ZAMBOANGA CITY – After the bombings in Belgium and Pakistan, and on the occasion of the second anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), senatorial re-electionist Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday renewed his commitment to peace and the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“Maraming balakid ang daan tungo sa kapayapaan. Pero hindi tayo dapat panghinaan. Ang kapayapaan, kasama ng katarungan at masaganang buhay para sa lahat, ay karapat-dapat na mga mithiin (There are many obstacles on the road to peace. But we should not be disheartened. Peace, together with justice and a prosperous life for all, are worthy causes),” he said.
CAB is the negotiated political settlement between the government and the MILF that served as basis for the drafting of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), for which the proposed legislative measures have been stalled in Congress after the Mamasapano tragedy. The agreement also outlined socio-economic interventions and transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms to ensure a just and lasting peace in Mindanao and all across the country.
“Even without the BBL, much has been achieved in continuing to talk with our Moro brothers. The ceasefire has held and bloodshed has stopped,” Pangilinan said. “What we have achieved should form the basis for the continuation of the process by the next administration. Continuing peace in Mindanao is one of the many reasons why these upcoming elections are crucial to our country.”
Except for the January 25, 2015 incident in Mamasapano, no encounters between government and Moro rebel forces have been recorded since 2012.
“We have seen the effects of violent extremism. We have also seen that the CAB and the entire Mindanao peace process serve as the best deterrent against it,” the senator said.
Pangilinan also offered his condolences to the victims of the most recent terror attacks in Brussels last Tuesday and in Lahore, Pakistan on Easter Sunday.
“Nakikiramay tayo sa lahat ng mga naapektuhan ng mga pag-atakeng ito. Hindi bago sa atin ang mga labanang nagreresulta di lamang sa mga pagkamatay at pagkasugat ng mga tao, kungdi pati sa pagkawasak sa mga ari-arian at sa paglisan sa mga tahanan ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Mindanao (We offer our deepest sympathies to those who were affected by these attacks. We ourselves are not new to conflicts that result not only in deaths and injuries to people, but also to destruction of properties and displacement for our countrymen here in Mindanao),” he said.
On March 22, at least 28 people died in airport and metro attacks by suicide bombers in Belgium. On March 27, Easter Sunday, at least 65 people were killed and over 200 injured when an explosion ripped through a parking lot in a crowded park in Lahore.