DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 February)– A Davao City-based regional civil society activist has been elected as the first chairperson of the newly-established regional network of democracy advocates called East Asia Democracy Forum (EADF) during its founding meeting in Taipei this week.
EADF chair Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) said the EADF seeks to “promote democracy through regional cooperation and mutual support to consolidate hard-won democratic progress, prevent democratic regression and resist encroachment by authoritarian forces.”
Members of the EADF include civil society organizations, democracy promotion organizations, and individuals committed to the cause of democracy in Asia.
EADF is a founding partner of the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) of which Miclat is also a Steering Committee member.
Miclat has been involved in international solidarity, democracy and peace building work since the early 1990’s after a long stint with activism under the Marcos dictatorship.
Miclat led an Asia-Pacific wide coalition supporting the self-determination of then East Timor, which eventually gained its independence in 2000.
A press release from the IID said Miclat helped trail blaze peace building work in Mindanao after the all-out war waged by then President Joseph Estrada against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2000. The IID established networks of grassroots, communities, civil society, NGOs and individuals such as the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW), Friends of the Bangsamoro (FoBM) and All-Out Peace (AOP) that have been engaging the peace process between the government and the Moro fronts.
IID and MPC created the seminal Bantay Ceasefire (Ceasefire Watch) network that sought to independently monitor the implementation of the ceasefire between the government and the MILF.
IID continues to engage peace processes not only in the Philippines, but also in Burma (Myanmar) and South Thailand. It also conducts campaigns and lobby work among policy circles and entities at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its governments on issues of peace and security, democracy and human rights.
Miclat, together with partners from the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) recently met with leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in its offices in Utrecht, The Netherlands to listen to their perspectives and concerns regarding their own stalled negotiations with the government. Miclat was attending a course on mediation at The Hague then. (MindaNews)