Dureza: Peace process requires dealing with the past

PASAY CITY, October 17, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Tuesday emphasized the importance of dealing with the past in addressing the needs of those who are affected by conflict in the country.

“In the peace process, we need to have social healing by going back to the past. Hindi natin pwedeng kalimutan ‘yan (We must not forget the past),” Dureza said during an Interagency Orientation Workshop spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in this city on October 16.

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By | October 17th, 2018|MILF, News|0 Comments

International donor community reaffirms support for GPH-MILF peace process

DAVAO CITY, October 12, 2018 — Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the international donor community converged yesterday in this city to declare their unwavering support for the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In his opening remarks during the “Conversation Between MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim and Development Partners” organized by the United Nations in the Philippines, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza underscored the invaluable role of foreign partners in pushing the GPH-MILF peace process forward.

Umbilical cord of peace process

“We appreciate that you are all here to lend your support. You are the umbilical cord that kept us from walking away,” Dureza said.

He noted how the country’s international partners had helped sustain the peace negotiations between the national government and the rebel group particularly during periods of uncertainty and armed conflict.

He said with the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he is looking forward to seeing the continued assistance coming from foreign partners, especially the implementation of initiatives that would help create a groundswell of support for the landmark measure.

“Expectations from the people are very high. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Dureza said.

He also emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the many challenges confronting the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in a plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

According to the peace adviser, high poverty incidence, a dearth of job opportunities, and the lack of adequate infrastructure are among the major concerns confronting the region.

“We have to address these problems together,” he said, adding that finding solutions to these pressing issues “is only solving half of the problem.”

Dureza said in order to bring about sustainable development in communities, stakeholders should focus their efforts on improving the lives of people on the ground.

He said due to the much-improved peace and security conditions in the region, genuine economic growth can now take root wherein the Bangsamoro people can partake of its benefits.

Dureza stressed the need for everyone to “learn from the lessons of the past.”

“Let us not squander this golden opportunity,” her said,

From fighters to leaders

For his part, MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim said the MILF is fully aware of the many challenges confronting his organization, particularly the forthcoming shift from the ARMM to the BARMM.

Murad said the upcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL is “a major hurdle” for the MILF, which is the main proponent of the law and is expected to assume top leadership positions once the BARMM is set up.

He said the establishment of the Bangsamoro region and government requires the enactment of the law, which, he pointed out, “is the product of more than 40 years of negotiations.“

Murad admitted that the MILF members’ transition from being combatants to leaders in the community will not be easy and will require a lot of effort on their part.

“We are revolutionaries who have been trained in warfare but nil in terms of experience in electoral processes,” he said.

Murad said there are two crucial transitions that must happen to ensure the MILF completes its transformation as an organization.

The first transition is the implementation of timely programs and projects for the 30,000 to 40,000 MILF fighters who will undergo the delicate process of decommissioning.

“These combatants need to be transformed into productive members of the population,” Murad said.

The second transition would be providing the MILF members with the necessary capacity-building interventions that will make them capable and effective leaders.

“We need to understand the intricacies of government. We are neophytes [in this field] and we need to learn,” Murad said.

Greater synergy among donors

At the same event, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren lauded the MILF leadership for working hard to turn their vision into reality.

“Your (MILF) vision is very clear. You laid out a central pathway that would give us the ability to engage,” Almgren said.

He stressed the need for greater synergy among international donor agencies, particularly in the implementation of programs and projects in the region.

“There must be an alignment of our plans with those of the Bangsamoro,” Almgren said as he reaffirmed his agency’s commitment to undertake initiatives that would help bring long-lasting peace and genuine development in the region.

“We are happy to play that role. We stand ready to help you,” he said. ###

By | October 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

BOL will end Moro people’s ‘narrative of isolation’ – BTC commissioner

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 11, 2018 — The passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is a major victory not only for the Moro people but for the Filipino nation as a whole.

This was declared by Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Commissioner Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph during the seminar workshop dubbed “Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context” held October 9 at the VIP Hotel in this city.

