Peace agreement is nothing without goodwill, sincerity—bishop

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MANILA, April 8, 2014 — While recognizing the “milestone” achieved in the signing of the peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Catholic prelate said genuine peace will only be achieved through the goodwill and sincerity of individuals to seek the common good.

“We really need peace to reign in Mindanao. But we also know that genuine peace is not something that results from any agreement, but from the goodwill of each individual,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo on April 5.

Pabillo on Saturday added that more than the signing of peace pacts between quarreling parties, it is the political will and common desire of people to settle disagreements that bring about lasting peace.

“In the (government-MILF) peace agreement, we are given hope that the peace we are longing for is now within our reach,” Pabillo said in an interview with CBCP News.

Much sought after peace will only be achieved through good will on both sides, Pabillo said, calling the the process something “ongoing” that is not acquired through the “signing of a document.”

He called on both the government and MILF panels to seek the common good instead of advancing their personal interests so genuine peace may finally be attained in Southern Philippines.

“Let us all seek the common good. Instead of pursuing personal interests, let us ask ourselves, ‘Will this really benefit the people in Mindanao?’ The peace process should also be inclusive, not solely focusing on the MILF, but including the MNLF and all other indigenous groups (Lumads) as well,” Pabillo said.

The bishop also called on the Filipino faithful to be one with the government and the Muslim groups in pushing for the attainment of peace in the country by expressing concern for the peace process.

“This is not an agreement only between the government and the other party. This involves the whole country. I hope that Filipinos will be concerned about this pursuit for peace,” Pabillo said.

“If the whole country will unite for this cause, there is a greater chance for us to attain the peace that we have all been yearning for,” he added.

On March 27, the government and the secessionist MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace agreement between the two parties encompassing the 2012 framework agreement; the annexes on transitional modalities, wealth sharing, power-sharing and normalization; and all the included addenda.

The CAB will be the basis for the drafting of the basic law of the Bangsamoro region, which will serve as the community of the Muslim minority in Mindanao. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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