A federation of the sultanates in Maguindanao has recently inked a peace and development covenant with the Office of the Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines during a forum held at Al-Masher Hotel and Restaurant in Maguindanao, Cotabato City on June 22, 2019.
Present, during the royal forum, were 70 leaders and members of the World Federation of Traditional Kings Sultanate of Mandanaue Darus-salam; Major General Bienvenido R. Datuin, Jr. AFP, commander of Civil Relations Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP); Mrs. Marissa G. Datuin, president of the AFP Officers’ Ladies Club, and Colonel Jose Victor L. Vargas, Jr., group commander of 4th Civil Relations Group based in Zamboanga City.
As the highlight of the day-long forum, entitled “Sultanate Advocacy Forum on Federalism, Anti-Drugs and on Preventing Violent Extremism”, leaders of the federation of the sultanate, together with MGen Datuin, Mrs. Datuin, and Col Vargas, symbolically signed the so-called “peace and development” covenant.
The peace and development covenant read: “We hereby declare our commitment for peace and development to our Mindanaoans. We commit to treat all lives with the loving-kindness and compassion. We respect the diversity of ways people pursue their individual ideals. We reject the distortions of religious, nationals and radical prejudices, which are used to violate golden rule to treat others as we wish to be treated.”
“We challenge the misuse of beliefs, rights, rituals, practices, philosophies, and traditions used to degrade anyone or which lead to violence. We affirm the necessity of bringing loving-kindness and compassion into action. We call upon all people of goodwill to join this pledge. We pledge that in all we intend, think, and do, we shall strive to bring loving-kindness and compassion into action and into the lives of all we meet,” the covenant read.
MGen Datuin underscored that the presence of the military in the forum and the signing of the covenant being organized by the Sultanate of Maguindanao is their way of showing that the government forces is supporting such move to advance the peace and development in the region.
“The AFP supports the advocacy of the sultanate in their efforts to scrap the illegal drugs and violent extremism,” he said.
He also said that they are glad to see that the Sultanate, as a traditional leader “being involved in the peace process, is involved in “Rido” (clans feud) settlement in the area. Aside from that, they have actively displayed their support in the efforts of the government in countering violent extremism in the island province of Mindanao. For many years now, the hinterland of Maguindanao has become a lair of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The former is known for their terroristic acts, such as attacking military installations, staging ambushes, planting explosives in public places, and conducting extortions.
Press release from 4th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines