Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Importance of Dialogue Mindanao stressed; consultations continue in Butuan City

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines - “Peace is too precious to be left alone in the hands of fighting forces,” so said “Dialogue Mindanaw” consultant Fr Albert Alejo in Iligan City on Tuesday even as he underscored the importance of the Reflective Dialogue through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process headed by Secretary Anabelle Abaya that puts the public at the forefront and gives them a chance to help pave the way for lasting harmony in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, “Dialogue Mindanaw” continues its Mindanao sojourn on Thursday in Butuan City.

“Nag-aaway ang dalawang puwersa para sa tao pero hindi naman nakokonsulta ang mga tao,” said Fr. Alejo during the consultations held Tuesday (March 9) at the Elena Tower Inn here, referring to government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that have been waging a bloody war for decades.

Alejo emphasized the two sides fight with different missions in mind, unaware of the fact that thousands, if not millions, of people are being affected by their armed conflict in the region.

“Sa kanila nang lahat pero ang mga tao ang naaapektuhan sa kanilang ginagawa,” Alejo added.

According to Abaya, the Iligan leg attracted 287 participants, including representatives from internally displaced people, local government units, military, lumads, women, police, civil society, non-government organizations, business, academe, Maranaw, traditional leaders and international groups.

Abaya said participants came as far as Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Marawi City , showing how eager they were to give their piece on the matter.

"This is what we came here (Iligan) for, their opinions, views and suggestions that would help the two sides achieve what Mindanaoans are longing for,” Abaya said.

Aside from Abaya, also participating in the event were Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz and Rev. Fr. Regino R. Quijano of PAKIGDAIT Inc., OPAPP’s local partner for the event.

Dr Guimba Poingan laid down the MILF’s position in the peace process while Dr Ronald Adamat enlightened the participants about the government’s stance on the matter.

During the consultations, participants appreciated and expressed positive acceptance for “Dialogue Mindanaw” and majority of them asked OPAPP to undertake more dialogues like this.

Other sectors claimed that for the peace talks to succeed, both the government and the MILF should show transparency in their negotiations.

Abaya assured all participants that opinions and proposals gathered during Reflective Dialogues would be taken up in the resumption of negotiations between government and MILF.

“Views, opinions and reactions from the public will come into play when the peace talks resume next month in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia ,” Abaya said.

OPAPP has put up an official website ( for "Dialogue Mindanaw", aside from accounts in popular social networking sites such as Facebook ( and Twitter (

Also, comments on the Mindanao peace process can also be relayed through the following text lines: 0999-42-PEACE (73223) for Smart users and 0917-83-PEACE (73223) for Globe subscribers.

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