PRESIDENT RODRIGO Duterte told the press on Sunday, May 7, that he was losing hope in the outcome of the Bangsamoro peace talks, citing infighting between armed groups of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). His statements were quickly picked up by the media, but most reporting was limited to the president’s statements and carried little background.
CMFR cheers the exception found in the online news website MindaNews (“Duterte’s “pessimistic” remark on the Bangsamoro peace process worries, confuses stakeholders”). It provided the much-needed background on the matter. While many news reports quoted the president, MindaNews’ piece added value by including updates on the previous agreements government had signed with both the MNLF and the MILF, pointing out that that the implementation of these agreements have been ongoing.
The piece also went beyond the president’s claim about the lack of unity between the two groups (“…nag-aagawan sila ng kampo ngayon”), citing a source who said that the feud was personal in nature. MindaNews also gave additional information, such as the changes made in the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Council (BTC) under the Duterte administration.
Because the peace process has been going on for quite some time, reports cannot simply record statements made by the president or any other official without the necessary context. It is necessary to remind the public, and sometimes, even public officials, about what has happened in the past.