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‘Hijab troopers’ go nationwide

TAGUIG CITY, December 12, 2018 — The “Hijab Troopers” program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be implemented nationwide after the successful deployment during the Marawi siege last year.

Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., Head of the Civil Military Operations (CMO) Regiment, said the women in uniform will be deployed in core areas in the National Capital Region, namely CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela City) and Maharlika Village, to provide cultural and psychosocial services in urban communities.

Kung gusto niyong ipagpatuloy ang trabaho ninyo as Hijab Troopers, mayroon tayong isang kumpanya na organic sa CMO Regiment and we are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City,” Brawner told around 50 Hijab Troopers during the recognition program held for them on Monday.

(If you want to continue your tasks as Hijab Troopers, we have an organic company in the CMO Regiment available for you. We are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City.)

The Hijab Troopers were each given a Military Merit Medal by Philippine Army Commanding General Macairog Alberto.

In her keynote message, Undersecretary Diosita Andot from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process seconded Brawner’s encouragement.

“My bias ako towards women empowerment, so I encourage you to accept Colonel Brawner’s challenge,” she said.

“As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. At alam ko na with the job that you are doing within the internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps nagagawa niyo na rin ‘yong peacemaking and peacebuilding,” Andot added.

(As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. But I know that with the job you are doing in the IDP camps, you can also do peacemaking and peacebuilding as well.)

By | December 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|1 Comment

Thousands bat for “Yes” victory in Bangsamoro plebiscite

COTABATO CITY, December 10, 2018 — Tens of thousands of supporters all over Mindanao rallied behind the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) today during the kick-off assembly for the plebiscite campaign held at the Office of the Regional Governor Compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in this city.

Clad in shirts printed with “Yes to BOL,” supporters from eight different provinces flooded the streets of Cotabato City to call for a resounding victory in the upcoming plebiscite scheduled on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

In his message, Government Peace Implementing Panel Chair Undersecretary Nabil A. Tan emphasized the dividends of peace the law will bring to the region, which had been beset by decades of conflict.

Ito ay para sa kapayapaan, permanent peace na matagal na natin minimithi para sa Mindanao,” he said.

(This is for peace, permanent peace that we have been dreaming of for Mindanao).

His counterpart from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Chair Mohagher Iqbal, said the law’s inclusive provisions ensure that every sector will benefit in the Bangsamoro region.

Para ito sa lahat. Walang maiiwan, ito ay para sa ating lahat,” he said.

(This is for all. No one will be left behind. This is for all of us.)

The campaign period for the plebiscite started on December 7 with peace rallies from all over the country including here in Cotabato City and Manila. The campaign period will end on January 19, 2019.


MILF, MNLF unite for BOL

The leadership of both the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) vowed to campaign aggressively for the law in their respective communities.

In a message read by Bangsamoro National People’s Congress Chair Muslimin Sema, current MNLF Central Committee Chair Yusop Jikiri urged the Bangsamoro to continue their peaceful efforts towards realization of Bangsamoro aspirations.

“We rewrite the history books to instill in the minds of those that will come after us that the demand for a just, dignified, and lasting peace requires revisiting the past before facing the future,” he said. “We rewrite the history books to end centuries of hatred, mistrust, and injustice that caused and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos.”

MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, meanwhile, narrated the Bangsamoro’s struggle for peace and recognition of their identity as he urged everyone to give BOL a chance to succeed.

“I don’t think that there will be another law if BOL fails. (So) I appeal to everyone to be objective in evaluating BOL,” he said.


Overwhelming sectoral support seen for the plebiscite campaign

Various sectoral leaders pledged to support and campaign for the BOL to advance peace and development in the region

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman threw his full support for the campaign as he urged the Bangsamoro to participate in the campaign and the plebiscite.

Tandaan po natin, kayo ang makapangyarihan sa January 21. Hindi mabubuo ang BOL kung wala kayo,” he said.

(Let us remember that on January 21, the power is in your hands. The creation of BOL will not be possible without you).

Fr. Clifford Baira said Christian communities will support the new Bangsamoro region.

“Our simple formula is to engage the people of the Bangsamoro. Let them be part of the governance in the inclusive quest for peace in Mindanao,” he said.

