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Teodoro’s take on peace: be practical

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro wants to approach peace with a “strong dose of practicality, pragmatism and political realism” as he questioned the approach of solving the root causes of conflict” because “has any society been able to solve the root causes of conflict?”

He told the 8th Mindanao Island Conference of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines on Wednesday night that the first lesson he learned in approaching the problem of peace and order is to do it with “the backing of some values and some idealism and with strong dose of practicality, pragmatism, and political realism”. Read More…

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Mindanao becoming dumpsite of RP’s “bad cops”

It was a routine surf for news from places where I used to live. The order is always from the latest city, then backwards. So it was from Davao, then Quezon City-Antipolo, Iloilo, and then Cagayan de Oro.

But I was stuck in cyber Iloilo, particularly at Sun Star Iloilo’s website.

The headline reads like this as of 9:55p.m. of September 17: Police prepare transfer of ‘bad’ cops to Mindanao.

Bad cops to Mindanao? Our Mindanao is the country’s dump site? Read More…

Being present at the Fourth Mindanao Media Summit

Participants take time to smile and relax for a date with posterity

Participants take time to smile and relax for a date with posterity (Photo by Skippy Lumawag courtesy of Mindanews)

The formal sessions of the 4th Mindanao Media Summit just concluded early afternoon today, 09 August 2008.

The theme: “Mindanao 2020: The vision begins with us”, is placed in an imposing tarp at the back draft. It was a reminder to me as a member of the group who took on “drafting” the vision from the participants. “Where are the other members of the styling committee?” I asked myself.

I ate a late breakfast today as I stayed late for my recent attempt to write a narrative report. So when I entered the summit hall, I have to do some catching up on who did what the night before.

I caught up on the secretariat who were busy calling the rest of the group for the picture taking.

Meanwhile, I picked the shiniest plate on the buffet table and proceeded to feast on hotel breakfast. In my peripheral vision and hearing I could hear Jocan talking me to drop the breakfast for a moment and smile it out in the photographic firing squad.

I managed some sips of brewed coffee and few scoops of the one-serving steamed rice and the hard-boiled egg and beef curry sud-an. I have to or I couldn’t move a muscle to say “cheese”. Oh, I went there seconds later as I have to squeeze in my summit shirt. I went there to see if the pool was really tempting enough for some laps of swimming, to regret I didn’t plunge when I could last night.

The last day of the three-day gathering of Mindanao media’s “decision-makers” started with quaint picture taking by the poolside of the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Lanang, Davao City.

It was supposed to capture for the future the faces of the news professionals who participated in the summit in a step to improve capacity as stakeholder to peace and development in Mindanao. Read More…

Kalilang in a hotel under renovation, and identity in Mindanao

It was a bit awkward for me and Omar, a reserved Maguindanaoan who tried to be informative, as we took a peek at the wedding of a couple from two big Maguindanaoan families in Cotabato City.

We were looking through the window from our side of the conference hall— we looked like kids wanting to gate crash or something. Everybody in the training was doing just that as we waited for our morning session to start.

We were holding grassroots documentation and reporting training next door and the arrival of wedding guests drew our attention —especially when traditional wedding songs and hymns began to play. Read More…

What?

I can’t delay this. Perhaps there is no other time.

I have due respect for the competent people at Reuters, but I have to raise this one.

Reading the news below have disturbed me as a resident in Mindanao and as a citizen relating to many decent Muslims everyday.

There is clearly bias here and stereotype —working to anticipate a public notion.

If its the hideout that is suspected to be of the terrorists, where is the connection to “Islamic militants?” as presented in the first paragraph? Is terrorism = Islamic militants? Are we sure the government has learned to distinguish between an Islamic militant and a law-abiding citizen? Read More…

Transparency in peace negotiations

Those who are familiar with peace negotiations could understand the nature of talks being held there. Important but confidential, these are only two of the important considerations.

Any point being brought up or agreed upon bears impact to people —the respective constituencies of each negotiating party.

In the case of the government negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, each peace panel was entrusted with their stands on major talking points.

But major stands on the talking points may have to be brought open for consensus, if not compromise in the negotiating table — a market place of options. A major stand have to stand some modifications, which require consultations with their constituencies or what they call in the GRP-MILF peace panels as their “principals.”

All these come in the limelight now as both panels signal optimism for an upcoming return to formal talks early next year—well, after breaking from more than a year of impasse on ancestral domain issues. Read More…

Nur didn’t make it to Jeddah meeting: report

According to this report by MindaNews’ Carolyn O. Arguillas, detained Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari, was not able to leave for Jeddah to attend the Tripartite Meeting of the MNLF, the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Organization of Islamic Conference.

“Misuari was supposed to have left with his delegation and the Philippine delegation headed by Undersecretary Nabil Tan at 12:20 a.m. November 9 on board Emirates Flight EK 335, but was not allowed to leave for failing to submit a “sovereign guarantee” from Saudi Arabia that he would return to the Philippines immediately after the November 10 to 12 meeting in Jeddah,” the report said. Read the rest of the report on MindaNews.com.

The meeting, according to the report, would push through despite Misuari’s absence. The meetings, postponed several times since last year, was scheduled to review (and correct?) the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the MNLF and the government.