PEACE panels headed by women have better chances of forging a peace agreement expeditiously rather than those headed by men.
This was the opinion made by former senator Santanina Rasul who is a former member of the government peace panel that forged a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) years ago.
In the 3rd National Ulama Summit at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City on Monday, Rasul said women are the "missing ingredient" in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Rasul recalled that during the government-MNLF peace negotiations in the 90s, it was she who became the mediator when both panels mostly composed of men who do not agree on a certain issues.
"Women have a nurturing character. In a family, it's the mother who resolves the conflict at home. Sila yung peacemakers. Yung mga lalaki ang war monger," Rasul said.
The former senator said the government should make use of women in the peace negotiations by making the head of the peace panel a woman.
Rasul rued the fact that the government already had two women head of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (Opapp) but not one woman head of the government peace panel.
Opapp is now headed by Secretary Anabelle Abaya but the chief peace negotiator is Rafael Seguis.
"Look at Ging Deles, she was not made the chair of negotiating panel despite her being Opapp chair, mali yun," Rasul said.
For this, Rasul said, they are now lobbying that women be given important role in the peace process. During the Ulama forum, women scholars called alimat supported Rasul’s call.
"Bakit ang mga Alimat hindi na-involve sa peace negotiations? That's why the Alimat should demand that they be included in the peace panel," said alimat Anisa Taja-Not.
In the website WomenWarPeace.org, it said: "Women have made a difference in the peace negotiations to which they have gained access."
"In Northern Ireland, women's groups spent a decade building the trust between Protestants and Roman Catholics that was the foundation for the ultimate agreements. In Southeastern Europe, women from Kosovo's new Assembly have banded together across party lines to form a women's caucus - a non-partisan effort in a community traumatized by conflict and ethnic strife," the website report added.
In Somalia, women presented themselves as a ‘sixth clan’ that reached beyond ethnicity to a "vision of gender equality."
The women ultimately helped create a National Charter that guaranteed women 25 seats in the 245-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA), and protected the human rights of women, children, and minorities as well.
In Nicaragua and the Philippines, women became leaders at times of national fatigue or reaction, symbolizing healing and reconciliation. (BOT)