The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) wants to join the many that have congratulated President Benigno Aquino III and the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) led by its Chair Al Haj Murad with the recent breakthrough in their peace talks. The Framework Agreement reached between them is not only an historic step towards peace in Mindanao and the broader Philippines, but a strong signal of the commitment of both parties to change the future of the peoples of Mindanao for the better.
GPPAC commends the members of the negotiating panels for the dedication to transparency and inclusiveness they have shown in the process so far. The consultations that have already taken place with local officials, legislators, civil society, international partners, constituents and others, as well as making the draft agreement public before it is signed later this week show that the parties realize that transparency and inclusiveness are key components for a successful peace process.
Based on the lessons learned from and experience with peace processes in other places in the world, GPPAC hopes and recommends that in the coming, undoubtedly challenging process forward, different stakeholders, especially civil society organizations, will continue to be consulted and involved. More so, GPPAC hopes that constructive queries and at times criticism will be heard, to limit the possibility of the further process being destabilized by surprises by those who oppose the pact for any reason.
Additionally, GPPAC welcomes the specific provisions in recognition of the important role of women in peacebuilding and women’s rights. Now we encourage both parties to translate these provisions in active involvement of women in the process, as well as acknowledgement of issues specifically related to women in the further negotiations. This is a critical time to ensure implementation of the Philippine’s National Action Plan on UNSCR1325 which should also include resources to support women on the ground.
Echoing its offer from 2009, when GPPAC visited both Mindanao and Manila with a large delegation of peacebuilders from around the world and offered itself to advise the peace negotiations between the GPH and the MILF, GPPAC would like to reaffirm its offer to support the process in anyway it can. If advice, recommendations or any other support based on the best practices and lessons learned from elsewhere in the world would be appreciated, GPPAC would be more than willing to share these.
The Framework Agreement in an historic step, but the upcoming process will likely be challenging and complicated. GPPAC and its partners both in and outside the Philippines applaud the first, brave steps that have been made, and hope that these will lead to a peace that the peoples of Mindanao and the Philippines desire and deserve.