Upi, Maguindanao Mayor and representative from the indigenous people Ramon Piang Sr. gave assurance that the Lumad will step up their campaign for the plebiscite.

Representatives from the youth, traditional leaders, women, and the business community also committed to campaign for the law in their respective communities.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019. ###

 

By | December 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Cordi legislator commits to make HB 5343 more inclusive; welcomes enhancements to the law

BAGUIO CITY (December 7, 2018) — One of the leading proponents of HB 5343,“An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC),” has committed to incorporating recommendations coming from the area’s indigenous peoples into the proposed bill in order to truly reflect their hopes and aspirations.

“I would like to assure you that there is enough time for us to consider whatever (proposals) you will present to us,” Baguio City Representative Mark Go said in his remarks during the opening of the Indigenous People’s Legislative Assembly in the Cordillera Administrative Region (IPLA-CAR) for Regional Autonomy.

“I am committed to wait for your inputs prior to the approval in the Technical Working Group (TWG) of this proposed bill,” Go added.

Go was among the seven Cordilleran members of Congress who co-authored HB 5343, which was filed in Congress in March last year.

The legislator’s statement was met with applause by the more than 100 IP delegates coming from the region’s six provinces who are attending the three-day event.

Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)-IP Peace Panel and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) with support from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the assembly aims to obtain proposals from the region’s IPs on how the pending bill can be further enhanced, specifically provisions that impact on the rights and welfare of the IPs.

According to Go, who is the chair of the TWG that was constituted in the Lower House for the purpose of introducing improvements to HB 5343, the conduct of the IPLA-CAR is both relevant and timely in light of recent developments.

“Today’s activity is important and an opportunity because this is a complete effort from you, [specially for] members of indigenous communities to participate in the crafting of the proposed measure,” he said.

“This indeed is an opportune time to [make] amendments to the proposed bill,” he added.

Go said the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution had a compelling reason for identifying Cordillera as among the two regions in the country that should be granted autonomy.

“Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution was created because of common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic resource structures and other relevant characteristics of the geographic area and its people,” he said.

Go mentioned that the consultations previously conducted by his office on the proposed law were mostly participated in by local government officials.

“It’s time that we hear from you (IPs). This time, we will be hearing directly from the grassroots. We want to be sure that when we bring this (HB 5343) back to you for approval, it will be approved,” he said.

“I believe that this (law) is a means to secure sustainable development for the region which has been put on hold for too long now,” he added.

HB 5343 should, first and foremost, protect the ancestral domain rights of the IPs, he said.  

Prior to the legislative assembly, the OPAPP-IP Peace Panel and NCIP spearheaded a series of provincial consultations in Ifugao, Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, and Mountain Province as well as in Baguio City.

Each of the legislative consultations was attended by more than a hundred IP delegates.

The consultations were thematic and focused on key provisions in the autonomy bill that pertained to land and natural resources, governance and representation, and cultural rights.

“I was told that the delegates who are here today represent the different ethnolinguistic groups in the entire region,” Go said.

“Cordillera definitely deserves to be given autonomy because [although] we have varied cultures, this (assembly) is proof that we can attain unity [despite our] diversity,” he added. ###

 

By | December 7th, 2018|News|0 Comments

BOL campaign starts Dec 7

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — Officials of the government and the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) urged residents of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to take part in the plebiscites early next year as the official campaign period for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) starts on Friday, December 7.

This as Atty. Rey Sumalipao, Regional Director of the Commission on Elections, announced that the  COMELEC is now ready to “have honest and orderly” plebiscites on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

“We will work to have clean elections,” Sumalipao said during a media forum here organized by the Joint Communications Committee of the government and the MILF.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the towns and barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019.

If the BOL is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by the BARMM, giving more political power to the Bangsamoro people to govern their ancestral lands.

The BOL is a product of a series of peace agreements between the Philippine Government and various Moro fronts. While it is largely anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – a peace deal between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – the new law for the Bangsamoro reflects and builds upon the gains of previous Moro peace agreements since the 1970s.

A major campaign rally will be launched in this city on Monday, with thousands expected to attend the first salvo of the campaign for the ratification of the BOL.

At the media forum, former Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza allayed the concerns of the people over the establishment of the new BARMM.

“The BOL is not only for the Moro fronts, it is for all and it is inclusive,” he said.

