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They say that war and violence are born in the heart... therefore it is also in the hearts of men that the quest for Peace must be fought.....

I had mixed feelings when I witnessed the ceremonial signing of the Peace Accord between the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) last September 2, 1996 in Jolo, Sulu.

The gymnasium of the Mindanao State University (MSU), Jolo Campus was filled to the bleachers and still thousands others contend themselves to just sit on the ground as they listened to loudspeakers connected from the inside, blasting blow-by-blow announcement of the historic moment.

President Fidel Ramos was there to sign the Peace Accord in behalf of the GRP and Ma’as (The Elder) Nur Misuari for the MNLF. Several field commanders and pioneers of the MNLF were there also to witness this big event.

Personally, I was very happy that very moment because Peace has finally come after decades of bloodshed in my village and in Mindanao in general. And this day would be written in the pages of the country’s history as a wonderful day of Peace.

But I was mistaken; twelve (12) years after, Peace has not descended in Mindanao just as it was ought to be during that big day in September 1996. Pockets of war and conflict still remains and was made more intense when Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was born.

Today, the GRP is struggling again to write and sign another Peace Accord with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). But it seems this agreement has been in limbo for the last several years.

Many really wants PEACE, no question about that. But are we willing and sincere enough to work for it? We have been scarred by several years of conflicts. Many loved ones have perished and properties destroyed.

We long for PEACE like a mother who yearns for her newborn child. Oh Peace, Why are you so elusive? Are we not worthy to have You?


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