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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…

Good news that draws suspicion than anticipation

That the informal peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is due to resume soon offers a reflection in our role as informal observers of the peace process that gained hold, then lost it somehow.

The MindaNews report GRP, MILF ‘informal talks’ to start ‘possibly’ by Dec. 22 didn’t quite tell there is a reason to celebrate (even if the news comes before Christmas and a fear of worsening situation on the ground).

Of course any kind of talk is always better than any form of violence. We all wish for peace, not just for Christmas but once and for all –for good.

As much as we want to get excited, we can’t just lose hold off the ground. At one point this could be a genuine press release.

But it could also be to serve the interests of some parties.

We might have a peace talks fatigue but we also cannot afford to let war just unfold.

I am nosing for enough sincerity, the one that could get them to sit in front each panel and talk, and relieve Mindanawons from the stress.

Eagles of hope

The Philippine Eagle Foundation has announced its plan to release two new eagles into the wild of Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in January 2009.

This is despite the death of a Philippine Eagle named “Kagsabua” (unity) in July 2007, which it released just months earlier.

“What happened to Kagsabua is not a stumbling block,” a PEF official said in this report at MindaNews.com.

The Outsider

Traveling to communities have brought me to many experiences —mostly encounters of acquiantances.

You just don’t get to meet a person or group of people, you get to meet and have a chance to be in touch with their culture, their history, and their varying experiences.

The different-ness and uniqueness at the point of my contact with them result to dialogues (and sometimes when less fortunate about it, insightful frictions). It makes for wonderful insights, some of which figure in some of my writings/ reports. Read More…

Matigsalugs revive plan to create own town

A plan in the 1990s to create another municipality for the Matigsalug tribe to be carved out of Kitaotao town is being revived, an official said.

Board member Roelito Gawilan, president of the Bukidnon Federation of the Association of Barangay Captains, confirmed they have started “at the grassroots level” in initiating the process to create a new town for the Matigasalugs.

Gawilan is President of the Federation of Matigsalug-Manobo Tribal Councils (FEMMATRICS) and also the elected barangay captain of Sinuda.

Gawilan said they are now conducting a study on the land area, population, and income of at least 15 of Kitaotao’s 35 barangays. Read full story here.

Waway Saway on videos and books on peace for children

“Iitsa, tamoka, yataki, tumbi!”  “Iitsa, tamoka,
yataki, tumbi!”

Iitsa, tamoka, yataki, tumbi! (That’s throw, catch, step and stamp!)

I thought for a while it was a line in a Kenyan song I learned from
someplace else, but the words sounded familiar even if it was belted
out in a universal beat.

Waway Saway’s song lingered in my hearing perimeter even hours after
watching a video on it, which he posted at Youtube.com.

The song was about care for the environment in which the singer urged
the listeners to throw, catch, step and stamp on one’s fear against
caring for the environment.

The video showed Gali (“fellow” or Binukid equivalent to Cebuano’s
“Bai”) perform in an international audience with fellow Talaandig
artist Balugto Necosia in a peace concert in South Korea’s tourist
favorite Naminara Island. Read More…

Released Philippine eagle killed in Mt. Kitanglad

Three-year-old Philippine Eagle “Kagsabua” was killed by a local airgun shooter near the village where
he was released just four months ago inside the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, an environment official said.

Felix Mirasol, community environment and natural resource officer, confirmed to MindaNews Wednesday that witnesses have identified the culprit described as a young man who failed to attend information
drive on the Philippine Eagle (pithecophaga jefferyi).

Mirasol is the Mt. Kitanglad Protected Area superintendent.

Kagsabua was last sighted on July 7 and was known to be missing between July 8 and 10, Mirasol said. He said a search operation was immediately launched. Read More…