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Philippines: Int'l community supports milestones in Bangsamoro peace process

17 January 2016 - 3:24am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Jan. 17 -- Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles expressed her gratitude to the support and attention that the international community is giving to the Bangsamoro peace process, noting that these indicate the level of success the Philippine government has achieved in pushing peace in Mindanao.

"The level we have on our interchange and conversations with other countries regarding the Mindanao peace process is different (from the local mood)," Deles said in a meeting with media on January 12. "Some of the works that we have done caught the interest of the international community."

Deles said that such level of international discourse on the Bangsamoro peace process has not happened before in any of the government’s previous peace tables. She said the level of attention and engagement of the international community in connection with the Bangsamoro peace process, only showed that the negotiations are progressive and productive.

“This is a milestone in the peace process. What we went (through) last year only showed the profound understanding of the (interested) sectors on the peace negotiations,” Deles said.

During a visit to the Philippines in July 2015, Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla said his government considers the decommissioning and normalization processes being implemented by the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a model in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the rebel group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

“The situation in the Philippines between the government and the MILF is the same with the Colombian government and the FARC,” Pinilla said. “After 25 years of armed conflict, we have come to the peace table and it came to our interest on how the Philippines did the ceremonial decommissioning.”

Last June 16, 145 MILF combatants and 75 crew-serve and high-powered weapons were decommissioned in simple ceremonies in Sultan Kudarat to signal Phase I of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The International Decommissioning Body (IDB), a multinational independent body led by Turkey, supervised the decommissioning process of the MILF forces and weapons as stipulated in the CAB.

Other countries in conflict-situations like Thailand and Myanmar have also sent delegations to study the Bangsamoro peace process.

In July last year, 16 members of the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) went to the Philippines to study the peace process, especially in upholding the role of women in the peace talks.

New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI) hailed both Deles and GPH chief peace negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer as ideal women peacemakers for their key roles in the government peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the MILF.

Deles is the country’s first woman presidential peace adviser while Ferrer is the first female to chair the MILF peace negotiations and the first female chief negotiator in the world to sign a major peace agreement.

Ferrer also accepted the 2015 Hillary Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The said award honors Ferrer for her “indefatigable work to bring about peace in the Philippines and for (her) historic role as the first female chief negotiator to sign a comprehensive peace agreement.” (OPAPP)