Peace Efforts in Mindanao Should Be Everyone's Concern

Bohol Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera says the efforts to attain peace in Mindanao should involve all sectors.

            Herrera said the involvement of all affected sectors is crucial for the peace initiative to be successful.

            The vice-governor made the comment after local government officials in North Cotabato , Zamboanga and Iligan protested the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

            The MOA signing between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was stalled after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the petition filed by North Cotabato officials led by Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol.

            Herrera said the gripes of the local government officials including those in Muslim areas is the lack of transparency in the negotiations.

            "The people in the areas affected by the BJE have a right to know what is going on," the vice governor said.

            Herrera, who is also president of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines , is familiar with the dynamics in the area. He once served as city administrator of Gen. Santos City.

            The vice-governor said he is following the developments in Mindanao closely not only because of his familiarity with the affected areas but also because of the big Boholano populations.

            "There are many Boholanos in the areas included in the BJE who will be affected by this development," he added.

            Herrera said many Boholanos who migrated to the South have become successful in their adopted lands due to hard work and persistence.

            Many of them fear that the BJE will adversely affect their lives and take away their hard-earned livelihood in the area.

            The vice-governor said those opposing the BJE are not exactly opposed to the peace initiatives.

            However, they want to know what is going to happen because they will be affected once the BJE becomes operational.

            "The bottom line is transparency," he added.