6th Mindanao Media Summit to tackle peace process with MILF

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/4 Nov) – Updates on and prospects for the peace negotiation between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will take center stage during the three-day 6th Mindanao Media Summit at the Garden Oases Hotel here which begins Friday.

GRP peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and his counterpart in the MILF, Mohagher Iqbal, have been invited to speak in the forum together with other government officials and leaders of civil society groups, the Mindanao Media Forum (MMF), the Summit organizer, said.

Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, will deliver a keynote address at the opening ceremonies, MMF added.

In addition, Maj. Gen. Datuk Baharom bin Hamzah and Steven Rood will talk about the International Monitoring Team and the International Contact Group, respectively, as mechanisms of the peace talks.

Hamzah heads the IMT which monitors the compliance of the Philippine government and the MILF with the ceasefire agreement forged in 2003, while Rood is country representative of The Asia Foundation, an ICG member.

President Aquino was invited to deliver a message on the last day of the Summit but declined owing to “prior commitments”.

Talks between the GRP and the MILF bogged down in 2008, after the Supreme Court stopped the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. MILF fighters attacked Kolambugan and Kauswagan towns in Lanao del Norte shortly after the SC decision.

US presence in Mindanao will also be put under close scrutiny in an input to be delivered by Frencie Carreon, who is taking up doctoral studies in peace journalism at the University of Sydney Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Luz Rimban and Yvonne Chua, both of VERA files, will discuss the topics “social media for journalists” and “media ethics, safety and security”.

Rowena Paraan, executive director of the Media Safety Program of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines will present an update on the Ampatuan Massacre case which turns one year on Nov. 23.

The Summit aims to gather editors, radio and television station managers and other senior journalists in Mindanao. It started in 2002, to discuss the problems confronting Mindanao’s media and to propose solutions, given the national media’s perceived arrogance in deciding what is and is not news in Mindanao.

Its theme was “Ito ba ang pangyayaring nagaganap sa Lupang Ipinangako” (Is this really what’s happening in the Land of Promise?).

This year’s Summit has the theme “Mindanao 2020: Moving Forward.”

“It (theme) reflects our desire to harness our strength to rise up to the challenge of ‘a media that is responsible and able to police its own ranks’,” the MMF said.

The major sponsors of the Summit are The Asia Foundation, Embassy of Canada, Aboitiz Power, Bounty Fresh, Coca Cola Phils, Cocoplans, and OPAPP. (MindaNews)

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