Mindanao evacuees ask Malacanang to continue peace talks

Members of the Mindanao People's Caucus

Members of the Mindanao People's Caucus

Prof. Octavio Dinampo

Prof. Octavio Dinampo

The Mindanao People’s Caucus, a civic organization based in Mindanao, is asking the government to continue with the peace talks to resolve the conflict in Mindanao.
The organization is offering itself as a “bridge” until a new peace panel is organized by the government to negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

At the same time, Prof. Octavio Dinampo of the Mindanao People’s Caucus lauded the recently-dissolved negotiating panel as the “best” panel the government has ever had, both in terms of sincerity and achievement.

Dinampo also warned the humanitarian crisis might worsen after the International Monitoring Team (IMT) pulls out in three months’ time. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had earlier said they were preparing for the possibility of more fighting once Ramadan ends, but Dinampo said he was more worried about what would happen after the IMT leaves. The IMT’s mandate ended in August, but was extended for three months.

The conflict in Mindanao, Dinampo said, has “revived old hatreds…the old animosities between the Christians and the Muslims.”

“We are back to the 70s, when Christians and Muslims were arming themselves. But this time (both parties) are better-armed compared to the 70s. They have urban operations, urban operatives,” Dinampo said.

“It started with a political crisis…now it’s a humanitarian crisis…the next will be fundamentalist or radical,” Dinampo added, as he warned that the ongoing fighting in Mindanao and the resulting humanitarian crisis could be used by radical groups to fan Muslim sentiments against the government.

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