Last November 10-16, 2016, a delegation of Colombian IP leaders went to the Philippines on a learning exchange visit and interacted with a broad mix of audience and policy institutions. This exchange trip was born out of an interest to compare and possibly learn from similar experiences in two of the main peace processes between the FARC and the Government of Colombia, and the one between the CPP/NDF/NPA and the Philippine Government (GRP).
“Civilian participation in the peace process” has been a core mantra of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) for more than fifteen (15) years already. And there have been inroads as regards the meaningful participation of communities and civil society in its engagement with the key actors and the peace process through its peacebuilding and peoples’ solidarity discourse.
Today January 25, we remember with grieving the tragic event that took the lives of 5 civilians, 44 members of the PNP Special Action Forces (SAF) and 18 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other armed Moro combatants. Each life so suddenly ended and leaving families, communities, and our nation in lingering pain.
Despite investigations by both Houses of Congress and the Department of Justice, as well as by the PNP Board of Inquiry, the MILF, and the International Monitoring Team among others, the truth of the tragic event still has to be fully known. Unfortunately, the variations in the initial reports of these bodies indicate that the way to this truth will never be easy, and may not be helped by further investigation at this time when the electoral season has begun.
By now, many pundits, observers and even some supporters of the original draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) have given up on its passage.
They say it will be difficult, foolhardy and too late to pass a bill that will retain the novel provisions that have practically disappeared in the substitute bill now pending in the House of Representatives.