Results of Peace Consultations to be consolidated

DAVAO CITY (MinadNews/13 June) – Several groups aside from Konsult Mindanaw and Dialogue Mindanaw have been conducting consultations on the peace processes in Mindanao and it would be good to consolidate the findings, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, team leader of Dialogue Mindanaw and Konsult Mindanaw, said.

Alejo told the Peace Forum for a Sustained Partnership at the Grand Regal Hotel here last Friday that they have had initial discussions with the groups that also conducted peace consultations – MPW, AFRIM, MPC (Mindanao PeaceWeavers, Alternative Forum for Research inMindanao and Mindanao Peoples Caucus), among others, “so that we can have a consensus.”

He said they have named themselves into the Coalition of Consultation Intitiatives whose purpose is to discuss and share results “para magkaroon ng consensus, para may lilitaw at lilitaw na same results na di matanggi” (to come up with a consensus, so that what will surface will be the same results that cannot b be questioned).

The Bishops-Ulama Conference, which initiated Konsult Mindanaw, presented to President Arroyo on October 29, 2009 the ”final results” of Konsult Mindanaw’s community consultations on the peace process.

“One of the important results of the region-wide consultations and dialogues is that the process, which involved more than 5,000 respondents in eight regional centers, has caused the emergence of a collective consciousness on the part of the large number of Mindanawons,” Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla said in a statement.

“Yes to peace talks, No to war” was among the key findings of Konsult Mindanaw.

In response, Presdient Arroyo said, “we are hopeful that the formal resumption of the GRP-MILF Peace Talks is imminent. I have already directed (GRP peace panel chair) Ambassador (Rafael) Seguis to conduct massive consultations and dialogues with our people, especially in Mindanao. I am very glad of the output of your consultations so that what he brings to the negotiations will be truly reflective of the people’s will.”

The aim of the consultations was to ensure “greater participation of the greater number of stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process.”

Four questions were asked on peace, one of which was specific as to the GRP-MILF peace process.

According to the Powerpoint presentation of Konsult Mindanaw, the findings pertaining specifically to the GRP-MILF peace process, are:
– Although many participants express their lack of sufficient information on the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain), the peace talks between the government and the armed groups are very much alive in the mind of the people.
– People want the peace talks to continue and to be in Mindanao.
– Peace panels should be seen as really concerned with the plight of those affected by the conflict.
– People are confused on the diverging views and actions of offices of the government in dealing with conflict and rebellion. Peace panels take an approach, military has another track, and only to be junked by the higher authority.
– On the same note, people get confused on the position of the different Moro groups and their supporters. People are not clear on the positions of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), MILF, and other groups and personalities.
— People are searching for sincerity as expressed in consistency and coherence of actions from all parties.

Dialogue Mindanaw, initiated by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) focused on the GRP-MILF issues, and were held in January and February this year, almost a year since the Konsult Mindanaw consultations.

Dialogue Mindanaw, which used reflective dialogue and a poll survey found that “people could not make informed choices and are confused about the issues” because of their “lack of awareness and understanding” of the issues in the peace talks between the government and the MILF. (MindaNews)