MANILA, Philippines - Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has urged the Aquino government to pull out military forces in Mindanao to put an end to the decades-old conflict in the region.
“The world has to unlearn the language of violence. That is already enough,” Rosales said in an interview.
The prelate said continuing with the military option would only prompt more fighting instead of the promotion of peace among Filipinos.
“That's why that conflict has been dragging [on] for a long time and nothing is being resolved; [it] is because when one wins, the loser wreaks a more violent revenge,” Rosales said in Filipino.
Over the weekend, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it is resuming its operations against the MILF rebels since the month-long Ramadan ended last Friday.
Members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines had earlier called on the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to resume peace talks.
In August 2008, peace talks between the government and the Moro rebel group collapsed due to aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, prompting some MILF commanders to stage attacks on civilian communities.
Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator prior to the panel's deactivation, said last Saturday the group will announce this week the new members of its peace panel.
The MILF has decided to reactivate its peace panel following the completion of the government's own peace panel.
The government peace panel includes lawyer Marvic Leonen as chairman, and businessman Senen Bacani, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, politician Ramon Piang, and Dr. Hamid Barra as members. - By Helen M. Flores (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)