ANOTHER group has expressed support to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's position on seeking peaceful alternatives "to the escalating armed encounters in the city."

Peace-building coalition Mindanao Peaceweavers head Janice Sevilla said their group "applauds Duterte's courageous move in her decision to cut off the city's operational support to the 1003rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippines Army in her stand that she agrees to dialogue and not to the Army's approach."

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"Constructive dialogue is the way to peace-building and not the escalating armed encounters in Davao City between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the rebel New People's Army. Peace-building and conflict prevention in Davao City needs the participation of affected communities and civil society organizations in order to come up with concrete mechanisms and effective policy proposals," Sevilla said Friday.

"The Lumads, Moro, and Christian settlers not only in Davao City but in the whole of Mindanao need a solution to the armed conflict, which will have a lasting and effective impact on communities and which will effectively address not only the grievances of those who have taken up arms against the state but will also deal with the socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-cultural agenda of the people of Mindanao," she said.

Sevilla said the Mindanao Peaceweavers, a coalition of seven peace networks in Mindanao, promotes the Mindanao People's Peace Agenda (MPPA), encouraging Duterte to promote constructive dialogue among the stakeholders in the armed conflict.

Sevilla said the MPPA is a platform that promotes constructive, inclusive, and democratic dialogue for a meaningful engagement towards peace. Within this are the following concerns:

* recognize, respect, and fulfill the right to self-determination of the peoples;

* recognize and strengthen customary laws and ingenious governance and justice practices of ingenious communities;

* engage in discussions to rediscover the historical truth regarding Mindanao;

* stop excessive use of military force, respect human rights, and dismantle paramilitary armed groups;

* correct the injustices committed against the people's in Mindanao;

* effectively address the issue of landgrabbing;

* ensure civilian protection and assistance during armed conflict;

* address the emergency relief, rehabilitation, recovery, and normalization issues of internally displaced people;

* take effective measures towards ending corruption and impunity;

* integrate measures to protect and preserve the environment and pursue sustainable development;

* address the issues of food security, export-import policy, plantation economy, and commercialization;

* sustain a culture of peace and human rights; and

* adopt and pursue a peace policy and program.

"We encourage the City Government to pursue peace-building initiatives through the promotion of culture peace by integrating these themes in traditional festivals of the city especially the impending Kadayawan sa Davao festival in August. We also call on to other LGUs to draw information and information from Davao City's initiative that a non-militarist solution to the community-rebellion can be worthwhile endeavor for Mindanao LGUs, powered by a strong political will from the local chief executive," Sevilla said. (Jade C. Zaldivar)