We applaud the courageous move of Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte to seek peaceful alternatives to the escalating armed encounters in Davao City between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the rebel New People’s Army. Indeed, the Lumads, Moro, and Christian settlers not only in Davao City but in the whole of Mindanao need a solution to the armed conflict which will have a lasting and effective impact on communities and which will effectively address not only the grievances of those who have taken up arms against the state but will also deal with the socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-cultural agenda of the peoples of Mindanao.
We in the Mindanao Peaceweavers, a coalition of seven (7) peace networks in Mindanao, encourage Mayor Duterte to promote constructive dialogue among the stakeholders in the armed conflict. As a platform for peace-building in Davao City, we humbly offer the Mindanao People’s Peace Agenda (MPPA).
Peace-building and conflict prevention in Davao City needs the participation of affected communities and civil society organizations in order to come up concrete mechanisms and effective policy proposals.
The MPPA is a platform that promotes constructive, inclusive and democratic dialogue for a meaningful engagement towards peace.
As a way forward, we urge Mayor Duterte and all stakeholders to the armed conflict to consider the following concerns:
- Recognize, respect and fulfill the right to self-determination of the peoples.
- Recognize and strengthen customary laws and indigenous governance and justice practices of indigenous communities.
- Engage in discussions to rediscover the historical truth regarding Mindanao. Stop excessive use of military force, respect human rights and dismantle paramilitary armed groups.
- Correct the injustices committed against the peoples in Mindanao.
- Effectively address the issue of landgrabbing.
- Ensure civilian protection and assistance during armed conflict.
- Address the emergency relief, rehabilitation, recovery, and normalization issues of internally displaced people.
- Take effective measures towards ending corruption and impunity.
- Integrate measures to protect and preserve the environment and pursue sustainable development.
- Address the issues of food security, export-import policy, plantation economy, and commercialization.
- Sustain a culture of peace and human rights.
- Adopt and pursue a peace policy and program.
We encourage the city government to pursue peace-building initiatives through the promotion of culture of peace by integrating these themes in traditional festivals of the city especially in the impending Kadayawan sa Davao festival this August.
We also call on other LGUs to draw information and inspiration from Davao City’s initiative- that a non-militarist solution to the communist-rebellion can be worthwhile endeavor for Mindanao LGUs, powered by a strong political will from the local chief executive.
The Mindanao Peace Weavers offer collaboration with city and local government units in Mindanao in pursuing peace-related projects involving the tri-peoples of Mindanao.