“The [BOL] will result in unity and social cohesion,” Latiph said, noting that there are still “a lot of misconceptions” about the Moro people.

She said she is hopeful that through the landmark measure, there will be a better understanding of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations, particularly their decades-long struggle for self-governance.

Latiph, who was among those who drafted the BOL, said the law is one of the major pillars of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed in 2014 between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

She said the CAB is “a comprehensive solution” which, through the BOL, “will be the legal framework that will set the stage” towards realizing the dreams of the Moros.

In order to ensure the successful implementation of the BOL, Latiph re-echoed Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza’s recommendation to carry out a multi-stakeholder effort that would help capacitate the future leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM government.

The BARMM will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in the plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

“We need leaders who will do their best and be capacitated,” Latiph said.

She said this capacity-building process was requested by the MILF leadership itself, which recognized the need to equip its members with the necessary skills that would enable them to become effective leaders.

She said the upcoming plebiscite to ratify the BOL is very crucial.

“This (plebiscite) is a recognition of the legitimacy of the [future] BARMM government,” Latiph said. “It is the people [themselves] who will say yes or no to the law.”

Latiph said she is confident that once the BOL is implemented properly, the people will throw their full support behind it.  

“We need a foundation where we can stand on,” she said, referring to the BOL.

Latiph said she anticipates that upon the ratification and full implementation of the law, “the narrative of isolation [of the Bangsamoro people] will come to an end.” ###

By | October 11th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

OPAPP urges civil society: Read the BOL

CAGAYAN DE ORO, October 10, 2018  – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has urged members of civil society to go over the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in its entirety as this will be the key in developing a better appreciation of the landmark measure.

“Please read it. This is the best way to understand it,” OPAPP Undersecretary and GPH Implementing Panel Chair Nabil Tan said in his remarks at the “Civil Society Organization’s Assessment and Planning Workshop” held last October 8 at the New Dawn Plus Hotel in this city.

The two-day forum was organized by the Initiatives for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) and supported by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

Tan said there are still apprehensions regarding the law because many still have not seen its actual content.

“Get hold of the law. So there will be no misconceptions about it,” he said as he highlighted key provisions of the BOL covering the areas of governance, employment, resource-sharing, revenue collections, and peace and security.

Block Grant and Special Development Fund

Tan said among the major economic features of the BOL is the Block Grant, a 5 percent share of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from the total national revenue collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The fund, he said, will be automatically appropriated to the Bangsamoro government and will be reflected in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“This will address underdevelopment in the region,” Tan said, emphasizing that under the new setup, the BARMM leadership “will no longer need to beg for funds from Congress” as what had happened during the past administrations.

Tan said aside from the Block Grant, the region will also be given a Special Development Fund that will enable conflict-affected communities in the area to catch up with their more progressive counterparts and partake of the benefits of economic growth.

ARMM to BARMM

On the concern of what will happen to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Tan said once the BOL is ratified by residents during the plebiscite in January 21, 2019, the ARMM will be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.

“If they vote for yes, the ARMM will be abolished and become the BARMM,” he said, explaining the yes vote will have to be made by the region as whole. “But if they vote no, they will remain in the ARMM.”

The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

With regards to the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte — Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagaloan, and Tangkal — which voted for their inclusion during the 2001 ARMM plebiscite, Tan said a majority “yes” vote to be cast by residents across the province is needed for these municipalities to become part of the BARMM.

A social contract

On the status of ARMM personnel, Tan gave assurance that current employees who will not be absorbed under the new government will be given the chance to re-apply.

Tan, however, stressed that these workers must be able to meet certain qualification standards for them to be considered for the position.

“We must remember that the BOL is not only a legal document but also a social contract as well,” he said.

Revenue-sharing

On the issue of revenue sharing between the BARMM and national government for taxes collected in the region, Tan said it is going to be “70-30” arrangement in favor of the former.

But he said  for the next 10 years, the BARMM government will receive 100 percent of the region’s overall revenue collections.

