New GRP Peace Panel head buoys hope for an elusive peace in Mindanao

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), the Mindanao Peace Weavers (MPW) and  the DUYOG-Mindanao Campaign Network warmly welcome the recent appointment of  University of the Philippines (UP) Law Dean Marvic F. Leonen, as the new head of the GRP Panel  in the Peace Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Dean Marvic Leonen’s  appointment augurs well with the ongoing peace talks between the GRP and the MILF. He brings with him not only  an impressive credential to the post, but more importantly, a solid experience, empathy and grounding on the issues and rights of the indigenous peoples, the upland communities, including those in Mindanao. His new post  also buoys up a lot of hope and raises high  expectations particularly from the peace and people’s movements  regarding the  prospects of the peace process in Mindanao.

We join the rest of the justice-seeking and peace-loving peoples of Mindanao and the Philippines in wishing Dean Leonen and the new set of peace negotiators — who we also hope will mostly come from Mindanao, and will include women representatives–  the  best in this new but highly challenging task.

The way to  justice and peace in Mindanao is  definitely  rough and bumpy. One major  roadblock is the historical and willful failure of successive governments to recognize the central  issue of self-determination  of the peoples, particularly the Bangsamoro and the Lumads that  ignited and continue to fuel the armed resistance in Mindanao. The need for recognition and respect of this basic right as the foundation for addressing the root causes of the conflict in Mindanao was re-affirmed in the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Agenda (MPPA) of the Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) which has been submitted to both the Aquino government and the MILF recently for their consideration in their negotiations.  The MPPA is a seminal, living document that offers a framework and blueprint in addressing the challenges faced by Mindanao’s peoples in their pursuit of peace, justice and progress. It was a product of years of consultations of the MPW member networks constituents- the broadest network of peace advocates in the island. The is why we are happy that legal luminaries like Dean Leonen only know fully well that even the Philippine Constitution and the country’s Indigenous People’s  Rights Act (IPRA) can pose grave legal  threats to the full enjoyment and exercise of the right to self-determination of the concerned aggrieved peoples.

As equally important therefore, as the need for the new Aquino government to exercise a strong political will to address the root causes of conflicts, rectify the historical injustice committed against the marginalized Mindanaons, and recognize the human rights, including the right to self-determination of the island’s peoples—-is the need to explore a more flexible but principled framework of the peace negotiations that will eventually lead to a just , peaceful political resolution of the Mindanao issue.The choice of Dean Marvic Leonen is a positive step. But it should also be mandated by a government’s peace policy that seeks to genuinely and justly resolve the armed conflicts and thus  bring about durable and not fragile peace.

We trust that Dean Marvic Leonen , can champion this fresh and hopefully successful  track of ending war and establishing a just and durable peace in the conflict-torn Mindanao.  We look forward to an earnest, transparent and warm engagement with Dean Leonen.

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One Response to New GRP Peace Panel head buoys hope for an elusive peace in Mindanao

  1. Danilo Pagtakhan August 6, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    It is with very firm belief in decent and peaceful living,that I must also extend my responsible intention to this renewed government body,which is concerned in establishing the nation’s peace and law and order.It is also with no doubt,that peace of mind and defense of Philippine democracy is everyone’s concerned business as a rightful Filipino,who also must insist to their approved and popular government the imperativity of removing the more serious threat of armed rebellion,which seeks to hamper the solidness of free idea and way of life accorded to the citizens of this already agonized but supposedly godly and civilized nation.
    Referring to the most serious thought of removing the grave threat of the communist insurgents and muslim seccesionist movements in the Philippines is a promising idea to an administration who has to have clear judgement and sound thinking in order to be viewed as sincere and unblurrish of their views of rule of law and public safety.Of course it is never too late in giving the most acceptable answer in addressing the two most biggest organized crime in the country namely the CPP and MILF etc. in clipping their twisted existence and agendas,which gives the country a negative perception of being weak and unfocused with its supposedly just primary mandate of parehending branded criminals.
    I believe that the majority of responsible Filipinos are supportive and approving of this undoubtful wish and to gladly see their beloved land be defended by just one deserving army and supreme constitution wherein they loved primarily and along with popular preference and consent.Added to that,I believe that the many ways of solving this security issues is to first,bring this lawless elements to the folds of the law and at the same time promote better civility by positive education,more police availability so that the idea of peace and order,progress,freedom of travel or movement will forever reign and guaranteed in this country.These and other things makes me happy too as a Filipino.Thank you.

    Danilo M. Pagtakhan MA-Ed.

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