Muslims March For Peace In Mindanao

January 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment

Peace advocates march in Marawi City in southern Philippines. (Photos by Consortium Maulana for the Mindanao Examiner newspaper)
MARAWI CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 11, 2008) – About 20,000 people marched in Marawi City as the second leg of a peace rally kicked off in southern Philippines.

The marchers, many chanting “Allahu Akbar” which means “God is Great,” came from the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and converged at the Tomas Cabili Plaza in the village of Banggolo.
They also carried streamers and banners and many wearing shirts printed with the word “Allahu Akbar.”
It was the second leg of the series of Mindanao-wide peace rally led by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a network of 164 Moro civil society organizations in Mindanao.
The Ranaw Regional Management Committee of CBCS, led by Aenodin Cali, organized the rally in Marawi.
“The failure of peace agreements in the past can be attributed mainly to the non-participation of the Bangsamoro people, because non-participation means they do not own a peace agreement,” said Abdullah Dalidig, of the Islamic Movement for Electoral Reform and Good Governance (IMERGG) and Muslim Multi-sectoral Movement for Peace and Development (MMMPD).
“As real stakeholders, their collective voice should be basis of authority and the last word in the solution of the problem.”
“The consequences of war in Mindanao have been very painful and costly. More than 150,000 people died and 100,000 were estimated to be injured. Millions were displaced from their homes and several hundred thousands, including more than 200,000 Bangsamoro who sought refuge in the Malaysian State of Sabah have not returned home,” Dalidig said.
Anwar Saluwang, deputy secretary-general of United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), an organization of Muslim youths based in Cotabato City called for the immediate return to the negotiating table of both the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels.
“We the Bangsamoro in Central Mindanao feel exactly what is felt by people in Ranaw. The Government should not wait for the Bangsamoro people to become the Bangsamoro Armed Forces,” he cited. Saluwang was there with the Marawi-based members of UNYPAD.
The first leg of the peace rally was held in Cotabato City and participated by some 30,000 people from Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, and North Cotabato provinces.
“The Bangsamoro does not belong to the MILF or the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) but the MILF and the MNLF belong to the Bangsamoro people,” said Sammy Maulana, Secretary-General of CBCS. The marchers urged the government and MILF peace negotiators to resume negotiations after talks stalled last month over the issue of the Muslim ancestral domain which will constitute a separate homeland in Mindanao. (With a report from Consortium Maulana)


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