PEACETALK: “No more waiting. Start implementing”

(Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza delivered an extemporaneous speech at the August 13, 2016 launch of the implementation phase of the GPH-MILF peace process under the Duterte Administration. Venue of the launch was the Unity Room 2 of the Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Copies of this piece, portions of which are similar to what he delivered, were distributed to the media by his staff).

We are pleased to be back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to launch a crucial phase of the Bangsamoro peace process — the implementing phase. We have agreed that the negotiations phase is over and now it is time to implement what we have agreed we will do. So today we are officially launching the implementing phase of the Bangsamoro peace agreements between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The Philippine government has come here in full force to demonstrate how serious we are in implementing all the peace agreements we have signed so far.

We have no less than the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, and the Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, here with us as a testament that this Congress is a strong partner for peace not just for the Bangsamoro and Mindanao, but for the entire Philippines. By being present on day one, we are assured that the executive and the legislative branches are both on the same page as we implement our peace agreements. These congressional leaders will also make sure that the Bangsamoro enabling law will be in sync with the proposed shift to a federal system of government. In fact, we are envisioning that the new Bangsamoro government entity can be the pilot of a federal state that embodies meaningful autonomy. With their support, we have no doubt we will see an early enactment of an inclusive Bangsamoro enabling law.

We also have key members of the President’s Cabinet today — Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. — to show how committed this administration is to implement all government programs using the peace lens so peace dividends can be felt on the ground immediately.

We are also inspired by the presence of the governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Gov. Mujiv Hataman, which signifies ARMM’s commitment to work for the convergence of all the Bangsamoro peace agreements to make it truly inclusive with no group or sector left behind.

This implementing phase of the Bangsamoro peace process also marks the transition of the role of the Malaysian government as Third Party Facilitator of the successful peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF towards that of a supporter of Bangsamoro development. This ceremony today is also a public recognition of the significant contribution of Malaysia to the Bangsamoro peace process. We sincerely thank them and invite them now to become one of our Global Partners for Peace, joining the rest of our international development partners here present.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the first ever Mindanawon president of the Philippines, has given us a clear directive — no more waiting, start implementing what can be done now while we are crafting a more inclusive enabling law. He also emphasized how it is important to make this implementing stage primarily an all-Filipino process consistent with the principles of self-determination and autonomy.

Because this government takes women seriously, the government implementing panel is being led by Ms. Irene “Inday” M. Santiago, who has been involved in the Bangsamoro peace process for almost 40 years. With her leadership, we are assured that it will be an inclusive and transparent and, I believe, very fast implementing process. She is joined in the panel by our OPAPP executive team — Undersecretary Diosita “Jojo” Andot, Undersecretary Nabil Tan, Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, and Assistant Secretary Rolando Asuncion.