Reiterating the importance of democratic participation of civil society along with the affected communitiesas critical aspects of good governance and durable peace and development of the Bangsamoro as it transitions and establishes itself as a new political entity, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), have intensified dialogue processes geared towards consolidating an advocacy roadmap of civil society leaders’ engagement for the Bangsamoro transition.

For the third quarter alone of 2019, IID successfully conducted three (3) dialogue activities including UsapangAdbokasiya: Bangsamoro (Civil Society Advocacy Strategy Meeting) on June 20; Women Rising in the Bangsamoro (Women Leadership Training) on June 20-21; and the 2nd Townhall Meeting:“Peoples’ Consultation on the Bangsamoro Transition” last July 25.

Gathering 44 key participants, Usapang Adbokasiya, builds on earlier IID initiated advocacy strategy sessions among CSOs withinand outside the Bangsamoro during the early transition periodin 2018andearly 2019. Part of the objective of this event is to consolidate advocacy imperatives forcivilsocietyleaders’ engagement during the Bangsamoro transition in consideration of the factors that  may influence and diminish meaningful participation of civil society and communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Said town hall meeting was the second of the 3-part series of town hall consultations in the BARMM to provide space for the communities to express their issues, concerns and perspectives on the Bangsamoro transition. A total of 47 grassroots participants joined the 2nd town hall activity composed mainly of community leaders from Cotabato City, Maguindanao and North Cotabato across ethnic identities with women and youth representation.Theparticipantsrangedfromthose leading their own community-based organizations (peoplesorganizations), leadersofbarangay, parish, localcouncil, andindigenouspoliticalstructures.The 1st townhall consultation was held in Marawi City during the second quarter of the year.

IID’s series of public consultations discussed comprehensive strategies for community participation during the BARMM transition while identifying issues and concerns that matter most for the grassroots such as the rising insecurities, protection issues, land-related disputes, and other forms of violenceespecially in the conflict-affected areas.

‘Women Rising in the Bangsamoro‘

The “Women Leadership Camp“, which successfully gathered 35 key women leaders, is a leadership course for women which builds upon long-running capacity development efforts to further empower women in the Bangsamoro.

With “Women’s Participation in the Bangsamoro” as an overall theme, the leadership course is translated into three (3) core modular subjects on (1) women engagement during the Bangsamoro transition (political and normalization arena), (2) public policy concepts and processes, and (3) women advocacy towards policy action and support for women civil society leaders in peace and democratic processes in the BARMM.

Aligned with the the overall capacity development thrust of the DELACSE 2 project with the end view of investing on the human resource capital of the Bangsamoro citizens – specifically women – by upscaling their existing leadership skills and knowledge on public policy, governance, and transitional justice in a post-conflict setting, Women Rising is the first training conducted by IID for this year with particular focus on women leaders representing communities and CSOs active in the BARMM. 

During the event, women leaders representing key offices of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) provided input on the gains and prospects in promoting the Women Agenda and Participation during the Bangsamoro Transition. BTA memberEngr.Baintan Adil-Ampatuanand Atty. Hannah Mangondatu who represented BTA Member Bainon Karon of the Regional Commission on theBangsamoro Women (RCBW)were there source persons who opened the training activity. Whilethe module on the basic concepts on policy process, parliamentary system and party building was discussed by Prof. Ramon Beleno from the Political Science Department of the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU). 

Ms. Karen Tanada from the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (WEAct 1325) presented the “Women Peace and Security Agenda in the Normalization” which was a product of their group’s policy research that started in 2015. Ms. LyndeePrieto of IID covered the topic on emerging opportunities for women in engaging the Transitional Justice process and the Normalization track as a whole. 

IID executive director Gus Miclat, Victor Sapar, and Karin Widmer also of IID capped the training with their presentation and discussion on the fundamental concepts of advocacy, communicating messages and relevant advocacy practices in the context of conflict transformation advocacy for Mindanao. 

The women participants have initially drafted a “100-day Women Agenda during the Bangsamoro Transition” which will be incorporated to the civil society policy agenda.  Such is currently being consolidated and will be formally presented to the BTA and relevant concerned agencies in the months to come. They also agreed to translate and collaborate in implementing an advocacy roadmap for women participation before the BARMM Transition Plan is finalized and the Normalization programs rolled out.