'More than meets the eye'

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, July 4, 2014

IT IS with great surprise that my eyes were opened a few days ago when I was fortunate enough to be with some friends who invited me to a Solidarity Mission in Cotabato City. What I learned during that brief visit about the ongoing Peace Process with the Bangsamoro have filled me with humility, especially when I got the chance of knowing some of the Moro leaders who really made an impression on me.

The questions in my head regarding the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro were clarified little by little, even without me verbalizing these. At some point during the whole visit, I was rendered speechless as I began to connect the broken lines in my mind, which seemed like putting the pieces together in a great jigsaw puzzle.

It is sad indeed to realize that our problem here in this paradise island of Mindanao mainly stemmed from the fact that we are all largely disconnected with each other, Moro, Lumad, settlers that include Visayans and other non-Moro and non-IP groups such as the Ilonggos, Ilocanos, Chavacanos and the like. It appears that the “colonizers” in our past and the present “powers-that-be” have succeed in dividing us such that it was easy for them to rule us the way we now being ruled over, suspicious of each other and misunderstanding each other’s every action.


As I heard some of the great leaders among our Moro brothers, I could not help but be awe-struck at the depth of their understanding of the root causes of our problems on peace. It is not about poverty that the central issue on peace, or the lack of it, revolve around, said the First Vice Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Central Committee Ghazali Jaapar.

It is the decades-old Moro people’s struggle for the right to self determination that has been the contentious issue that affects not only their immediate environs but the whole of Mindanao. This has been confounded by the lack of information among and between us residents in Mindanao who, like me, had little information and knowhow about our fellow Mindanaoans.

And like the Moro people who have grown even stronger in resilience from the onslaught of government neglect and sometimes contempt, the rest of the culturally-diverse inhabitants of this so-called tourist destination have remained steadfast in the belief that it will not be long and soon we shall be heralding the peace that we all dream of.

Wishful thoughts…? Perhaps, but what I saw during the Solidarity Mission facilitated by the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) was a step towards rebuilding on the trust and confidence among the diverse culture who have stakes in the continuing peace efforts in our Mindanao.

We only need to “fill-in-the-blanks,” to talk among ourselves, to appreciate each other’s cultures, roles and efforts at shading light into our garbled minds, and make ourselves be heard and represented.

For nothing is impossible when we all come together and talk, heal each other and understand each other’s nuances and weaknesses. The Peace Process in the Moro areas that many skeptics suspect cannot hold because of the seeming gargantuan tasks that lies ahead could still be the key that could open the floodgates of “good vibes” that we, all Mindanaoans have been looking for.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 05, 2014.


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