Meaningful Peoples’ Participation: Essential for Genuine and Lasting Peace in Mindanao

Filled with the spirit of joy, reconciliation and peace, we, the Mindanao Peaceweavers, join our Moro brothers and sisters in celebration of today’s feast of Eid’l Fitr as we renew our hopes of realizing peace for all peoples of Mindanao.

Together with all Mindanaoans, the Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) celebrates the end of Ramadhan and awaits with bated breath the expected resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Our constituents expect the GRP-MILF peace talks to focus on the root causes of the armed conflict in order to achieve a just and fair resolution of the Mindanao problem.

As its concrete contribution to the peace building process, MPW offers the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Agenda (MPPA) which is a product of exhaustive consultation and consensus building processes among its members and constituencies.  The MPPA embodies the peoples’ aspirations for peace and justice and incorporates recommendations to the key stakeholders and conflict actors in Mindanao on how the continuing peace and development challenges can be addressed.

We commend the government in reconstituting its negotiating panel tasked with the negotiations with the MILF. We implore GRP panel members to take a deep, comprehensive and historical appreciation of the task at hand.

It is with great anticipation that we await as well the MILF’s announcement of the new members of their panel and we urge them to remain steadfast in their resolve to arrive at a negotiated political settlement.

With both panels now deep in preparation for the resumption of peace negotiations, we wish to convey the following message for them to consider: amidst the humps and bumps in the negotiations, do not lose sight of the greater good that the resolution of the Mindanao problem can bring forth.

To the GRP and the MILF, listen to the peoples’ myriad voices crying in unison for peace. Actively involve the peoples of Mindanao and also those from Visayas and Luzon in various ways possible. One positive way is through the planned constitution of an advisory panel by the government which we hope pushes through.

In the past year, several groups and organizations have launched initiatives on agenda development  with the end view of contributing towards and responding to the peace issue in Mindanao. The proposals and recommendations generated from these processes may be worth looking into as we find ways to achieve durable and comprehensive peace.

Allow us again to express our unwavering resolve to help ensure the meaningful participation of peoples and communities as they engage both the GRP and the MILF in the continuing quest for peace and development in Mindanao.

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