CSOs hold peace summit, vow to help in Bangsamoro transition February 14, 2014Posted by HERBERT CURIA in GOVERNMENT, OPPAP, PEACE TALK UPDATES.
CSOs hold peace summit, vow to help in Bangsamoro transition
Davao City — Leaders of civil society organizations (CSO) and representatives of Mindanao’s tri-people (Moros, Christians and Lumads) convened on Monday in a three-day peace summit aimed at consolidating how they can help in the transition to the Bangsamoro, the entity that will be created by the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles, the keynote speaker during the opening day, lauded the CSOs for their continuing initiatives to support the GPH-MILF peace talks.
The Feb. 10-12 summit carries the theme “Mindanao CSO Leaders Peace Summit: Developing Synergies and Enhanced Cooperation in Accompanying the Transition Towards Bangsamoro.”
CSO and tri-people leaders from Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato graced the event which was also attended by representatives from the international community such as donor agencies.
Deles informed the peace summit participants that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will be signed soon, and that both houses of Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives, will treat the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as a priority legislative agenda.
President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly said that Malacañang will certify the BBL as a priority measure.
The GPH and the MILF peace panels have completed their negotiations with the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its Annexes on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, Power Sharing, and Normalization, plus the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation.
These agreements shall compose the CAB, the final peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF after years of negotiations that started in 1997.
“The world is watching us. Certainly it is a cause to celebrate although we know that there is still a lot of work to do ahead,” Deles said.
She urged the CSOs to further work hard and help in inspiring the public to embrace a culture of peace.
“We have to persist and persevere as many challenges will still come our way. Don’t give up but speak up. Don’t let the naysayers dominate the airwaves,” she told the participants.
Deles stressed the Mindanao peace process is widely accepted, and it has gone this far because of the hard work and sincerity the two sides have shown despite the difficulties along the way.
“The peace process is important not just for Mindanao but for the entire country. It is recognized not just in Mindanao but also across the country. It is commended by countries across the world, including the United Nations and the European Union,” she said.
Deles asked the support of the CSOs to ensure the ratification of the BBL in the plebiscite after Congress will give its approval, and to campaign for good governance during the elections in 2016.
“It is important for all residents and voters in the Bangsamoro to campaign hard to ensure that in the first Bangsamoro government, the reform candidates will have a good place,” she said.
In the run down to the first Bangsamoro elections, the GPH and MILF peace panels have agreed to put in place a transition body, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which Deles said will have a critical role to play.
“It is a transition that needs to redound to Mindanao, to the Philippines, and to the world,” the secretary said.