In terms of revenue sharing from taxes collected on natural resources such as fossil fuels, it will be a “50-50” arrangement for both parties, he said.

Concerns on police, armed forces and Shariah courts

Contrary to some misconceptions, the BARMM government will not establish its own police and armed forces, Tan clarified.

“The defense of the state is lodged with the national government. The 1987 Philippine Constitution says that there will only be one national police and one armed forces,” he said.

With regards to fears that the Shariah Law will be strictly implemented across the region, Tan said the law will only apply to those who belong to the Muslim faith.

“This law (Shariah) only holds for offenses committed by members of the (Muslim) community,” he said. “Regular courts will continue to function.”

Managing expectations

For his part, Haron Meling, a commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said the people will have to manage their expectations because the BOL will not provide an all-encompassing solution to all the challenges confronting the region.

“It (BOL) will not be a panacea even if implemented in the fullest. The (BARMM) government is not a magic wand,” Meling said.

He said over the years, the MILF leadership has focused on one primary goal and that is “to address the Moro problem.”

The passage of the BOL, Meling said, was therefore a major victory for the Bangsamoro people because it was a realization of their decades-long struggle to be recognized as a people.

In order for the region to achieve its full potential, he said people must unite and translate their aspirations into action.

“We have to plan and work hard to realize these dreams,” Meling said.

The “Columbian Experience”

At the same forum, Dr. Chetan Kumar, Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding to the UN and resident coordinator to UNDP-Philippines, said the “Colombian experience” offers a lot of insights on how peace agreements can be implemented and succeed.

“Many did not understand why the law was important to them,” he said.

“All the work you are doing should therefore inspire, make people better understand (the law),” he added. ###

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

Dureza: Good governance key to successful BOL implementation

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 10, 2018 — Good governance will be the key in the successful implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

This was underscored by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza during the seminar workshop dubbed “Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context” held yesterday at the VIP Hotel in this city.

Speaking to journalists from across Mindanao, Dureza said the main challenge confronting the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government is finding the right leaders who will be able to translate the BOL’s vision into reality.

“We really need good, effective leaders to make this happen,” he said.

Dureza said no matter how good the law is, positive change will not take root unless the system of governance in the region becomes more dynamic and responsive to the needs of the people.

He said there is a need to capacitate upcoming local leaders who will be taking the reins of government once the BARMM is established.

This is the difficult part, Dureza said, as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the main proponents of the BOL, is still making the transition from being fighters to becoming leaders in the community.

“The question now is, who will be running the (BARMM) government? Are they capacitated?” he asked.

Dureza said he was pleased when the international donor community offered its assistance in helping train members of the MILF in the fundamentals of good governance.

“Their assistance will certainly go a long way in helping our MILF brothers become more effective leaders,” he said.

Dureza also emphasized the importance of inclusivity in local governance, saying it would be difficult to successfully implement initiatives under the new BARMM government if residents are not able to partake of the dividends of economic growth.

He said the region will also continue to lag in terms of development unless the delivery of basic services such as health, education, and infrastructure is improved.

“These are the triggers of conflict, when people feel that they are being deprived and their needs are not being addressed,” he said.

Dureza said this is the reason the national government is carrying out a whole-of-government approach in which the “nexus of peace and development” must always go together.

“Peace and development should happen simultaneously and not happen one after the other,” he said.

Dureza highlighted the critical role of media not only as chroniclers of events but as key influencers who can help amplify messages of peace, hope, and empowerment.

“This is the role of media. Your work is very important,” he said, challenging the journalists to use their pens and microphones to inform the general public – the “bigger peace table” – on pressing peace and development issues.

“Continue working because we need the help of media to address the bigger table. You have the passion to do that,” Dureza said.

The media forum was organized by the Philippine Press Institute in partnership with the Pimentel Institute for Governance and Leadership and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.  ###

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

UN Peacebuilding Fund: Sustaining the gains of peace and development

DAVAO CITY, October 6, 2018—The United Nations’ (UN) upcoming initiatives in Mindanao will focus on building the capacities of the youth and women and empowering them to become agents of peace and development.

