Biazon, Honasan to Misuari: Shut up, give peace a chance
Two military officers-turned-lawmakers on Tuesday gave this advice to Nur Misuari after the Moro leader lashed at a peace framework accord between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that would lead to the establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous setup in Mindanao.
“I think he (Misuari) should shut up first and wait for the final peace agreement. It’s just a framework agreement. It will go through a transition committee, through Congress and a plebiscite so Nur will have plenty of time to study it and criticize it then. But not now,” said Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon, a former senator and Armed Forces chief of staff.
Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, who had fought insurgents in Mindanao during his Army years, said: “As a fellow advocate for reforms and good government, let’s give peace a chance and not give up on the peace framework this early.”
Misuari, who led the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) when it signed a peace accord with the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos in 1996, has been the most vocal and distrustful of the framework agreement, which was signed in Malacañang on Monday and witnessed by MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim.
Misuari claimed that Murad was “unpopular” in Mindanao and that the agreement would be a “recipe for a big, big war” on the island.
Biazon said Misuari should do away with his “warlordism culture,” which, he added, had no place on the negotiating table.
“The Muslim community has many leaders and he is not the only one. In fact, he was even expelled by his group (MNLF) from its central committee at one point in the late ’90s. I believe that we should heed the voice of other enlightened Muslim leaders as well,” the congressman said.
Aside from Misuari and his faction, Honasan said peace advocates should also ensure that not only Muslims but also Christians and indigenous peoples would be involved in the Bangsamoro process.
“Peace is an inclusive and not exclusive process as eloquently shown by the late Haydee Yorac, who was our peace negotiator in the National Unification Commission in 1993,” he said.
While he did not agree with Misuari’s knee-jerk opposition to the framework deal, the senator said there was no point in blaming the Moro leader for the failure of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In Mindanao, two of the so-called triumvirate of women lawmakers who had vigorously opposed efforts to realign provinces into a Moro territory are now singing a different song.
Former South Cotabato Rep. Luwalhati Antonino, now the head of the Mindanao Development Authority, said that with the signing of the framework agreement, President Aquino “has taken the great effort of achieving just and lasting peace in Mindanao, for the good of the entire nation.”
Antonino, Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes and the late Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Ma. Clara Lobregat had formed the “Tres Marias,” which fought the establishment of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) following the MNLF peace agreement. The SPCPD covered 16 provinces, including Palawan.
Antonino said her support for the government-MILF accord was brought about by transparency on the side of the negotiators, unlike the 1996 agreement.
“With unity and understanding, we can achieve our shared vision for Bangsamoro and for Mindanao,” she said.
Fuentes said that in 1996 and 2008, she had joined calls to block the implementation of previous deals because these would not have solved the peace and security issues in Mindanao.
“To be fair, the Aquino administration consulted us before the framework agreement was signed,” Fuentes said.—With reports from Allan Nawal and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao
Originally posted: 7:29 pm | Tuesday, October 16th, 2012