Korean groups support Maguindanao’s peace bid PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 May 2015 10:17

With more foreign supporters helping foster peace in the province of Maguindanao, how can local residents in their domestic security efforts fail?

Two groups of South Korean peace advocacy blocks are among the latest to have joined the peace bandwagon in the country’s south, both wanting to see the Maguindanao’s Moro, Christian, and indigenous lumad groups all together thrive in harmony.

Local officials and Korean peace activists on Monday unveiled in Buluan town, the capital of Maguindanao, a monument depicting the cooperation on peace advocacy initiatives between residents and foreign partners.

The event capped off a day-long multi-sectoral peace summit in the same town, where participants renewed support to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), jointly drafted by representatives from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and the Korean supporters of his local peace programs, Man Hee Lee and Nam Hee Kim, and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro City jointly initiated the monument’s launching in the presence of soldiers, policemen, local officials, and representatives from the MILF.

Lee and Kim are chairs of the Seoul-based Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light and the Women’s International Peace Group, respectively.

The monument was built by the Korean peace advocacy groups along a highway near Mangudadatu’s satellite office in Buluan, the provincial capital, in recognition of the domestic peace initiatives of the provincial government.

Also present in the launching rite were senior Army officials led by Brig. Gen. Noli Orense of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Assemblyman Khadafeh Mangudadatu of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town, who is president of the league of mayors in the province.

Lee said the monument, resembling a white dove, is meant to show how their group and the Mangudadatu administration both value interfaith solidarity as a more sensible and viable way of addressing peace and security issues.

Lee had told participants to the peace summit that preceded the unveiling of the monument that wars are not just bloody, but against humanitarian norms espousing respect for life and fear of God as well.

“Let us support all peaceful means of addressing conflicts. War is not good. War is so unholy and absolutely devastating. War can tear apart families, communities and nations,” Lee said via an interpreter, Joon Park, his Manila-based staff.

Park, a full-blooded Korean, but raised in Manila, translated Lee’s speech in fluent Filipino.

Lee said he was fascinated with Mangudadatu’s effort in helping push forward the peace process between the Philippine government and Moro secessionist groups.

Monday’s peace summit in Buluan was the 34th major activity of the provincial government in support of the draft BBL since the bill was submitted to Congress last year by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

The draft BBL is the enabling measure for the replacement of ARMM with a Bangsamoro political entity based on the government-MILF March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro. — John Felix M. Unson