UP group lauds Duterte's efforts to seek peace
MANILA, Philippines – An alliance of peace advocates in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman lauded the peace efforts of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
KALINAW UP, a broad alliance of peace advocates led by UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, held a forum on Friday, July 15, where they expressed support for the Duterte administration.
The new administration is pursuing peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
According to Tan, the university should also "reach out to more sectors" to achieve peace.
"I still hear my colleagues saying, 'Nako mga komunista na iyan, may tiwala ba tayo sa kanila? (They're communists, should we trust them?) I say, 'Ang mga komunista ba may tiwala sa gobyerno natin?' (Do communists trust our government)?" Tan said. "They're not doing enough, we also need to change our government."
Meanwhile, professor Gerry Lanuza of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) and Nelin Estucado of the Alliance of Contractual Employees in UP said their views are aligned with the 12-point program of the NDFP.
Lanuza went as far as calling the program "the only solution" to the conflicts.
As early as the campaign period, Duterte had spoken to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and promised there would be a ceasefire should he win the presidency.
Formal talks with the communists will begin in the 3rd week of July.
Future of the Bangsamoro
UP Institute of Islamic Studies chairperson Jamel Cayamodin also believes Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president, is fully aware of and can address the Bangsamoro people's plight.
"It is a rare trait for a president to admit the sins of the past and the deficiencies of the government with respect to minority Muslims in this country," added Cayamodin.
The Sharia councilor, however, also urged Duterte to be mindful of continuity in the peace process. The peace initiatives under the terms of Aquino and Arroyo, according to him, went to waste "and the stakeholders of the peace dividends are left frustrated."
Duterte previously met with the leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). MNLF chairman Abul Khayr Alonto said in June that they were eyeing a "Moro Conference" to craft a new Bangsamoro law that would finally end decades of conflict in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong is a student of the Ateneo de Manila University. He is also a Rappler intern.