All-women corps in Civilian Protection Component launched soon

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 September) — An all-women contingent of the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the International Monitoring Team will be launched in Aleosan town, North Cotabato on October 4.

The launching comes ten years after the adoption of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 which acknowledges the importance of the participation of women and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peacebuilding and governance.

The launching of the all-women CPC corps is being organized by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC). Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles will deliver the keynote address while IMT head of mission, B/Gen Datuk Baharom Bin Hamza, will talk about the Background and Tasks of the CPC-IMT.

“Considering MPC’s strong resolve to operationalize UNSC 1325 in our civilian protection work, we have decided to deploy an all-women contingent in the CPC who will be deployed in at least five field sites in Aleosan, North Cotabato, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Davao,” Analiza Ugay, MPC-CPC coordinator, said in a press statement.

Ugay said the all-women CPC corps shall employ practical strategies for overcoming the challenges of  women getting involved in humanitarian work, as well as women’s contribution to peace talks and their outcomes.

“The hope is that they will operate in their respective areas better placed to contribute to resolving conflict,” said Ugay.

At the launch, the MPC will bring together some 50 women who have worked at the forefront of the peace process  in Mindanao, either as mediators, members of negotiating teams, advisers to peace processes or peace advocates.

lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, MPC secretary-general, said that since the issuance of the UNSC 1325, the battlecry among women advocates had always been “operationalization.”

“How to get this resolution from the most powerful organ of the United Nations operationalized and fully implemented at various levels of peace and security processes be it in the peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, ceasefire monitoring, etc. had constantly challenged our peace advocacy work.  MPC’s decision to deploy an all-women contingent in the Civilian Protection Component of the International Monitoring Team is its humble contribution in the global effort to operationalize UNSC1325. We cannot allow mere lip service or tokenism for this particular international commitment. MPC’s all women contingent in the CPC is meant to send a strong message that we seriously mean business with 1325,” she said.

The government peace panel that will negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is headed by University of the Philippines College of Law dean Marvic Leonen. Leonen’s five-member panel has one female member – UP Political Science professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. The MILF’s five-member peace panel is an all-male panel but the MILF announced they would have an advisory council that will have women representatives.

Members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, the Joint  Cordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, Armed Forces of the Philippines, women’s groups, donors and local government executives under the leadership of Governor Lala Taliño-Santos, are expected to grace the launching.

“The launching comes at a key time in the Mindanao peace process, in which women must  play critical roles. Last year, the Philippine government launched its National Action Plan on UNSC Resolution 1325.  The launching shall be an opportunity for Mindanao women to share their own experiences as well as successes in providing mediation strategies in several conflict situations,” the press statement said.

The launch will also contribute to networking among women active in peacemaking which is part of MPC’s wider project, Women in Peacebuilding (WiP).

WiP seeks to “bring together women mediators, conflict parties, negotiators and advisers in Mindanao to identify and employ strategies for improving women’s participation in the peace process, and gender content in peace agreements and outcomes. The project is being funded by the European Union through the Instrument for Stability fund.”

UNSC 1325 was unanimously adopted in October 2000. It is a landmark legal and political framework that calls for participation of women at all levels of decision-making, including in “national, regional and international institutions; mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict; peace negotiations; peace operations, as soldiers, police and civilians; and as Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General.” (MindaNews)