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Catholic, Muslim educators to talk peace

July 23, 2010 12:24pm
Catholic and Muslim educators will launch a series of discussions on the peace problem in Mindanao.

Jesuit-run Ateneo University School of Government and the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, with the support of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), are hosting the talks featuring experts on the issue.

Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La Vina said the discussions are taking place “outside the peace process" between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace negotiators.

In a report of the Union of Catholic Asian News, he expressed hope that some sessions could tackle issues raised during formal negotiations.

The new administration of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is preparing to resume peace talks that broke down in August 2008.

IBS is a non-stock, non-profit private institution begun in 2001 to undertake independent and collaborative research on Bangsamoro society, history, education, culture, politics, economic, and contemporary affairs.

IBS Executive Director Abhoud Syed Lingga said the Mindanao conflict stems from the struggle of the Bangsamoro people against "domination" by the Philippine state.

“The conflict is rooted in the [government's] assertion of its sovereignty and the assertion of the Bangsamoro people of their right to self-determination," he said.

Peace in Mindanao can be achieved primarily through formal peace negotiations at the national level, Lingga wrote.

Only the involvement of high-level officials of both parties will enable a formula to be found for an acceptable treaty, he added.

However, historian Rudy Rodil, the former vice-chairman of the government panel negotiating peace with the MILF, disagrees with Lingga's statement.

He said the centuries-old hostilities between the government and Muslims and "non-Islamized" indigenous people lie at the root of the peace problem.

The solution lies in successful “practical, grassroots, community level" dialogue since the high-level peace talks alone can never bring lasting peace, Rodil argued. –VVP, GMANews.TV
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