Contact Person: Marc Batac, IID/GPPAC-SEA Liaison Officer – (+63) 9173634707

gppac-sea-logoManila, Philippines – Peace activists and key civil society actors from different countries in Southeast Asia, who participated in the first international peace and solidarity mission to Bangsamoro, vowed to extend their support for the Bangsamoro peace process while highlighting the importance of its success to regional peace.

“The success of peace in the Bangsamoro is not just for the peoples’ of the Bangsamoro and the Philippines, but ours as well in region,” the twenty-member delegation, who are also key actors in their respective peace and democratic processes, said in a statement released today.

“After meeting and talking to the various stakeholders during the mission, we are very inspired,” said Khon Jar Khoom, a civilian member of the Technical Advisory Team of the Kachin Independence Organization from the Kachin State in Burma (Myanmar), “The Bangsamoro can be a model for our ongoing struggle for self-determination.”

“Our aim in organizing this mission is to mobilize the broadest support for the successful conclusion of peace negotiations in Mindanao and the eventual passage of an inclusive Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL),” explained IID Executive Director and GPPAC-SEA Regional Representative Gus Miclat.

During their visit in Cotabato, the delegates met with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) First Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair and MILF Lead Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, representatives from indigenous peoples and civil society organizations in the Bangsamoro, and Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Executive Secretary Atty. Laisa Alamia. In the Manila leg of the mission, they met with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, Assistant Secretary and Director General for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Luis Cruz and some key members of the Congress supporting the BBL.

“Missions such as this are important and concrete expressions of regional and people-to-people solidarity,” Miclat added. “By bridging peoples, we build peace.”

Friends of the Bangsamoro

The international peace and solidarity mission to Bangsamoro is part of the “Friends of Bangsamoro” campaign spearheaded by the IID, a regional and advocacy organization based in the Philippines. The mission contingent is composed of delegates coming from the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict -Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA) partners from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Thailand and Timor Leste, as well as partners from the GPPAC Global Secretariat in The Hague and other regional organizations such as Forum Asia in Bangkok. IID is the GPPAC-SEA Convener and Secretariat.

The “Friends of the Bangsamoro” campaign is jointly organized by IID, Waging Peace-Philippines (WP-P), Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) and the GPPAC-SEA. WP-P is also the Philippine network of GPPAC-SEA.

GPPAC is a worldwide network of peacebuilders whose membership span 15 regions across the globe. It was established in 2005 at the United Nations headquarters in New York by more than a thousand civil society activists in response to the the call of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for civil society to help in the shift of the prevailing paradigm of reaction to prevention of conflict.

Lessons Learned
While no conflict nor peace agreement is the same, the mission said that as the process moves from the historic peace agreement to its translation into reality, it is important to remember that lessons are also learned from past peace processes specially in the region, particularly in Timor Leste and Aceh, that should not be repeated in the Bangsamoro.

“Transition from the jungles to the parliament is very challenging,” said Dr. Antero Da Silva, Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies in the Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae in Timor Leste, explaining that being a combatant is something very different from being a politician as the former must learn to govern.

Supporting Dr. Da Silva, Ichsan Malik, Chairman of the Peace Building Institute in Indonesia, said that “Learning from the experience of Aceh, it is important to remember that a political agreement is different from a peace agreement.”

He explained that the peace process should be inclusive, taking into account the participation of women, youth and indigenous peoples in every step of decision-making and governance. ###

The Initiatives for International Dialogue is the Secretariat of GPPAC-SEA