turn to dialogue whenever kinks will be encountered.

There will be kinks, even major upheavals. The masses who have for long been living under the nozzle of guns will find it difficult to reach out in negotiation and understanding instead. But nothing will ever become of the people, the children, and the future if we hold on to age-old practices that never benefited the people.

All these, however, will take time before people will finally think first of peace before putting up a fight. One thing, we can do right away, as our own contribution for peace is to deny spoilers their audience or else call the spoilers out as they come - whether these spoilers are from the rebel front or the government. That simple act can already make a big difference.

Let us be intelligent enough to read past the propaganda of interest groups, military or not, and not fall into their grand design of stirring up discord.

At the same time, we have to put some pressure on legislators to understand the full context of the CAB because the final law will be in their hands. Let us not allow those who cannot be bothered to know what the conflict is really all about to dictate how peace will be implemented. Let's not hesitate to call out those who are not worthy to tell the Mindanaoans how our future will be crafted, and let us keep a keen eye on what provisions they are putting in there. Spoilers can also take the form of bigots in both Houses.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 29, 2014.


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