Press Release
August 22, 2008


The situation in Mindanao has reached levels that would have been unimaginable only a few weeks ago. It is ironic that, instead of brokering peace, the government has led us to the brink war.

The government must now take concrete steps to address this situation:

1. They must exhaust all means to bring Commanders Umbra Kato and Bravo of the MILF to justice. The rule of law must prevail.

2. There must be an unconditional laying down of arms. There should be no negotiation under the gun.

3. The MoA between the government and the MILF, root of all the recent troubles, must immediately be junked. New negotiators--those who are better-versed in the tenets of consultative and pluralistic democracy--must be appointed.

4. All further negotiations must move within the framework of our Constitution. The country must not be torn apart. The Filipino people must remain as one. And, as all power emanates from the people, all stakeholders and sectors must be consulted. They must have a say in how their destinies will unfold.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have settled across our archipelago. All of them have a stake in a united republic, in a country that treats religious and ethnic differences not as sources of conflict but as spaces for dynamism and authentic discourse.

There is no denying that the government has failed the Bangsamoro people miserably. And while I recognize and sympathize with many of the grievances, I remain steadfast in the idea that the answer lies not in tearing the country apart.

The answer lies in undergoing sincere development efforts in the countryside. It lies in rebuilding our nation so that none feel neglected for the sake of others.

News Latest News Feed