MANILA — A leading Scottish reformist who was a leading member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention that created the Scottish Parliament for the first time on Tuesday advised stakeholders to “pursue the path of peace” even more so with the outrage following the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Tuesday met Right Honourable Lord Jack McConnell of Glenscorrodale, Scotland, a campaigner on peace building including the creation of Scottish Parliament, to get his insights in pursuit of attaining peace following the Mamasapano anti-terrorist operation that resulted in the death of 44 policemen, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and several civilians.
Despite the incident, McConnell stressed the importance of not derailing the peace process during a briefing at the El Pueblo Building in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
“The solution to violence is not stop on the path of peace, the solution to violence and death is surely to pursue the path of peace, even more enthusiastically and more energetically and have to be strong in the midst of these challenges,” he said.
McConnell, who is Scotland’s youngest First Minister from 2001-2007, is a key figure in the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the development of devolved government in Scotland, securing peaceful constitutional change in the UK, and using those powers to change Scotland for the best.
McConnell particularly called on political leaders to pursue the peace agreement or Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would formalize the creation of the new political entity that will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao(ARMM). It was a product of the comprehensive peace pact signed by the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.
Accordingly, the agreement calls deactivation of MILF forces by turning over their firearms to a third party to be selected by the MILF and the Philippine government. A regional police force would be established and the Philippine military would reduce the presence of troops and help disband private armies in the area.
For her part, Deles said they would not give up on the peace process and counting on Congress to push the BBL the deliberations of which was temporarily suspended following the Mamasapano incident.
“We continue to hope that our people and our political leaders listening to our people will see that the promise that you want, the future, the promise you want to bring to our people is still with a peace plan rather than to take it back to the past where nobody was winning and was leading only to a spiral of violence, and non-development in those areas,” said Deles.