It is with renewed hope and enthusiasm that we, the Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW), meet the agreement reached by both panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at the just concluded 38th round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The midnight-hour agreement on the Annex on Resource Generation and Wealth-Sharing may have historically been the most long-drawn out process yet experienced since the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) nine months ago. Yet despite this, both panels persevered and proved that our trust in them was well-placed and well-earned, as they exerted themselves to the utmost in finding the necessary flexibility and space to come to an acceptable conclusion.

Kudos, Mabuhay, Namba and congratulations to both!

Along with our many member groups and networks long-involved in conflict resolution and peace building, the Mindanao PeaceWeavers kept faith as the talks progressed, sending our wishes, prayers and at times, even our unsolicited opinions and advice to both panels, asking them to temper their positions and foster a shared and grander perspective for Mindanao’s future. This heavy burden was admirably shouldered by both panels, delivering to us all a resounding “PADAYON!” and moving us all a step closer to our desired ideal of a just and genuine peace in Mindanao.

Yet even at this stage of the process we remain challenged and resolute as to the tasks the future still holds before us. We do not delude ourselves about the tasks remaining nor the obstacles ranged against our common quest for peace. The numbers and details left for us all to work on remain devilishly daunting, as many have repeatedly noted. The timetable continues to tick away and the roadmap we have left ourselves with still leads into the far distance. There are still the power-sharing and normalization annexes to hammer out. A Bangsamoro Basic Law to draft, a Congress to hurdle, and a plebiscite to affirm all these. And all along the way are ranged the innumerable critics, naysayers and spoilers waiting for the least opportunity to upend all the gains we’ve achieved and cherished this short while. This task remaining before us thus remains formidable indeed.

We therefore take it as a measure of our commitment, singly and collectively, to continue working hard and not give in to these negativities, nor lose hope in the peace in Mindanao we aspire for. As we celebrate this most recent accomplishment highlighted before us, we will continue with redoubling our call to all our peace-loving brothers and sisters here and elsewhere, to continue coming together, to continue sharing and making known our common call for the realization of The Bangsamoro.

We close steadfast in this our vow for peace, remaining undeterred and unbent to the common burden that all together we are slowly, hopefully and inexorably moving forward. This is the quest and the vision that drives us all, onwards towards a new hope, onwards towards a new tomorrow and ultimately, onwards towards a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

We are the PeaceWeavers, and our call is peace.