IT is true that the absence of war does not equate peace in itself. However, peace happens and will always happen even with or without war just like the sun being there in spite of the day and night.

What has become of Marawi City after five months of being under the cloak of war between the Philippine Military forces and the forces of Maute is not war per se. True enough, it is peace on process.

Peace. A myriad thing that people fail to find especially those people who blinded themselves with the possibility of attaining peace amidst diversity. And what is at stake in this? The people. Those people who lived embracing peace in coexistence with other people of different culture and belief but were ripped off when other people got into the picture brandishing another stance on peace.

Everybody wants peace, that is for certain. But the many different ways to achieve it must not be the reason to entice its irony, conflict, among diverse people. To make different ways work requires the people to stand in one ground. In this case, everybody wanting peace must stand altogether. That is the rendezvous point where everybody from different cultures or religions should start with their journey towards authentic peace.

As peace loving people, we have been into many struggles and experiences at the course of peace making, peace keeping, and peace building. We have been into many peace processes that forged the Philippines to be more resilient in every trying time and to be more audacious in every attempt towards it.

Let us not forget the “Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro” which was signed in 2014 that marked a significant improvement being an inevitable reference for other contemporary peace process. Notably, it was the fruit of 17 years of negotiations within the four decades of armed conflicts between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. No matter how troubled it has gone before “Bangsamoro Basic Law: (BBL), the process is still a top priority, or at least according to reports.

The talks between the Philippine government and the communist party shall never be in vain, too. Despite the growing animosity between the concerned parties, peace talks are still given room in the negotiating table. Such consideration is a manifestation of peace being the first and foremost objective. In fact, a senator once stated that resumption of peace negotiations will be hopefully forged between the two forces. This senator said, “achieving agreements, based also on past agreements, toward a just and lasting peace through genuine social, economic and political reforms, is still a possibility.”

The coming together of different people with different beliefs but with only one cause is proof to the undying search for peace. The likes of interfaith prayers, solidarity initiatives, ‘bayanihan’ activities, that involve multi-diverse people strengthen the feasibility of peace.
Again, the absence of war does not guarantee peace. What makes it alive is hope. Who makes it live is its dreamer – people. A dreamer does not glorify neither force nor violence to realize its dream. He is willing to dialogue. No matter how long the process we just have to keep it burning because it is always there. Peace is here with us.