The peace agreement in Mindanao, which puts an end to decades of guerrilla war that has bloodied this island of the Philippine archipelago (150 000 deaths from the 70s) is "the proof of how decisive the religious factor can be in resolving conflicts; it is another victory of the 'spirit of Assisi ' that has dissociated religions from violence". Thus president of the Community of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo commented on the signing of the agreement between the Manila government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF ), which took place yesterday after a long negotiation that has been developed with ups and downs since 1996.
"The agreement concerns us - said Impagliazzo - because the Filipino community in Italy is an example of integration, becoming part of many Italian families".
Decisive impetus to the conclusion of the Agreement has been given by the activity of an International Contact Group made up of four major international organizations including "Muhammaddiyah", a moderate Indonesian Islamic movement very active in the field of education and social welfare and, in fact, Sant'Egidio that, for some time now, has been present in the Philippines, an overwhelmingly Catholic country.
The last stages of the negotiations were followed directly on the spot by Alberto Quattrucci, delegate of the Community.
Now, Impagliazzo said in a press conference held at the Rome headquarters of Trastevere attended among others by former Italian ambassador in Manila Luca Fornari, "the agreement must be implemented not only at the level of relations between the signatory bodies but also with the full involvement of the local population and ethnic groups; and dialogue and cooperation between Muslims and Christians will once again be decisive".
The next developments were illustrated by Valeria Martano: early in June at Cotabato, the capital of the new autonomous entity created by the agreement, which takes the name of Bangsamoro, a conference will be organised that will see the participation of new cardinal Orlando Quevedo along with members in charge of Sant'Egidio, of the Muhammaddiyah and of the heads of the local religious and lay communities.