Press Release

23 June 2022

Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)

For further inquiries and interviewGus Miclat : +63 917-7013099

Dili, Timor Leste, 23 June 2022 — Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a regional advocacy and peacebuilding organization based in Davao City, was awarded the Ordem de Timor last night by Timor Leste’s newly elected President Jose Ramos Horta. The Order of Timor is the highest honor currently awarded by East Timor.

Miclat was recognized for his “contribution to the struggle for national independence through his various activities within the scope of the organization he established together with other people in IID. The activities of that organization focused on advocacy and solidarity, promoting solidarity between peoples, contributing to conflict prevention, peace building and democratization in this region of the world, particularly in countries where there is conflict.”

IID was the Secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor (APCET) that was also given the same award in 2015 by then President Taur Matan Ruak who is the current Prime Minister of the country. APCET led solidarity efforts for East Timor’s struggle for independence in the region. Miclat was a Convener and the Coordinator of APCET. APCET has since transformed into the Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) in 2005 that continues solidarity efforts for other peoples’ struggles in the region.

Miclat is currently in Dili to meet with President Horta and civil society partners on behalf of the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) to explore collective efforts in sustaining democracy in the region amid shrinking of civic spaces in the light of the ascendancy of repressive regimes. President Horta has been vocal in calling out the Myanmar junta that dislodged the elected civilian government there through a coup in February 2021. Thousands of civilians have been killed, imprisoned and tortured since then. Thousands of refugees have also spilled across the borders of neighboring countries. 

A National Unity Government (NUG) composed of elected parliamentarians, ethnic groups and the civil disobedience movement has meanwhile been established. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) where Myanmar and the Philippines are members has yet to  mediate effectively in helping resolve the crisis. Meanwhile, Timor-Leste’s application for membership in the regional grouping has yet to be accepted.

Established in 2009, the Order of Timor-Leste was created for “prestige and dignity of East Timor’s recognition of nationals and foreigners, who in their professional or social activity, even in a spontaneous act or altruism, have contributed significantly to the benefit of Timor-Leste, the Timorese, or the humanities”.

In August 2019, Miclat was invited together with the head of the Women’s Committee of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) parliament to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular consultation that ushered in the independence of the nation. The visit also aimed to share Timor-Leste’s stories of success in peace and reconciliation and at the same time, to learn from the experience of the Bangsamoro in achieving peace. The motely group composed of Miclat, MP Bainon Karon and her chief of staff, was hosted by the g7+, an intergovernmental organization established in 2010, bringing together countries that are either facing active conflict or have recent experience of conflict and fragility. The government of Timor initiated the formation of this group that has now more than 20 countries as members.

In December 2019, Miclat again accompanied an 11-person delegation of Bangsamoro Members of Parliament, indigenous peoples, the United Justice Bangsamoro Party (UMJP), youth and civil society leaders and a German donor working in Mindanao to Timor Leste on a learning exchange and solidarity visit. BTA Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) and former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal was supposed to lead the delegation but had to stay due to pressing concerns.

The mission met with Horta, Prime Minister Ruak, community and civil society leaders, cabinet ministers, political and opposition parties and women leaders of parliament to listen to their stories on how they transformed from being a resistance movement against the Indonesian occupation of their nation into a sovereign country governing themselves and the challenges that came with it, including dealing with transitional justice issues. The group also shared their own experiences in the Bangsamoro people’s struggle for self-determination. It was now led by Bangsamoro parliament minority leader Atty. Laisa Lahud Alamia. Former Executive Director of the Bangsamoro planning agency, Engr. MP Baintan Ampatuan, was also part of the delegation along with Indigenous woman leader and former Bangsamoro Transition Commissioner Froilyn Mendoza. Their visit was capped with meeting the Timorese resistance icon and leader, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao who met with and regaled them at the airport upon his arrival when the delegation was also leaving.   

Along with Miclat, the Secretary-General of ADN, Ichal Supriadi, was also given the same award for his own contribution in ensuring fair elections by monitoring elections in the region while he was the Secretary-General of the Asia Network for Free Elections (ANFREL). ANFREL is a member of ADN. Supriadi is also in Dili with Miclat who is the current Chairperson of ADN.

Miclat said, “I humbly share this award not only with the peacebuilding circles in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region but with the peoples and communities that we serve who until today continue to confront monumental challenges of armed conflict they never wished to be part of. This award represents a critical triumph of peace over armed conflict.” 

Miclat added, “With the new era of armed conflict and violence happening at the moment between nations, — and with wars often waged, unjustly, in the name of the people—peacebuilding through people – to – people solidarity remains an imperative strategy. As global wars intensify like what is happening now between Ukraine and Russia, or internal

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