In the voter’s forum,#CleanVotePH we co-convened last April 16,2016, different aspects and issues of being a Filipino were tackled. My former student, a Moro and peace advocate have vocally expressed concerns relevant to peace and development, particularly in the region which she belongs in Mindanao.
The conflict and the elusive peace in southern Philippines is something, we as Filipinos, must have concern as able bodied citizens of this country. Have you ever pondered on this matter seriously? Perhaps because we are based in the city-centers, or maybe because in our personal levels we do not see a sincere and serious resolve from the so-called representations from the government’s side. We have been in a problematic relationship, to say the least, an on and off stage until today that we have a pushy, pessimist, intermittent kind of handling the situation. People have become negative in the many hues of this conflict.
Decades and decades have been dedicated to lay down a lasting peace and the spectacles of development in the promised land. Sad but it is true that many lives have been offered in the name of the country, their area, their beliefs and even our conception of nationhood. They have called on their Allah and so do we pray to our God, if it is a call of who is powerful, but not. Peace is immeasurable and goes beyond religious pronouncements. Leaders have come and go but the foundations not yet truly built have made remnants already, imprints of good faith or lack of it in the obligations entered into.
From the internal waters of Tawi-tawi, the matter have even reached the Trippoli, but lapse of time can attest, the agreements are left voices unheard or memories unwritten. Nothing have been resolved as the anatomy of the conflict is on a cleancher level, more than a difficult round of settlement. We have to move forward and coexist in peace and development in this country.
That segment of our national territory is a manifestation of diversity where the problem lies. In the smallness of the areas covered is a richness in culture and traditions. The stronger cliques, sultanates and tribes are geared up to something bigger. Amidst the stories of strife, bloodshed and hunger, our larger and bolder stories of survival, courage and determination to live a normal and happier life is a continuing hope.
Perhaps, we need to rechannel our deeper understanding of peace. Maybe we need to offer more of our listening ears and helping hands. We need to view the sun shining than our horror stories of bloody wars in that area. We need to actively take part in bridging gaps and institute reforms for the better. We need to live in affirmation that there are differences and there are weaknesses in each of us. We must know how to make gentle and lasting compromises. This time, and again, we begin with respect.
Atty. Rodel Taton