We extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Malaysian Government for the vital contribution in peacekeeping in the Southern Philippines through facilitation of the peace talks and being the largest contingent in the International Monitoring Team (IMT). Since GRP-MILF peace talks started in 1997 and Malaysia led the IMT in early 2000, the number of armed incidents between the government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have dramatically decreased from an estimated 700 incidents to less than 20. Violence that affects communities have been minimized. The monitors have instituted confidence-building measures such as ceasefire mechanisms and joint military actions between the GRP and MILF, opened lines of communication between the GRP and MILF and helped bridged differences by backroom channeling.
The IMT has acknowledged and involved local communities in peacekeeping thus empowering these local stakeholders to sustain a peace environment. The harmonious working relations among the IMT, Military and local Bantay Ceasefire groups has tremendous impact in stabilizing security in the Southern region.
We acknowledge the significant and even leadership role of Malaysia in promoting peace, democratization and stability in the region. As lead convenor of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus for Good Governance, Malaysia plays a key role in steering the region towards fulfilling human development goals. As Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said as an overarching principles for the ASEAN Community,“there should be a universal acceptance that community interests would prevail over national interests on issues affecting the community and that ASEAN has to do better in giving national effect to wider international treaties and conventions, including ASEAN treaties and agreements by putting in place capacities for enforcing community decisions.”
Malaysia ’s commitment to the Southern peace process in the Philippines , drawing attention to one of the longest conflicts in the region, is a great act of statesmanship and must be lauded.
It is thus imperative that foreign monitors stay to keep the peace. They ensure that any gains in the peace process can be complied with and even sustained with support from the donor community.
At a time of national crisis in dealing with the rice shortage, our communities are in urgent need of external support from our Malaysian brothers/sisters to maintain an atmosphere of security in the South. Civil society groups in the South are ONE WITH YOU in the quest for peace and stability. We believe that it is our MORAL and COLLECTIVE responsibility to address and even respond to the persistent call for social justice by our brethren in the South. Let our historic bonds of Malay solidarity and friendship strengthen our resolve to forge a community of peace in the ASEAN.
We thus appeal to the Malaysian Government to reconsider its decision to PULL-OUT the Malaysian troops in the IMT that have successfully maintained a stabilizing presence in the South.
(Should you want to endorse this statement, email your full name and organization's name to "imt-appeal at iidnet.org")
1. Ed Garcia, International Alert
2. Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, AKBAYAN
3. Rep. Mujiv Hataman. ANAK Mindanao
4. Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Liberal Party
5. Former Rep. Mario Aguja, Professor, Mindanao State University-General Santos
6. Former Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales, Asian Parliamentarian
7. Teresita Quintos-Deles, INCITEGov
8. Prof. Roland Simbulan, University of the Philippines
9. Gus Miclat, Initiatives for International Dialogue
10. Teresita Ang See, Citizen’s Action Against Crime
11. Guiamel Alim, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
12. Yasmin Busran-Lao, Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro
13. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Sulong CARHRIL
14. Karen Tanada, Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute
15. Raissa Jajurie, SALIGAN Mindanao
16. Jennifer Santiago-Oreta, Ateneo De Manila University
17. Cesar Villanueva, Pax Christi Pilipinas
18. Byron Bocar, AKBAYAN
19. Saleh Ampaso Bucay, Secretary General, Federation of Maranao Associations in Saudi (FEMAS)
20. Amina Rasul, Convenor, Phil. Council for Islam and Democracy
21. Prof. Muner Bajunaid, Project Coordinator, EMPOWERING THE ULAMA; Former Chancellor, Mindanao State University-General Santos
22. Sixdon Macasaet, CODE-NGO
23. Emily Marohombsar, Former President, Mindanao State University System; GRP Panel Member, GRP MILF Talks