Various Civil Society Organizations (CSOS) in the country and in Mindanao have recently joined forces and aired their voices for calls to support Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and GPH panel chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.
Towards the termination of the Senate hearings on the Mamasapano incident, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano called for the resignation of Secretary Deles and Professor Ferrer, alleging that the two sided with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
But members of the CSOs believe otherwise, seeing that the gains of the peace process between the GPH and the MILF must be strengthened.
The CSOs consider Cayetano’s call as unfair and anchored on partial and prejudiced understanding on the situation of the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao.
“We believe that resolving the historic injustice committed to the Bangsamoro people towards national unity and country’s progress is the primary goal fo the GPH and the MILF negotiating panel,” said Yashira Moner, head of the YMPN Women’s Committee.
Moner pointed out that instead of resigning, Secretary Deles, Professor Ferrer and the members of the MILF panel “to continue the peaceful way of finding truth, justice and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
“Rather than be swayed by the self-vested interests of politicians, we ought to move forward towards building the culture of peace and harmony in diversity” she said, assuring the commitment of YMPN to bring forth justice to the fallen 67.
Pete Marquez of the Metro Cotabato Chamber of Commerce also expressed his belief that both Secretary Deles and Professor Ferrer should be retained and allow to continue their works to attain just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
Marquez said the call for resignation of the two officials is “uncalled for” and that both of them were “speaking to resolve the Bangsamoro problem.”
He said it was hard for both Deles and Ferrer hearing accusations of being the mouthpiece of the MILF. “People could easily misunderstand them but hardly did not appreciate their selfless efforts to get the MILF-GPH to the peace table,” Marquez stressed.
“CSOs will not support the calls for the resignation of Secretary Deles and Professor Ferrer” said Habbas Camendan, vice-chair of the Mindanao People’s Peace Movement (MPPM).
Camendan said that calls for all-out-war will not heal the flaming emotions of the widows and orphans of the killed SAF men in Mamasapano.
“Such will only aggravate the problem that will result to further damage of life, property and other resources that will push the country to unmanageable crisis,” he said.
Fr. Bert Layson, OMI, an active peace advocate in the country and head of the OMI’s Inter-Religious Dialogue also shared Camendan’s call.
“We are already on the road to peace. Please don’t make a detour. Otherwise babalik na naman tayo mas malala pa,” Fr. Layson said.
He also recognized the contributions that both Secretary Deles and Professor Ferrer had made to the current status of the peace process with the MILF.
On Cayetano’s call, Fr. Layson said: “Huwag sana kasi sila ang nakakaalam ng daan tungo sa kapayapaan ng matagal na naming hinihintay dito sa Mindanao at sa ating bansa. Ang pagkukulang ng iilan ay sana huwag idamay ang lahat.”