Dureza said he will actively campaign for the BOL and the peace processes in the country in his private capacity.

“We should continue to support this effort and if we don’t get this last chance with President (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) we may never have it again in the future,” he said.

He encouraged the supporters to “go to areas where we need strong voices.”

“I’ll be supporting my peace partners and the advocacy even in my personal capacity,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and member of BTC, called on the people to ratify the law, saying this will address the clamor of the Bangsamoro people for self-governance.

“The BOL is for the welfare not only of the Bangsamoro people but (also of) non-Muslims residing in the Bangsamoro areas,” he said. “The BOL is a formula for peace, development, and progress.”

The BTC commissioners were one in saying the people should give the BOL a chance.

Commissioner Jose Lorena said the people in the Bangsamoro area stand to benefit from security and economic development that will be fostered by the BOL.

“The BOL will put an end to the conflict dahil nagkasundo ang mga revolutionary movements. It will put an end to the marginalization that we have and it will provide an effective governance for the region,” he said.

Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said the BOL is not an ordinary legislation but “ a peace document.”

Commissioner Susana Anayatin said the BOL recognizes the aspirations and articulations of the Moros in the past peace agreements as well as those expressed during the series of public consultations.

“The idea is that the BOL embraces everyone and is inclusive to all,” she said.

The law provides exercise of meaningful autonomy for the Moro people by charting their own political future through a democratic process. It also guarantees fiscal autonomy to the Bangsamoro Government by the provision of a block grant, greater share in local taxes and revenues obtained from natural resources, and a special development fund to enable the region to catch up with neighboring regions in Mindanao.  ###

 

By | December 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Peace Education among top priorities in the new Bangsamoro Government

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — “Kung gusto natin ng kapayapaan, simulan natin sa silid-aralan (If we want peace, let’s start in the classroom).”

This was emphasized by Commissioner Susana Anayatin of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) during the sectoral forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Wednesday here in this city.

Saying the education sector holds a vital role in shaping the minds of the youth, Anayatin urged school officials to support the advocacy for peace provided in the BOL.

“The Bangsamoro Government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels. Sa magiging curriculum natin, i-mainstream na iyong framework of peace such as respect for human rights, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental care,” Anayatin said.

In September 2006, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order 570 which requires elementary and secondary schools all over the country to include peace education in their curriculum.

Anayatin, however, said past administrations failed to fully implement the order especially in public schools.

Ang karamihan po sa sumunod doon ay private schools. Sa Bangsamoro, susundin po natin ang kautusan na iyon. Di po iyan bagong kautusan pero inilagay natin sa batas (It was mostly implemented by private schools. In the Bangsamoro, we will follow this order. It’s not a new order but it’s something we placed in the law),” she added.

Anayatin said this measure will prevent the recruitment of the youth to violent extremist groups.

Maraming kabataan ang di nakakapag-aral. Iyong iba naging rebelde, iyong iba naging terorista na ngayon. Iyong nangyari sa Marawi, mga professionals ang ibang nandoon. Bakit? Sapagkat nawawalan na sila ng tiwala sa gobyerno,” Anayatin said.

(A lot of young people are not able to go to school anymore. Some become rebels, others terrorists. Those who laid siege to Marawi included professionals. Why? Because they lost trust in government.)

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Nabil Tan urged the participants through a video message to maximize the opportunity as they play a vital role in passing on information about the landmark measure.

The same sentiment was shared by Edgar Sumapal, OIC Assistant of Cotabato City Schools Division.

“As an educator and school leader, it is incumbent upon us to provide accurate information about the BOL,” Sumapal said.

The forum, which was attended by around 100 officials and administrators from Cotabato City Schools Division, was held to provide updates on the conduct of the plebiscite and shed light on the pressing issues surrounding the BOL.

Among the resource speakers present during the forum were BTC Commissioners Mohagher Iqbal, Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph, Ibrahim Ali, and Atty. Lanang Ali.

 

By | December 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Student grantees call for peace promotion through education

KORONADAL CITY, December 04, 2018 — Pinanganak ako sa giyera. Hindi nakakatulong ang conflict kasi maraming bata ang hindi nakakapag-aral dahil natatakot sila sa mga terorista.”

(I was born in war. Conflict does not help promote education because children are scared of the terrorists.)

