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Reading the 11-point summaries of the GPH-MILF Peace Talks in Kuala Lumpur

When I used to cover Davao City, I have become more familiar with the GPH-MILF peace negotiations. Even if it is only the committees on the cessation of hostilities who meet, they issue a joint statement to some how shed light on the coverage of meeting.

I expected this from the talks in KL but the reports said there was none.This is not a good sign, if we look at it that way.  I think having no joint statement is more sincere an act, than forcing one when there is none.Is it right to have one just to play with symbolism?

Many people expected a lot from the talks. After that “historic” meeting in Japan between President Benigno Aquino III and the MILF’ chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the stakes are high on “expediting the peace process”.

As a journalist who covered this from afar, my reading is, are we supposed to mistake “expediting the process” with taking short cuts? Unless we expected the negotiators to be rubbing on a bottle for a genie to make wishes easily his command. Read More…


On the appointment of new GRP panel chair

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has named Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis as chair of the new government panel that will resume peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), reports tell us.

But what I think is a striking reaction to this news is a comment from Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, executive director of the Cotabato City-based Institute of Bangsamoro Studies. 

He said in a story carried by that whoever heads the government’s negotiating panel is “secondary in importance.” Read More…

One of the many views in the colorful MBS1 Davao City

(27 October 2007) – Online journal writers or bloggers from Mindanao were urged to go beyond writing about personal matters and instead use their internet platform to help promote peace and understanding in Mindanao.

Speaking to at least 60 bloggers at the opening ceremonies of the 1st Mindanao Bloggers’ Summit, organizers and resource speakers took turns in urging bloggers to publish entries that contribute to understanding

Oliver Robillo, head of the organizers said blogging, if done collectively, could help influence society.

“As bloggers, we are in possession of a potentially influential medium, and it is that ability that we can harness in order to impress upon the world that Mindanao is in fact a beautiful place. We know that ourselves. We know that we are of diverse, and yet somehow harmonious, cultures. We have in our midst different but fascinating traditions,” he said. Read original format of the story here. Read More…

Blogging the Mindanawon Consciousness

When I first heard of the theme of the up and coming Second Mindanao Bloggers Summit I felt it is something worth blogging about.

It is indeed a practical topic in a time when blogging is already considered a force to reckon with.

This is especially true in a time when Mindanao continues to experience unpeace and is misunderstood in many ways.

Mindanawons blogging about Mindanao is but just natural and is right about the perfect energy needed.

There is a need to blog about the voices of peoples rooted in Mindanao.

It might not be enough, however, that there are Mindanao bloggers who discuss on Mindanao from their online platforms. Read More…

Corruption inside bus No. 2075

Inside the crowded air-conditioned bus from Davao, the faces of the passengers looked weary and their eyes looked tired. At least 15 new passengers embarked from the busy, old Valencia City terminal. 

For a moment the vehicle looked like a wet public market, and then sounded like one.

The passengers settled in the vacant seats at the rear end of the bus, and then almost simultaneously released sighs of relief. 

It was probably the last air-con bus to leave for Cagayan de Oro before dinner.

It was not quite relieving, however, for others who have to stand as all seats were taken. Some others were left waiting eternally at the messy terminal.

Shortly after, the bus rolled off.

Still tired, most of the passengers were silent for a moment, and another. 

At the front portion of the bus, the conductor, a stocky middle-aged man with a rounded face, called on the passengers bound for Cagayan de Oro for tickets.

“Kinsa pa’y wala’y ticket diri?” he asked a column of “standing” passengers. 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…

Pikit stop over: Pamogon coffee break

Pamogon Store
Stall No. 04
Pikit Public Market

For coffee drinkers, a natural choice for a stop over in between Cotabato and Davao cities aside from rest room visits and road side meals, is the Pikit Public Market.

Aside from it being a vibrant and busy market place, it offers Pikit’s famous Pamogon “excelsa” coffee.

We scoured for that ‘aromatic’ redemption and found it for sale in many stalls at P130 per kilo.  

I had been curious about what makes the humble native Pamogon coffee unique. I’ve been drinking this coffee for a while and I wanted to know more about how this was made.

And in this recent trip to Central Mindanao I wanted to know the answers. Read More…