“VIGILANT optimism” was the catchphrase used by some Mindanao bishops in their statement on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro entitled “Towards Building a Just and Lasting Peace in Mindanao.” This is a very prudent coinage that immediately purports support for the initiative but, at the same time, warns of volatility if not carefully handled.
Together with Konsult Mindanaw, the bishops unilaterally outlined six values that constitute a “people’s platform for Peace in Mindanao,” namely: sincerity, security, sensitivity, solidarity, spirituality and sustainability. Of course, this is a very tall order that may not be operationally perfected until thy-kingdom-come. But for sure this perspective is the best there is in the long-term pursuit of building a culture of peace in Mindanao.
A perspective that gives prominence to the subjects and beneficiaries of peace, such as that of the bishops is most noble and relatively viable. But not so with those, for instance, whose point of view is tainted with political agenda that hope to make the final peace agreement as the crowning glory of PNoy’s administration as it bows out in 2016. What was signed last October 15 in Malacañang was only an agreement to a framework or, simply, points of discussion for future negotiations until a final peace accord is bilaterally reached by the Bangsamoro stakeholders and the Philippine government. To cramp up this aspiration that has already tolled about four decades of war into just three years into Aquino’s political endgame is perilous. But kudos to this administration for bringing this country to a level that is closest, so far, to the peace accord.