We are women united for just and durable peace

Statement of the United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women)
8 July 2013, Cotabato City 

We ask, how long? Nearly nine months has passed since the historical and hyped signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the GPH and MILF, six months since the deadline for the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement, and for four months now we are still earnestly waiting for the next Annex to be signed. Clearly, the peace process is not progressing according to the road map offered to us the previous year.

We ask, how much more? Three more years before President Benigno Aquino III steps down his office but the process in building the Bangsamoro Government is still twelve steps short. The steps include undeniably long and arduous procedures on deliberation and ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Clearly, the time constraint may affect the efficient transformation of a war-torn region.

We already know how to get there. The road map in claiming peace and building a new autonomous political entity had been laid down. But the current impasse obscures our vision of where we are going to and what to anticipate.

And to get there, we need progress, not hastiness.  We know the urgency of signing the prerequisite documents before the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law but we also recognize the importance of substantive consultations and elucidation of the issues given due diligence. We also recognize the importance of proper and sufficient transition period before the 2016 elections and reverting to ARMM is not even an alternative if it is a failed experiment.

We, the women in the Bangsamoro proposed core territory, are reclaiming our linkage in this momentous and crucial moment in peace and nation building. We are unwavering in our support to the peace process and in our responsibility in unifying a constituency with divergent perspectives. But we are also invoking the accountability of both the GPH and MILF Peace Panels in enlightening and attending to a restive constituency.

We need the immediate signing of the comprehensive peace agreement. But we also need just and durable peace. Peace that recognizes the diversity of the region. Peace that is resolute in resolving injustices and human rights violations. Peace that is emanating from the grassroots communities. And peace that works for women and their children.
– United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women)