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PIA Press Release

Archbishop Ledesma pushes to continue peace process

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (21 August) -- The peace process in Mindanao should continue regardless of the recent violence that has taken place in the Lanao provinces.

Thus stressed Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro who said the peace process should not be held hostage just because of the atrocities done by a minority party.

"What happened may just be the actions of a breakaway group which does not represent the entire Muslim population. In that sense we should continue to search for peace and development of Mindanao," he said.

The Archbishop also said that since the proposed memorandum of agreement of the GRP Peace Panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has somehow gone public, there should be a careful review of its provisions.

The review should be done on the MOA's entire perspective taking into account that there are, in itself, step by step conditions calling for a consultation and then a plebiscite of all the concerned areas.

He also asks that no surprise decisions should be made based on the MOA and that it should only be considered a simple ground plan on how to bring about consultations and eventual democratic decisions by the people based on the actual will of the affected communities.

Normally there are unfounded fears of many people because of what has happened causing a lot of anti-Muslim sentiments which are not based on the facts and actual provisions of the MOA.

This has further complicated because of the atrocities that had taken place in Lanao del Norte resulting to the evacuation of more than 7,000 people.

"We hope that more sober minds and more sober-thinking individuals/groups in Mindanao can see that what is at stake here is not only the sense of security of a minority/ rebel group or an advantaged group, but let us also take a look at a long range of relevant peace process for Mindanao," the Archbishop added (PIA 10) [top]

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