Community participation underscored in GRP-MILF peace process

Members of the panel of reactors expressed the need for community participation in the peace process.

Dr. Marilou Nanaman of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) said the process “must have appropriate coordination with non-governmental organizations.”

The peace panels must “also recognize the inter-generational stakeholdership of peace,” Libyan Col. Giuma A. E. Maraash, team site leader of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), said.

Teduray Timuay Alim Bandara said Lumad leaders need to dialogue with the peace panel to express their position relating to the ancestral domain claim of the MILF.

“This dialogue will take place before the government and the MILF conclude their agreement next year,” he said, adding it is “important to institutionalize community participation to demystify that high-level discussion on peace process.”

In the peace process, “yes must be yes and no must be no,” Rev. Pastor Nap Lumapguid said.

“Double talk will not lead us to peace,” he stressed.

The MILF’s Eid Kabalu updated the participants on the developments of the peace talks.

Professor Abhoud Syed Lingga, executive director of the Cotabato City-based Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, discussed the right to self-determination of the Moro people based on existing laws and international instruments.

“The core issue in the right to self-determination is determination of Moro peoples’ political status that should be subjected to referendum,” he said.

Lingga said that for referendum to be participatory and democratic, it should be preceded by lengthy political debate and dialogue within the communities to ensure that citizens are aware of what the options are, to be fully informed of the implications and are as ready as possible to vote in a referendum.

He said that there is no other alternative to violence but referendum. “We can’t allow war to happen again. We are all tired of it,” he stressed.

“When we negotiate, we need to open new horizons. We need to have an accommodating attitude. It may take a long process, but this is better than taking war,” he said. (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)

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