Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spare peace negotiations from politics: Peace Adviser

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Spare peace negotiations from politics - Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Annabelle Abaya made this plea to politicians Sunday during the “Dialogue Mindanaw” peace consultations attended by more than 300 participants at the Venus Hotel in Baguio City in northern Philippines.

“The peace process is not political,” Abaya said, adding that she believes that “it is a spiritual process that entails pursuing in your lives”.

Abaya echoed President Arroyo’s stand that peace negotiations between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front should not be mired by politics with the elections months away.

“Peace negotiations should not take a backseat to politics as this would mean giving up on the government’s quest for harmony in Mindanao ,” she said.

Once again, Abaya emphasized the importance of getting the public’s view on the ongoing peace talks through reflective dialogues in different parts of the country.

“Gusto nating marinig ang opinyon ng bawat isa. Mabigyan kayo ng space para makapagsalita,” Abaya said, who also assured that the participants’ opinion will not go to waste.

“Ang mga makakalap nating impormasyon ay ibibigay sa ating pamahalaan at sa mga negotiating panels,” she said.

Also, Abaya briefed participants regarding the last meeting between the government and MILF last March 4 and 5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where both sides held a question and answer session to clarify the drafts they presented.

Abaya also assured participants that concerns of the indigenous people and other Cordillera concerns will have an opportunity to be tackled.

Aside from Abaya, Professor Aboud Syed Lingga and Dr. Bai Janena Tito spoke in behalf of the MILF and the government, respectively.

Lingga, executive director of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies , presented the MILF’s position while Tito, former commissioner of Mindanao Consultative Commission, discussed the government’s stand on the peace issue.

On Monday, “Dialogue Mindanaw” will be held in Bongao town in Tawi-Tawi province and Iligan City where hundreds of peace stakeholders are expected to join the reflective dialogues arranged by OPAPP. On March 11, “Dialogue Mindanaw” is slated to be held in Butuan City .

As part of its “Dialogue Mindanaw” program, the OPAPP has set up two text lines where the public can relay their opinions and views regarding the peace talks between the government and MILF. For Smart users, OPAPP has 0999-42-PEACE (73223) and 0917-83-PEACE (73223) for Globe subscribers.

OPAPP is also using the Internet to spread its “Dialogue Mindanaw” program through its official website (, Facebook Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts.

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