Peace and security summit for Mindanao only

But “declaration on peace and security” was presented to President Arroyo from the workshops attended mostly by government participants.


We have to await orders,” National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said when MindaNews asked him when the Visayas and Luzon summits would be held. Later, he acknowledged the summit was for Mindanao only because “Mindanao is special.” He did not elaborate. He merely smiled.

Military division commanders and regional police chiefs around Mindanao were present at the Pryce Plaza hotel.

The Summit had a token participation from the non-government sector. From a guest list of 239 participants , only 11 were invited — two from the religious sector, a Catholic archbishop and a Protestant pastor; two from the business sector; two from the academe and five from non-governmental organizations.

Curiously, the Commission on Human Rights, a vital agency that would ensure the protection of human rights in the implementation of the Human Security Act, was not in the list of invited agencies. In contrast, the National Security Council listed a 41-person secretariat.

Gonzales did not show up to deliver his keynote address last Monday morning. He didn’t also show up during the workshops Monday afternoon and during the presentations on Tuesday morning.

May sakit ako eh,” (I was sick), he told MindaNews after the summit Tuesday.

Conference participants were divided into five groups for the workshops: Upholding Hman Rights and the Rule of Law; Culture of Peace; Denying Support to Terrorists; Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Drive; and Enhancing Crisis Management Structures and Institutions.

The Summit here comes a week before the Supreme Court’s multisectoral summit on extra-judicial killings. The Supreme Court plan was announced on June 23. The Mindanao Peace and Security Summit’s invitation to participants was dated July 3.