Mindanao People’s Coalition for Peace & Development (MPCPD)
Iligan City, Northern Mindanao, Philippines

AN APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT TO RESUME THE PEACE TALKS IN SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME

WHEREAS, THE WITHDRAWAL OF A MAJOR CONTINGENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MONITORING TEAM FROM MINDANAO HAS LEFT THE PEACE PROCESS IN A “FLOATING STATUS,” ADDING TO THE CURRENT IMPASSE IN THE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE MILF;

WHEREAS, THE RECENT OCCURRENCE OF ARMED CLASHES BETWEEN THE MILF AND THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY IN BASILAN, AND IN MAITUM, SARANGANI PROVINCE HAS INCREASED THE SECURITY RISK OF PEOPLES IN MINDANAO;

WHEREAS, THE PEACE NEGOTIATION BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE MILF HAS REACHED SOME MILESTONES AND GAINS FOR PEACE IN THE PAST, HAVING SIGNED AT LEAST 59 CONSENSUS POINTS AND IS AWAITING THE FINALIZATION OF A MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT;

WHEREAS, IF THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WOULD FAIL, MINDANAO WOULD AGAIN BE THROWN INTO THE WHIRLWIND OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND WAR, THEREBY NEGATING ALL THE GAINS THAT PEACE CONCERNED ORGANIZATIONS HAVE MADE IN THE PAST;

WHEREAS, THE MINDANAO PEOPLE’S COALITION FOR PEACE & DEVELOPMENT, AN UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION OF PEACE-CONCERNED CIVIL SOCIETY AND NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS HAS LED THIS INITIATIVE TO MOVE FOR A SWIFT RESUMPTION OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE MILF;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE MOVANTS OF THIS PEACE RALLY, THE MINDANAO PEOPLE’S COALITION FOR PEACE & DEVELOPMENT, AS STAKEHOLDERS IN THE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT OF MINDANAO, DO HEREBY MANIFEST THE FOLLOWING URGENT RECOMMENDATIONS, TO WIT:

1. THAT THE GRP AND THE MILF RESUME ITS TALKS ON THE NEGOTIATING TABLE IN THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME.

2. THAT THE GRP AND THE MILF REFRAIN FROM MAKING ACTS INIMICAL TO THE PEACE PROCESS, OR ACTS THAT WOULD PROVOKE EITHER PARTY TO GO INTO AN ARMED CONFRONTATION, NO MATTER HOW ISOLATED THAT CONFRONTATION IS, AND INSTEAD FOCUS ON A NEGOTIATED POLITICAL SETLLEMENT OF ISSUES.

3. THAT THE GRP AND THE MILF RESPECT THE CONSENSUS POINTS SIGNED BY BOTH PARTIES IN MALAYSIA, AND THAT THESE SHOULD BE MADE THE BASIS FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE TALKS, AND THE SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN.

4. THAT THE GRP AND THE MILF RESORT TO THE MECHANISMS THAT WERE PUT IN PLACE—SUCH AS THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES—IN THE EVENT AN UNWANTED ARMED CLASH OCCURS BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES.

5. THAT THE PEOPLE OF MINDANAO, WHETHER CHRISTIAN SETTLER, BANGSAMORO, OR LUMAD, CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS ONE VOICE WHEN IT COMES TO THE FULFILMENT OF THE DREAM TO ATTAIN REAL PEACE, RESPECT FOR RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, AND EQUITABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.