Quest for lasting peace (5)
It was out of embarrassment that the 1987 chair of the GRP Peace Panel former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez was said to have apologized to his Bangsamoro counterpart, and expressed the following remarks:
“In all frankness, it is high time that the Christian Filipino majority should rectify more vigorously its serious mistakes in regarding the Muslim minority as being somehow inferior in their faith, culture and way of life. For this attitude and prejudice stem from our ignorance of Islam and of the great achievements of Islamic civilization and its contributions to the world as a whole.
“Moreover, until now, many Filipinos do not appreciate the reality that poverty and underdevelopment in the Moro lands are traceable in part to the Muslims’ historic and nationalistic resistance to western imperialist powers, to de-fend their freedom and to keep their faith and way of life as a distinctive ethno-religious minority. xxx.” In 1996, and during Pres. Fidel V. Ramos’ pre-sidency, the GRP once again concluded a peace agreement with the MNLF.
But again, while extending to Misuari and his core associates lavish accommodations, the government failed to implement the said agreement.
In exasperation, the MILF leadership resumed and intensified “village warfare”, and not long thereafter, peace shot up to become the most serious problem in the south.
This jolted the national government to resume peace negotiations in 1997 – this time with the MILF.
After 11 eleven long years of ne-gotiations, the GRP and MILF panelists crafted the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement On Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). (TO BE CONTINUED)