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Iqbal says MILF will not withdraw from peace process, regardless of BBL fate

/ 09:15 PM March 26, 2015

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal has said the MILF will never disengage from the peace process, regardless of what happens to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“No matter what happens to the BBL, the MILF will stay engaged in the peace process,” Iqbal said.

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Iqbal made the statement at the sidelines of Thursday’s University Convocation ceremonies, part of Xavier University’s 76th Commencement Exercises.

Iqbal, together with Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairperson of the GPH Peace Panel for talks with the MILF, were conferred with the Fr. William F. Masterson, SJ award for their contributions to social development.

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Iqbal was cited for his “conscientious and patient efforts to engage in democratic dialogue and negotiations for peace in Mindanao, for his untiring work towards a negotiated political solution that eschews the ways of extremism and terrorism, and for his unflinching and heartfelt service to bring peace and progress to our country.”

Ferrer’s “exemplary contributions to peace-building and conflict management” was recognized by the University.

The Jesuit-run Xavier University also bestowed the Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, to OPPAP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles who also served as the commencement speaker.

Deles said the recognition for their efforts to build peace in Mindanao has been “very affirming,” considering all the flak the peace process with the MILF has been receiving following the January 25 Mamasapano carnage.

The university President, Fr Roberto Yap, SJ, lauded the three negotiators’ efforts to build peace, telling the almost 2,000 graduates to emulate their courage to work for peace despite the daunting obstacles set before it.

“More than ever, especially after the Mamasapano tragedy, Xavier University signifies its support for staying the course in pursuing peace,” Yap said.

The University’s decision to push through with the recognition of Iqbal, Deles, and Ferrer was initially met with some opposition from Xavier University alumni, with some taking to social media to voice their sentiments.

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But Archbishop Antonio Javellana Ledesma S.J. of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro said the opposition to the honoring of the three and, indirectly, to the BBL in the city, has been largely due to a lack of understanding of the issues.

“We have no other option but to continue the dialogue on peace,” Ledesma, who witnessed the honoring of the three, said. SFM

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TAGS: Antonio Javellana Ledesma, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, Armed conflict, Bangsamoro Basic Law, bloodshed, carnage, clash, covert operations, Encounter, Fr. William F. Masterson, gun battle, Insurgency, law enforcement, Mamasapano debacle, Mamasapano massacre, Mamasapano mission, manhunt for terrorists, Massacre, massacre of policemen, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Mohagher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, News, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, peace process, Philippine Government, Philippine Nationa Police, rebellion, Roberto Yap, SJ award, social development, Special Action Force, Teresita Quintos-Deles, Xavier University
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