This was the sentiment of 19-year-old Bailyn Nasa, a first-year college student residing in Barangay Tee in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

Nasa is one of the 100 student grantees of the College Education Assistance Project (CEAP) who underwent a training on peace formation in this city on December 1, 2018.

The training was meant to equip young peacebuilders with knowledge, skills, and tools that they can share in building a culture of peace and nonviolence. It also serves as an opportunity for the youth to become peace champions in their respective communities and universities.

Sabi ko mag-aaral ako nang mabuti para kahit papaano may maitulong ako sa lugar namin,” Nasa said.

(I told myself that I will study well in order to contribute something to my community.)

Education was also the same means that 24-year-old Abbie Usman, also a first year college student and a resident of Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, thought of when asked how he can contribute to peace promotion.

Gagawa ako ng paraan para makapag-hikayat ng mga katulad ko na makapag-aral. Pero hindi ko kaya mag-isa — kailangan ko ng makakasama,” Usman said.

(I will make a way to encourage youth like me to pursue their education. But I cannot do this alone — I need help.)

Through this peace formation, students were assisted in mitigating the increase in their vulnerabilities to violent extremism and averting their exposure to criminal activities.

Simula pagkabata ko, wala na akong naranasang peace sa amin. Matagal na ang isang linggo na walang putukan,” Usman said as he highlighted the violence that occurs in his community.

(I never experienced peace in our community since I was young. The longest period with no gunfire was one week.)

In addition to CEAP’s peace promotion sessions, the students were also provided with transitional cash assistance to support their education.

In his opening remarks, Area Management Team Head Jake Misuari encouraged the students not just to listen during the training but also to actively participate and share their learnings to their peers afterward.

Sikapin niyong isagawa ang lahat ng natutunan ninyo dito sa CEAP. Kahit isa lang na makakapag-bigay ng positive impact sa inyong buhay. At sana, makatulong ito para kayo ay maging youth peace champions,” he said.

(Do your best to apply what you learn here in CEAP. Even just one lesson that will have a positive impact on your lives. And I hope this can help you become youth peace champions.)

Nasa and Usman were just two of the 1,200 college students CEAP has assisted. They are also among the hundreds of thousand affected by armed conflict.

Parang immune na kami sa giyera. Pero nangangarap pa rin ako na sana ‘yong lugar namin ay maging peaceful na. Kahit panandalian lang. O kahit pang-habang buhay na sana,” Nasa said.

(I feel like we’re already immune to conflict. But I still hope that our community can be peaceful even just for a short time. Or hopefully for a lifetime.)

CEAP is an assistance project for underprivileged college students in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), with special consideration for those directly affected by the Marawi siege. ###

By | December 4th, 2018|NAPWPS, News|0 Comments

Preparations underway for transition from ARMM to BARMM

SAN MATEO, RIZAL (November 9, 2018) – The core team for the transition of the Bangsamoro began formulating the proposed organizational structure of the Bangsamoro  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that will be part of the Transition Plan to be submitted to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The workshop, dubbed “Transitioning from ARMM to BARMM,” is the first of a three-part workshop designed to come up with the Transition Plan.

The three-day workshop aims to provide participants an overview of the organizational and administrative requirements of setting up the BTA and the transitional bureaucracy enshrined in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“Let us not allow challenges to dampen our spirits as we continue to work for peace and development for the Bangsamoro and the country,” Deputy Peace Adviser Undersecretary Nabil Tan told the members of the Coordination Team for the Transition (CT4T) for the Bangsamoro at the start of the workshop.

The CT4T is the body tasked to ensure the smooth transition from ARMM to BARMM once the BOL is ratified.

According to the terms of reference (TOR) signed by then GPH-MILF Peace Negotiating Panels on 23 November 2014, the CT4T serves as the “primary mechanism for coordination between Parties and concerned agencies to ensure that the necessary steps are undertaken in preparation for the transition leading to the installation of the BTA.”

The CT4T has five members each from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“With the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law fast approaching, extensive preparations are under way to facilitate smooth and efficient transition from the current ARMM until the installation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” Tan said.

Also present in the workshop to provide important inputs were representatives from the MILF, ARMM, Department of Budget and Management, and Civil Service Commission.

Bangsamoro Transition Commissioners Jose I. Lorena and Maisara Dandamun-Lapith were also provided inputs during the workshop.

