We, the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW), united in our common desire to build a lasting peace and future for all peoples in Mindanao, continuing with our reflection and discernment on the pace and progress of the current peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), put forward our urgent concerns and calls:

While at this stage of the peace process, eight months removed since the signing of the historic Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), we note with alarm and concern the lag in the accomplishments in the negotiations when contrasted with the timelines and roadmap to peace mutually agreed upon. This lack of development has given rise to conjecture and negativity towards the peace process and joint agreements reached thus far. Furthermore, this lack of progress has allowed detractors and naysayers to gain traction in public discourse, eating away at the support the peace process has painstakingly gained. Nevertheless, we encourage both panels to persevere, in uniting on common ideals and detailing the mechanisms needed to make them work. As they resume their discussions in Kuala Lumpur today through the 10th, we all wish the members of both panels renewed enthusiasm, vigor and hope in defining the true promise of Mindanao.

Yet, given the reality of time ticking inexorably onwards, we DO challenge both panels to more vigorously and openly engage all stakeholders, from the government and MILF forces, on to the general public about the developments pertaining to the peace process.

We DO encourage both panels to use all channels at their disposal, from media, sectors and networks like ours included, to make the Bangsamoro principles, ideals and developments about the talks understood and well-supported.

We DO believe no time should be lost in disseminating such information and generating support for the Bangsamoro throughout the broadest constituency possible.

We DO believe that this starts with the signing of the annexes and quickly moving forward with the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

And we DO and very strongly believe that the time for us all to engage in this is NOW.

While we also express our deepest concern over the havoc wrought by the ongoing clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), we DO remain hopeful and happy that both the GPH and MILF affirm that these acts will not derail the talks. We appreciate this laser-like commitment of both panels to the task at hand. We value such clarity of positions, and advocate this be sustained in the ongoing information dissemination efforts of both parties as well.

The issue of time may now weigh heavy for a number of us. Nevertheless we continue to challenge all parties involved to make the most of the opportunities before us. We note that July marks the start of Ramadan, the Islamic period of reflection and purification. July also marks the time the President issues the nation’s marching orders in his State of the Nation Address (SONA). We feel this period is timely for us to rethink, retool, re-engage and with shared concern and urgency, redouble our efforts towards our end goal of peace in Mindanao.

In closing, we of the MPW reiterate our call. We celebrate and value the accomplishments gained by the peace process thus far. We express our concern at the slowed pace and progress reached as well. We laud the efforts towards clarifying and communicating the respective positions of the parties. We reiterate the need to continuously expand the scope and scale of transparency and engagement. We remain hopeful and positive that the remaining work is within our capabilities to complete.

On the task left before us, we call on all of us stakeholders to redouble our efforts with urgency and make our concerns broadly known. Let us work hard, together and in unity at laying the strongest groundwork for peace to prosper in our beloved Mindanao.