‘Eternal’ Muslim-Christian war feared if peace talks fail

Posted By: Chris On:

CAGAYAN DE ORO City, Jan. 5, 2011—The chairperson of a Muslim non-government organization warned Wednesday of an “eternal” Muslim-Christian war in Mindanao if the Aquino administration fails to achieve a final peace settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Islamic Movement for Electoral Reform and Good Government (IMERGG) founding chairperson Hadji Abdullah “Lax” Dalidig also said that the Aquino administration should show sincerity in negotiating peace with the MILF to prevent a “third force” from taking advantage of the lull in the negotiations and sow chaos in Mindanao.

“President Aquino must show sincerity in achieving lasting peace with the MILF by fast tracking the peace negotiations. His government must do something to convince the people of the government’s sincerity to prevent a third force from fueling another all-out war in Mindanao. I fear that once war erupts, it will be an unending, eternal war that might degenerate into a religious Muslim-Christian war,” he told this reporter.

Dalidig disclosed that there are some “military hawks and other bad elements” who are just waiting for the talks to fail so that they can sow chaos and ignite another all-out war in Mindanao.

He said that he has documentary evidence to prove that not all government officials are in favor of a political settlement with the MILF.

“These government officials are the ones pulling the strings of several military hawks to create a scenario that will enflame the Bangsamoro people to rise against the government for their own ends. There is something here in Mindanao that they want so much that they will try to get it no matter the cost,” he said.

He, however, said he will present these documentary evidences in his possession in the proper time.

With the GRP-MILF negotiations still stalled because of the unresolved issue on facilitation, people are beginning to lose hope in the Aquino administration to sign a final peace agreement with the Moro front.

Malacañang had asked the negotiations’ broker Malaysia to replace Datuk Othman bin Abd’Razak as facilitator because he is allegedly in favor of the MILF.

The MILF has been fighting the government for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in Mindanao.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF remain stalled since August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

Nevertheless, efforts are being undertaken by both sides to revive the talks.

A final peace deal will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group’s some 11,800-strong fighters.

Dalidig said the Bangsamoro nation is now disillusioned with the way the Aquino administration is handling the peace talks.

He said the convergence of up to 50,000 Muslims in Marawi City last November 22, 2010 to ventilate their disillusionment with the government is just the tip of the iceberg.

The November Muslim convergence in Marawi was initiated by the Bangsamoro Solidarity Action for Peace and Justice, a multi-sectoral alliance of Muslim mass-based organizations in the Lanao provinces.

In that rally, Aquino was called a liar by the Muslims for his failure to deliver on his promise to convene the peace negotiations after the Ramadhan 2010.

It was also during the November convergence that the Ranao Manifesto was drawn up in which the MILF was urged to “withdraw from the peace negotiations with the GRP and revert to the original aspiration and stand on which the Bangsamoro liberation movement was founded more than four decades ago: The political independence of the Bangsamoro nation from the Philippine state.” (Bong D. Fabe)

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