Indon envoy, peace negotiators due for ancestral domain forum

Ambassador Sastrohandoyo Wiryono will keynote the Kusog Mindanaw roundtable conference entitled "Mindanawons Speak Up: A Stakeholders Conference on the Ancestral Domain Issue of the GRP-MILF peace talks."


Datu Michael Mastura,MILF peace panel member, and Prof. Rudy Rodil, member of the GRP peace panel, will give updates on the peace talks.


Talaandig tribe leader Datu Victorino Saway will present the indigenous people's views and perspectives on the ancestral domain strand of the GRP-MILF peace process.


The forum came days after the GRP panel sought for an extension of the deadline in submitting its proposal on the ancestral domain strand of the negotiations to Nov. 15.


Representatives from the business community, non-government organizations, religious groups, local government officials, legislators and the women sector are expected to give further discussion.


Expected among the members of the panel of reactors, presenters, and discussants are Romeo Serra, Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) chair; Archbishop Fernando Capalla, co-chair of the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC); South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, chairperson of the Confederation of Governors, Municipal and City Mayors of Mindanao (Confed-Mindanao); and the Mindanao Peace Weavers.


Margie Moran Floirendo, chair of Mothers for Peace, is also expected to attend.


At the end of the forum, participants will have a consensus-building workshop en route for the drafting of the Kusog Mindanao position paper, resolutions and action plan.


"It is clear that all Mindanawons desire peace and development more than anything else. While we collectively dream of such, the process, however, of forging a GRP-MILF peace agreement has been stalled, particularly on the discussion on ancestral domain," said a Kusog Mindanao statement issued today.


"This stalemate has caused concerns and worries among stakeholders of Mindanao on the reasons why and where the negotiations bogged down," it added.


The organizers cited that in the clamor for resumption of talks, there is a call for more transparency in the peace process and greater participation of Mindanao stakeholders.


The group also cited the need for greater understanding of the full range of the ancestral domain issue and its implications to Mindanao and the country.


The forum, organizers said, is part of the run up for the Mindanao Week of Peace later this month. The ancestral domain forum came almost two months after the Sept. 6-7 exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur. The impasse in the peace talks has never since been broken.