Muslims and Christians express their sentiments as one people urging the peace panels of both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to continue the peace negotiations in the midst of calls for war by some financial and political groups in the country whose wealth and power are based on war culture. This was taken during a Peace Rally organized by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus at the Freedom Park, Davao City, 21 March 2013.

In the midst of the Sabah Crisis and calls for war, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is the peaceful way to go!

The Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) invited PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) to a Peace Rally today, 21 March 2013, at the Freedom Park in Davao City to call for the continuation of the GPH-MILF Peace Talks in Kuala Lumpur and the signing of the Annexes of the Framework Agreement.

Together with representatives from the Bangsamoro, civil society organizations, the religious sector, and even the security sector (Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Marines), we showed our massive support to both the GPH Peace Panel and the MILF Peace Panel “given the venomous call for blood and war in Sabah.” We expressed our concern to protect the GPH-MILF Peace Talks from being derailed using the Sabah Crisis as an excuse.

During the event, PBCI released its statement on the current Sabah Crisis:


The PeaceBuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) laments before God that the Kiram family expressed their claim on Sabah by sending around 200 armed men instead of sending un-armed negotiators which has been the counsel of their fellow clan members and their fellow Bangsamoro leaders.

PBCI has been crying before God that some financially able, but politically bitter families and groups in Mindanao and in the Philippines, especially those whose business and political interests are based on war and armed conflicts, would use this claim of the rights of the Kiram family. We cry to God that all those concerned about this violent event in Sabah would be wise and discerning as the war-mongers are out to use anybody and any current event to advance their selfish, war-based wealth and power interests.

We have been crying before God because of the fact that the Malaysian government did not listen to the pleading of the Philippine government, through its Department of Foreign Affairs, not to use force against the Kiram forces in Sabah. We cry against the overuse of the Malaysian military superiority against the inferior arms of the Kiram followers.

We call on our Christian sisters and brothers to resist the temptation to cry war against Malaysia based on impulsive reaction to media hype, or on nationalist rhetorics, rather than by sound biblical-theological lenses, informed by historical and socio-cultural conflict transformation processes that might help in de-escalating the current violence.

We urgently call upon President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia, the Sultanate of Sulu and its heirs led by Jamalil Kiram III to exhaust the possibility of using active non-violent approaches to settle their conflicts.

We call on both the GPH Peace Panel and the MILF Peace Panel to pursue their peace negotiations and to proceed with their scheduled meetings in Kuala Lumpur on March 25, 2013 to sign the Annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. We urge both panels not to allow the Sabah issue to be used as an excuse to derail the talks. We urge both GPH and MILF to focus on the bigger picture as we call for dialogue and diplomatic channels to address the claim of the Kiram family in Sabah.

We are crying to God to help us, Filipino Christians, to seek ways to be positive, effective and efficient contributors for peace on the ground. We pray that, rather than merely become bitter commentators from our comfortable, swivel chair, and television perspectives on this issue, we may act wisely, prudently, and responsibly in our attempt to advance justice and peace.

We pray, in the Name of the Prince of Peace, that the Church will indeed be genuine peacemakers in our words and actions.

Finally, we pray that the Body of Christ in this land would be an agent of Shalom starting from within us, blessing the people around us, and emanating God’s Shalom to the events whether they are near us or far from us.

Let us pursue peace.

The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is the way to go!

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