The Mindanao-based regional non-government organization, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) today urged President Rodrigo Duterte to ‘do a Bangsamoro’ in the government’s stalled peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), challenging the Chief Executive to replicate what his administration achieved with the Bangsamoro peace process.
IID executive director Gus Miclat said, “The President can cement his ‘promise of change’ before his term ends by leaving a ‘legacy of just peace’ in making the GRP-NDFP talks successful. After all, what’s at stake is the future of the people and the entire nation.”
Recently, a joint statement by the Philippine government (GRP) and NDFP was signed in Utrecht for a 16-day unilateral and reciprocal nationwide ceasefire as part of confidence-building measures towards the potential revival of peace negotiations this year. IID welcomes this positive development.
Miclat added, “The Bangsamoro—while still confronted with huge obstacles– is on its way towards realizing its full potential as a region with great prospects for self-governance and a just and lasting peace. If this can happen with the Bangsamoro, why not push the envelope so the country can experience also the fruits of a negotiated political settlement with the CPP-NPA-NDF? ”
He stressed, “We reiterate our view that a return to violence will only hurt both parties and specially the end recipient of the armed conflict who are the people and communities whom both parties vow and claim to fight for.”
IID urged both parties to fast track the implementation of the substantive agenda of the talks which has already gained significant advances before its termination 3 years ago. He concluded, “If we are to build a peaceful and just Philippine society, the parties involved must invest time and energy to consider genuine political negotiation as a means where principled compromises can be reached to address the fundamental roots of the conflict.”