Pimentel opens Inkblots with peace process lecture. Photo by Jaime T. Campos

22 October 2012, 9:26 p.m. – FORMER senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. opened Inkblots, the UST national campus journalism fellowship, earlier today with a call for “inclusiveness” in the recent peace agreement between the government and Muslim rebels.

“The administration must always be aware that there are things that need refinement,” the three-term senator said in his keynote address for the three-day fellowship sponsored by the Varsitarian.

The framework agreement, brokered by Malaysia and signed in Malacañang last Oct. 15, expands the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao into a new entity to be called “Bangsamoro.”

There are three main Muslim groups in Mindanao – the Maranaws or natives of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; the Maguindanaos or natives of Maguindanao province; and the Tausugs.

Mr. Pimentel pointed out that the Aquino administration had negotiated only with people from Maguindanao, particularly members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – a separatist group that originally wanted an Islamic state covering Mindanao and neighboring islands like Sulu and Palawan.

An older rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front, is opposed to the deal.

“What needs fleshing out or refinement is the inclusiveness of peace negotiations,” Pimentel told the more than 250 Inkblots fellows at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.

He also said Christians should be sensitive to Muslim culture because its destruction would lead to loss of identity.

“We should be careful on imposing our own culture on the Muslim people. There are parts of Mindanao that are troublesome but not the entire Mindanao,” Mr. Pimentel said.

Inkblots, now on its 14th year, is the annual three-day national fellowship for campus writers and advisers nationwide, with seminars on news writing, literary writing, feature writing, opinion writing, broadcast journalism, photojournalism and campus paper management.

Speakers in the event, which will run until Wednesday, include Inquirer senior reporter and former Varsitarian editor in chief Christian Esguerra; Filipino fictionist Eros Atalia; GMA News reporter Mariz Umali; Philippine Star sports columnist Quinito Henson; cartoonist Jess Abrera; Radyo Veritas commentator Fr. Nick Lalog; UMPIL secretary general Michael Coroza; and ABS-CBN news reporter Niko Baua. Catalina Ricci S. Madarang and Juan Carlos D. Moreno


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