This was among the highlights of the second Project Advisory Board Meeting of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF) attended by representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, UN Women, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) yesterday.

Youth as peacebuilders

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, who co-chairs the PBF Project Advisory Board with UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren, stressed the vital role of the youth in peacebuilding, particularly in the national government’s efforts to address the growing threat of violent extremism in the country.

“The youth is very critical in our work for peace,” Dureza said, pointing out that a large number of those recruited by terrorist groups during the Marawi siege were very young fighters.

He emphasized the need to provide young people, particularly those in conflict-affected areas, with the necessary skills that would enable them to make a living and consequently discourage them from joining extremist organizations.

“We need to give them (youth) the capacity to earn so they can avoid doing these foolish things,” Dureza said.

Sustaining the gains of peace

The PBF, dubbed “Enhancing Capacities for the Bangsamoro,” began its implementation in September 2017 through a partnership between the United Nations and OPAPP.

The fund’s main objectives are to create an enabling environment for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and develop the capacities of stakeholders to fight violent extremism and radicalization.

The PBF is designed to support government’s peacebuilding initiatives, which include the information and education campaign for the passage and ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), strengthening the convergence between the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and assisting in the transition from the present ARMM government to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Engaging the youth

During meeting, Andrew Morris, chief of UNICEF’s Mindanao office, said it is the overall strategy of his agency to actively engage the youth in peace-promoting activities.

“This is something we would continue in the coming years, to get them involved in peacebuilding,” Morris said.

He said based on a recent study conducted by UNICEF, there are currently around 400,000 out-of-school youth in the ARMM.

Morris said the situation is worrisome in light of the current peace and security conditions in the region which are being exploited by radical groups.

He added that among the major concerns confronting the region’s youth are health, education, and employment.

He said this is the reason the UNICEF’s programs and projects are focused on providing much-needed services for the youth.

“We need to work at a larger scale to make an impact,” he said.

Morris said through UNICEF’s various programs, the agency hopes to reach out to about half a million youth in the region.

Increased role of women in community safety

For her part, Maricel Aguilar of UN Women reported that her organization has already reached out to 500 “diaspora” communities.

She said this is in line with the agency’s efforts to support a CAB-compliant Bangsamoro Organic Law in particular and the Bangsamoro peace process in general.

Aguilar said many of the women they have talked to still do not have a clear understanding of the BOL, especially on how its implementation will impact their respective communities.

“A lot of them don’t know what will be the implications of the law,” she said. “We need to reach out to these communities and influence them.”

Aguilar said UN Women is now closely working with civil society organizations in the region in order to boost their information dissemination campaign on the BOL and strengthen the role of women in community safety and civilian protection.

To date, they have trained 33 women speakers who will lead in legislative lobbying and conversations in diaspora communities.

“We hope to scale up our interventions,” she said.

Greater synergy

Dureza underscored the need for greater synergy and integration among the various peace stakeholders.

“We need to have a coherent network,” he said, noting that a lot of organizations are now helping the national government in its work for peace.

Dureza also lauded the international development community, particularly the United Nations, for helping to push forward the Duterte Administration’s peace and development agenda.

“Thank you very much for your help,” he said. “But there is still a lot of work ahead of us.”

In response, Almgren, UN’s resident coordinator in the Philippines, thanked OPAPP for giving his organization the opportunity to carry out its work in the Philippines.

“We are privileged for the partnership that we have,” he said.  ###\

By | October 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

OPAPP, int’l partners continue to address root causes of conflict in Mindanao

Taguig City, October 3, 2018 — International Alert Philippines, one of the longstanding partners of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), is taking steps to identify and address the underlying roots of conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

During the presentation of its 2017 report titled “War and Identity” on Tuesday at Bonifacio Global City, the group said shadow economies, particularly activities attributed to trade and use of illicit weapons and drugs, is the top reason for conflict with a total of 1,549 related reports in 2017.

