Controversy rages over MoA-AD


MANILA, August 21, 2008─ The debate over the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rages on with another Catholic bishop joining the fray.

Speaking at “The Forum,’ a weekly Church-organized media discussion, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez lamented the inability of the government to consult the public and the lack of transparency from the Arroyo administration.

“The people’s right to participate and the people’s right to know were violated by the government,” Gutierrez said.

United Opposition spokesperson Adel Tamano, for his part, regarded the current deal as “immoral, un-Islamic and un-Christian” adding, “We cannot tear this country apart.”

Senator Richard Gordon who sits Chairman of Philippine National Red Cross said “there’s too much categorization” of the problems in southern Philippines.

“We should always remember we are one nation,” Gordon said.

The agreement was supposed to be signed by panels of both parties in Malaysia last August 4 if not because of a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court.

The deal was aimed to bring lasting peace in the war-stricken Mindanao.

Gutierrez claimed that in his diocese, crimes against property were significantly reduced when sustainable agriculture was introduced to the community composed of Moslems, Christians and Lumads.

“The place was well-known for hold-ups but in 2001, all these crimes stopped because they were honestly earning a living,” the prelate said.

He added for farmers had little profit but “they were already free from debts.”

This means, the 69-year old prelate said, that peace and progress come into areas where “people meet their basic needs in life.” (Melo Acuña)(CBCPNews)

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