Engr. Baintan Ampatuan of the ARMM-Regional Planning and Development Office gave updates on the current government structure of the ARMM.

Dr. Miyoko Tanaguchi, Senior Adviser on Peacebuilding of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), discussed the comparison between the existing ARMM structure and the BOL provisions on organizational structure.

Dr. Tanaguchi has been working with the MILF in the review of the organizational structure of the ARMM and the possible structure to be placed in the Bangsamoro.

JICA Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa expressed confidence the workshop will address the challenge faced by the MILF in transitioning from a revolutionary group to a government body as well as in the transition from ARMM to BARMM.

For his part, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan Jr. challenged the participants to fully engage in the discussion and contribute their ideas for the improvement of BARMM.

“We hope that you take full advantage of this opportunity by engaging each and every one in a constructive dialogue, and to always be patient and open to ideas with others, knowing fully well that we do this in the name of peace,” he said.

The workshop was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with the CT4T through the support of JICA and DAP. ###

 

By | November 9th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

MNLF pledges to carry out aggressive info campaign in support of BOL

DAVAO CITY (October 30, 2018) — Top officials of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) met with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza here to pledge their full support for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) through the implementation of a strategic information, education and communications (IEC) campaign in their communities.

“The MNLF is committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning for (its ratification in) the plebiscite,” MNLF Central Committee Chair Yusoph Jikiri told Dureza during the meeting yesterday.

In response, Dureza acknowledged the MNLF’s strong commitment to help the national government in creating a greater level of public awareness on the landmark measure.

“I am very pleased with the MNLF’s determined efforts to help the Duterte administration in generating a groundswell of support for BBL and ensure its ratification,” he said.

In particular, Dureza lauded the MNLF Central Committee for issuing a resolution declaring the organization’s unequivocal support for the BOL’s ratification and eventual implementation.

The resolution was issued during the MNLF’s General Assembly held last October 7 in Indanan, Sulu.

Monday’s dialogue was a follow up to a conversation between Dureza and members of the MNLF Central Committee held earlier this month in Davao City.

During that meeting, it was agreed that the MNLF, in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), will develop and implement a multi-stakeholder IEC campaign within the organization’s areas of coverage.   

“The MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Jikiri, has over the years been a reliable partner of the national government in sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao,” Dureza said.

“We hope to continue strengthening this partnership in the coming years,” he added.

Dureza said the BOL will not favor any particular group or organization, emphasizing that it is the embodiment of all signed agreements between the Philippine Government and the various Moro fronts in Mindanao.

“The BOL’s main feature is its inclusiveness in which everyone is part of the peace and development process,” he said.

“No one should be left behind,” he added.

Dureza said the BOL is envisioned to be “a platform for convergence” in which all stakeholders – regardless of tribe, ideology, or religion – will partake of the benefits of economic development.

The Government of the Philippines and the MNLF signed a final peace agreement on September 2, 1996 putting an end to the 24-year armed struggle of the rebel organization.

On March 27, 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was forged between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), bringing closure to decades of armed hostilities in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the BOL into law on July 27, 2018, a realization of his commitment to finally address the historical injustices against the Bangsamoro people.

Meanwhile, in Zamboanga City, representatives of the MNLF and OPAPP sat side by side as they participated in a training workshop dubbed “Speakers Training on the BOL.”

Organized by OPAPP, the workshop is part of the series of activities under the Joint GPH-MNLF IEC campaign which aims to capacitate members of the MNLF as key resource persons on the law.

During the training, MNLF Secretary General Abdul Kong Sahrin urged his comrades in the MNLF to help redefine the organization’s vision in relation to the BOL.

“We need to redefine our vision and (determine) how to pursue it,” Sahrin said.

The top MNLF leader said the MNLF and the MILF share a common vision for the Bangsamoro and should look at each other as partners.

“This partnership is established on the principle of convergence. It is the preferred political option,” Sahrin said.

He said the BOL is “a superior version” of all previous peace agreements signed.

“The BOL is ARMM-plus-plus. There is no reason for you not to support it,” Sahrin said.

For his part, MNLF deputy secretary general Rasul Rasdi said the peace process “does not only mean the signing of peace agreements” but also “the building of a socio-economic structure.”