Coming in second are identity issues with 1,224 related reports, while third are common crimes with 719 related reports.

Other causes were political, resources, and governance issues.

International Alert used Conflict Alert as its monitoring mechanism in tracking the incidence, causes, and human costs of violent conflict in the Philippines.

In his remarks at the presentation, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza underscored the importance of determining the factors that affect conflict and violence.

“I am glad that there is an effort to find out what are the real triggers of conflict. Many are analyzing it, but we cannot come up with solutions if we don’t know the root cause,” he said.

Dureza also lauded International Alert, saying its report could be of help in “improving ways on how to deal with peace efforts.”

OPAPP recently launched its Social Healing and Peacebuilding Program (SHAPE) to address the root causes of conflict in the vulnerable areas of Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City.

SHAPE promotes peacebuilding and reconciliation among the victims of conflict while addressing issues and concerns that might emerge following last year’s Marawi siege.

The program includes mainstreaming of conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting approaches in local development planning, welfare assistance to vulnerable entities, and college educational assistance project.

Also during International Alert’s presentation, World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick said the challenge of addressing the roots of conflict in Mindanao is among the top priorities of WB.

“We believe in its (Philippine Government) principle to ending the extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity. Achieving these goals means continually shuffling our understanding of fragility and conflict in Mindanao,” Warwick said.

Clare Duffield, Counsellor for Political and Public Trade, extended the Australian Government’s commitment to support the Duterte administration on its work for peace.

“The challenge of bringing peace and development to Mindanao continues to grow but with reports such as this we can head in the right direction,” Duffield said. ###

By | October 3rd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Finland pledges continued support to PH peace process

DAVAO CITY (October 2, 2018) — The Philippines’ peacebuilding initiatives continue to receive recognition and draw in strong support from other countries.

This was evident as Finland Ambassador to the Philippines Petri Puhakka paid a courtesy call on Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Monday at the Marco Polo Hotel in this city.

During their discussion, Dureza briefed Puhakka on the Comprehensive Philippine Peace Process, particularly on the salient provisions of the recently-passed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and how the landmark measure will impact on the lives of the people in the region.

“We are now at the (information and education) campaign stage. We want people to better understand (the law),” Dureza said.

He said he is confident the Bangsamoro people will vote for the passage of the landmark measure in the plebiscite scheduled in January 2019.


“I have very high expectations (it will be supported) by the people,” he said.

The two officials also discussed possible areas of collaboration between their respective countries.

These include a proposal in which Finland would provide capacity-building assistance to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“We really need your help to capacitate the people,” Dureza said.

He said the Philippines’ peace process should not mainly focus on peace talks but on the creation of more economic opportunities for the people.


“We need to improve the lives of people. Development is very important,” he said.

Dureza likewise underscored the need to involve civil society in the peace and development process.

“There should always be inclusiveness in our work for peace. We need to make people feel that they don’t need to resort to violence for them to be noticed by government,” he said.

Dureza also briefed Puhakka on the status of the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front, which had been cancelled by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He said, however, that the door for talks with the rebel group are “still open” and could resume once there is an “enabling environment.”

In the meantime, he said the President has authorized local government officials to conduct localized peace engagements with the rebels.

“Local leaders know the situation on the ground,” he said.


Dureza thanked the ambassador for the assistance Finland has been providing to the Philippines over the years.

“Thank you very much for your help. Your support will go a long way,” he said.

For his part, Puhakka assured Dureza of his country’s continued support for the Philippines’ quest for lasting peace and sustainable development.


“We are happy to do our part to help,” Puhakka said, noting that change will not happen overnight. “The people will need to manage their expectations,” he said.

The meeting between the two officials was facilitated by the Non-Violent Peace Force, an international non-profit organization that encourages dialogue among parties involved in armed conflict. ###

By | October 2nd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Gov’t, MILF use basketball to promote BOL

LINAMON, Lanao del Norte, October 1, 2018 – Government troopers and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fought each other in a friendly sporting match here on Sunday to promote the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Allan Almoite, area manager of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for Northern Mindanao, said the initiative of using basketball to disseminate the objective of the BOL comes directly from the civil society organizations, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the MILF.

