Quevedo appeals: Clarify US role, GMA intention in the MOA

DAVAO CITY, August 14, 2008 – Admitting that many things cannot be negotiated in public, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, however made a personal appeal to clarify the role of the United States of America (USA), the intention of President Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo and other issues hounding the controversial memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MoA-AD).

Quevedo said the public should know what really is the genuine intention of Arroyo in pursuing the MoA-AD, to reflect whether there is participation by the US government in the drafting of the agreement, and the questionable gross inadequacy in the consensus.

“The need for consensus is as important as for the GRP. It is wisdom to consult, ask questions, and secure assistance regarding directions and goals from stakeholders. For the government, consult with the different branches of government and with the people directly affected by conflict,” said Quevedo.

“We have to clear first many things. It seems that the MoA- AD has many complexities. It fails to reach proper consultations, the language used in the agreement is vague and it was done in haste,” added Quevedo.

He also said that there is certainly a need to educate all the various constituencies and stakeholders as to the contents of the MoA-AD, their bases in history and in law, the steps to be taken, the recognition of mutual rights as well as the mutual sacrifices needed by both Bangsamoro and non-Bangsamoro people.

“The key to acceptability of the MoA–AD is consultation and dialogue, information and education, and building a constituency supportive of the general goals and specific objectives as well as the processes and contents of the peace negotiations,” said Quevedo.

Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hermogenes Esperon Jr., said that the US government has no participation in the drafting of the MoA-AD.

Esperon added that the US government only extends help in the rehabilitation programs especially in the war-torn areas of Mindanao.

But, he said that in terms of fighting against terrorism it cannot be denied that the US government is helping the country.

“There is a global fight against terrorism and for that the US government is helping us in our thrust to end terroristic activities,” said Esperon.

Like Esperon, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza also said that the MoA-AD is intended by Mrs. Arroyo in order to solve the decades old problem in Mindanao.

“The president wants that rebellion in Mindanao should come to an end for after all we have already sacrificed a lot and many lives and properties have been wasted,” said Dureza. (Mark S. Ventura)(CBCPNews)

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