“The Moros have suffered for many years. We therefore need to focus on economic development so that everyone enjoys (the benefits of growth),” Rasdi said. ###

 

By | October 30th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|Comments Off on MNLF pledges to carry out aggressive info campaign in support of BOL

Dureza to media: Be beacons of justice, truth and free speech

EDEN NATURE PARK, CALINAN DISTRICT, DAVAO CITY (October 25, 2018) — It was a heart-to-heart conversation between one journalist to another.

For about two hours, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza listened, laughed, and exchanged views with members of media coming from various parts of Mindanao on a range of issues and concerns.

It was a candid dialogue as the government’s top peace negotiator shared his experiences as a neophyte reporter of a local daily and then moving up as editor-in-chief and finally as publisher of the paper.

But Dureza’s message to his media colleagues was strong and clear: Serve as beacons of free speech and champions of truth and justice.

“You must help create an enabling environment that is conducive to free speech,” he told the more than 50 journalists attending the Mindanao Media Safety and Security Summit organized by the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC).

Dureza recognized the many challenges confronting the profession, particularly those who are working in conflict-affected areas in the country.

“A lot of you operate in critical areas. But you have to make sure that the environment (for free speech) is there,” he said.

Dureza said being the Fourth Estate, the media should not cower in fear and be easily intimidated by the forces that threaten them.

He narrated an incident which tested his commitment as a journalist and advocate of truthful and accurate reportage.

But the unfortunate event did not deter him from filing his story and instead inspired him to stand by his principles as a journalist.

“Should we be threatened? As journalists, we need to uphold our principles at all times,” Dureza said.

In this age of fake news, he stressed that media should be more circumspect and not to easily accept information “hook, line and sinker.”

“You always need to look after the truth,” Dureza said, adding that journalists need “to go beyond” the information their sources provide them and validate their veracity.

The Peace Adviser, however, advised media to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety, especially if their lives are in danger.

“You have to find a way to protect yourself. If not, you will be constrained in telling the truth,” he said.

Dureza also challenged members of the media to use their pens and microphones as instruments to amplify the concepts of understanding, unity, and peace among the Filipino people.

In particular, he asked journalists to help the national government in addressing the “larger peace table,” which is the general public.

“You are the ones addressing the larger peace table 24/7. Your audience number in the thousands,” he said.

Dureza said the media can play a crucial role in helping to bridge the social, religious, and cultural divide among the people and heal the social fabric that had been torn in situations of conflict.

Citing Marawi as an example, Dureza admitted that restoring relationships in the community is more difficult than rebuilding the physical infrastructure that was destroyed during the five-month war.

He said media reports should support multi-stakeholder efforts that would allow just and lasting peace to firmly take root, especially in communities situated in areas of conflict.

“Your messages should help create that conducive environment,” Dureza said.

 

By | October 26th, 2018|News, Peoples' Peace Tables|0 Comments

Dureza lauds Mindanao business community for economic progress in the region

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 25, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza lauded the Mindanao business community for its role in the island region’s “amazing transformation.”

In a letter read for him by OPAPP’s Conflict Prevention and Management Unit Director Ferdinand Jovita on Wednesday at the 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards here in this city, Dureza said the economic progress that Mindanao is experiencing now is due to the major contributions made by the business community.

“You are the force behind the island region’s amazing transformation. You are among the reasons Mindanao is no longer considered the hotbed of a raging, decades-old insurgency but a land of vast opportunity and promise,” Dureza said.

Saying peace and development must be pursued simultaneously, Dureza underscored the programs and initiatives that the government is undertaking to move peace forward especially in conflict-affected areas across the southern region.

“This is exactly what we are trying to do in Mindanao, particularly in the implementation of programs and projects in conflict-affected communities. None of these development initiatives will succeed unless they are anchored on the principles of peace, cooperation, and solidarity,” he said.

Ending his message, Dureza urged the business leaders to take a proactive role in peace building.

“May all of you continue to carry out your mission of not only helping create more economic opportunities for our fellow Mindanaoans but, more importantly, take part in the collective effort to bring just and enduring peace in our island-region,” he said.

 

The 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards was held to recognize entrepreneurs who made valuable contributions in fostering economic growth in the region. ###

By | October 25th, 2018|CPP-NPA-NDF, MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments