Mindanao peace dialogue kicks off-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
THE move to engage civil society in an effort to intensify peace building in Mindanao has started after the successful holding of discussion among security stakeholders in Balay Mindanaw Peace Center in Barangay Bulua recently.
Dubbed as ‘dialogue space,’ the civil society, formed as oversight committee called Bantay Bayanihan, will look into the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), especially on the human rights issues related to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other peace and security concerns in Mindanao.
The move to engage the civil society is revolutionary and the first of its kind in South East Asia.
The committee also hopes to inspire and institutionalize the active partnership of civil society groups and other security stakeholders in the implementation of the IPSP-Bayanihan.
“This is a challenge for everybody, especially on the civil society organizations (CSOs), to bring in all stakeholders in achieving the road to peace,” said Paul Paraguya, executive director of Balay Mindanaw.
Paraguya said the committee aims to bring into conversations the different conflicting ideas and to discuss and give everybody a chance to be heard.
“We are here in agreeing not to agree and to improve and not unify ideologies,” he said.
Among the parallel goal of the initiative is to help create a positive atmosphere for the ongoing peace talks and the holding of provincial dialogues and roundtable discussions.
However, while Bayanihan Forum is focused on the AFP’s IPSP, it hopes to begin the conversation on peace and conflict dynamics in the localities.
Bantay Bayanihan will serve as a direct channel between and among relevant units in raising issues with regards to the implementation of IPSP as well as the security needs of local communities especially former rebels, PAMANA and Conditional Cash Transfers recipients.
It will also conduct periodic evaluation with regard to the implementation of IPSP-Bayanihan.
The dialogue was participated by representatives from the church, private sectors, local and national government agencies and the AFP. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 04, 2012.