“The idea here is to use a new approach or a creative way to educate the people of the essence of the BOL. And to show to the people on the ground that the government and the MILF are on the same page in promoting peace,” he said.


Around 65 peace players composed of the Army’s 2nd, 4th, and 5th Infantry Brigades, police officers, and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) battled their way not through the barrel of the gun but through basketball and other sporting events to show unity and harmony.

Almoite said local leaders and villagers will not only get to witness and be entertained by the games but will also be informed of the salient points and provisions of the law.

The BOL was passed and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill his campaign promise to implement all the signed peace agreements between the government and the Moro fronts.


The law seeks to establish a new political structure in the expanded territory for the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao.

A plebiscite will be held on January 21, 2019 in the current areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The cities of Cotabato and Isabela, and the province of Lanao del Norte for its six municipalities, and the province of North Cotabato for its 39 barangays will also be part of the plebiscite to determine their inclusion in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Contiguous areas interested to join the BARMM may submit a petition two months before the scheduled plebiscite.

The sports events on Sunday were just among the series scheduled in the entire province of Lanao del Norte.

The event was launched as part of the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month that ended on Sunday. ###

By | October 1st, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Bangsamoro youth leaders commit to peacebuilding

COTABATO CITY, September 21, 2018 – “We want to contribute in the Bangsamoro once it is established so that the legislators can see that the youth have a place in all this.”

This was the sentiment of 22-year-old Bryan Gonzales at the close of the three-day “MasterPEACE: Bangsamoro Youth Model Parliament” held in this city.

Gonzales, a member of the National Society of Parliamentarians (NPS), joined around 80 other Bangsamoro youth leaders in manifesting their commitment to building a culture of peace in the Bangsamoro region during the summit, which concluded today.

“Ang maganda dito (summit), sa kabubuuan ng Bangsamoro region, represented ang lahat ng kabataan at naririnig ang kanilang boses,” he said.

(The good thing about  this summit is that the youth sector of the entire Bangsamoro region is well-represented and their voices are heard.)

The summit included a simulation program in which the participants acted as district representatives, party representatives, and sectoral representatives under the prospective Bangsamoro Parliament.

The Bangsamoro youth discussed critical issues in peacebuilding as they crafted and deliberated on proposed bills at the committee level and plenary sessions.

‘Yong setup ng Bangsamoro Parliament is hard to facilitate because it is very different from Congress,” Gonzales said. “At least dito nakikita namin kung ano ‘yong mga pagkukulang, mga procedural issues na p’wede ma-resolve, and mag-introduce ng reforms.”

(The setup of the Bangsamoro Parliament is hard to facilitate because it is very different from Congress. At least in this simulation program, we can see which areas need improvement, what procedural issues need to be resolved, and what reforms we can introduce.)

One of the proposals made during the plenary session was the integration of conflict transformation and peacebuilding awareness through peace education in the Bangsamoro.

The proposed bills were turned over to the Regional Legislative Assembly through Assemblywoman Irene P. Tillah.

During her remarks, Youth Peace Ambassador Farrah Ghodsinia encouraged her fellow youth leaders to be proactive in promulgating peace in their respective regions.

“They have to hear our voice and we have to make our voice known because this future community that we have, this future region, it is we who are going to live in it. That is why we need to be active in achieving what we want to see,” she said.The “MasterPEACE: Bangsamoro Youth Model Parliament” is the third installment of the MasterPEACE series and is in line with the celebration of National Peace Consciousness Month every September.

It was spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, co-organized by the Democratic Leadership and Active Civil Society Empowerment (DELACSE) Bangsamoro, a European Union-funded project implemented by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Philippines, and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance. It was done in partnership with the NSP. ###

 

By | September 22nd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Peace Month|0 Comments