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Our children should now feel the gains of peace – Ferrer June 5, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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Our children should now feel the gains of peace – Ferrer

BUTIG, Lanao del Sur –  The calm grandeur of Mounts Makaturing and Latukan and fertile farm fields give an inspiring backdrop to the “bayanihan” spirit among Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) troopers as they conduct hand-in-hand a Brigada Eskwela operation in Sandab Elementary School in Camp Bushra Somyorang on Wednesday.

No air of animosity between former foes was evident. They helped each other like longtime neighbors as they re-painted bullet-riddled walls, climbed dilapidated ceilings and roofs, and cut lumber together.

Shamera, 55 years old and a member of the MILF’s women auxiliary troops, cannot help but feel awed and in disbelief as she served snacks to her MILF comrades as well as government troops alike.

“’Di ako makapaniwala na makikita ko ang ganito (I still can’t believe what I’m seeing),” she said. Shameera dedicated all her remaining years to serve the MILF, with neither children nor husband who she said died in an armed encounter.

“Sana tuloy-tuloy na ito. Pagod na rin kami sa giyera kahit wala akong anak gusto (ko) na maranasan ng mga bata ang kapayapaan para di nila madaanan ang karanasan ko (I hope this will continue. We are tired of war, although I don’t have children of my own, I want the kids to experience peace and not what I have gone through),” she added.

Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that the children should not wait to feel the dividends of peace.

Coronel-Ferrer emphasized the rights of children for an enabling environment for good education, good health and better lives without fear and disturbance caused by armed conflicts.

“We don’t want our schools to be used as evacuation centers but as centers where we can have quality education.”

“’Wag po tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa. Ito po ang ating inaayos sa pamamagitan ng peace process. Ito po ang ipinapakita natin ngayon dito sa lugar ninyo na binibigyan natin ng halaga ang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan. Kinabukasan na wala ng giyera; kinabukasan na masagana,” Ferrer added.

Ferrer said as part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), identified MILF camps will be turned into productive and peaceful civilian communities.

Jafar Hadji Rauf , Chief Civil Military Relations of MILF-BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces), said Butig will change its image from a major revolutionary stronghold to a key agricultural and tourism center in Mindanao as  more socio-economic  development will flow in when there is peace.

Rauf said that Butig has a lot of economic and tourism potentials.

It is host to Lake Butig National Park, a protected area of 68 hectares comprising Lake Butig and its surrounding forest. It was declared a national park in 1965 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4190.

Mountaineers from the nearby Mindanao State University also boasted of having climbed the peak of Mount Makaturing, describing its flora and fauna like the scenes from the Hollywood movie Avatar.

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