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Peace Caravan Takes Trip To Manila To Witness Pact Signing
Source: http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationsubcategoryid=200&articleid=858748
Source Date: Friday, October 12, 2012
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Philippines
Created: Oct 12, 2012

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Representatives of Muslim, Christian and highland communities converged Friday at the 32-hectare compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and launched a “peace caravan” to Malacañang to witness the signing of the framework deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Omar Akbar, a 27-year-old ethnic Maguindanaon, told reporters he arrived at the ARMM compound at 4 a.m. to participate in the event.

“I’m excited. This is the dawning of lasting peace in the Moro homeland,” Akbar said.

More than a dozen representatives of the non-Muslim indigenous people (IP), led by Assemblyman Deonato Mokudef of the ARMM’s 27-member Regional Assembly, will also join the “Lakbayan para sa Kapayapaan.”

The group isset to travel overland to Manila, via the Maharlika route, which straddles through provinces in Northern Mindanao, on to Visayas and Luzon, via ferry linkages.

Mokudef said the ARMM’s indigenous communities, including his own tribe, the Teduray, are looking forward to the signing of the GPH-MILF framework agreement.

The representative of the women sector to the ARMM Assembly, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, said the peace convoy of 10 vehicles will travel in a symbolic journey of solidarity with Mindanao’s culturally-diverse folks.

Tomawis said there is increasing consciousness among Mindanao residents on the need to cooperate, regardless of tribal identities and religions, to attain peace and sustainable development in the area.

Assembly Speaker Rasul Mitmug Jr, who is the autonomous region’s third highest official, said regional legislators acknowledge that the frmework agreement as a “guidepost” to Bangsamoro destiny.

Bangsamoro refers to all of Mindanao’s Muslim groups, whose populations dominate the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

"The ARMM supports people's participation in the peace process and must provide avenues for awareness to be raised", said ARMM’s regional executive secretary, lawyer Anwar Malang, who also joined in the caravan.

The 10 vehicles comprising the “peace convoy” have left Cotabato City to join Maranaw civil society leaders and pray with them the Islamic Jamaah rites noontime Friday at the King Faisal Center for Islam, Arabic and Asian Studies inside the campus of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City.

From Marawi City, the convoy will proceed to Surigao, on to Liloan in Cebu via a barge, then off to Samar and then to Sorsogon.

The Mindanao peace group, along with peace activists from Metro Manila, Luzon and Visayas, will hold a vigil Sunday evening at Mendiola, until the awaited signing in Malacañang of the framework pact by the MILF’s chairman, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and President Aquino Monday morning.
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