Friday, April 12, 2013

Inclusivity, whole-of-government approach among the positive features of GPH-MILF peace process, says Deles

Inclusivity, whole-of-government approach among the positive features of GPH-MILF peace process, says Deles

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Posted on Friday, 12 April, 2013 - 17:11
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Thursday underscored inclusivity and whole-of-government approach as among the positive characteristics of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We on the side of the government assure that there would be not only gender representation but also intergeneration and other representation (in the peace process),” she said in her speech during the Second Conference on Mediation held recently in Istanbul.

The two-day mediation conference, where Deles was invited to share the current gains of the Philippine peace process, served as a venue for mediation actors from various states, regional organizations, non-government organizations, academe sector, and the United Nations to discuss ways on how to peacefully resolve armed conflicts in Middle East countries.

The peace adviser said that the Philippine government ensures gender, ethnic and generational balance particularly in the newly-formed Transition Commission which has been mandated to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will pave the way for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro region.

Women’s involvement

On women’s involvement in the peace process, Deles related the “unprecedented levels of women’s participation that is in fact happening in the Philippines’ peace process.”
“For the first time, the government panel is headed by a woman when the original panel chair was appointed to the Supreme Court. There are two women out of the five members of the government panel. The head of the legal panel and the head of the secretariat are women, all fall under the age of 35,” stated Deles who was the only woman panelist in the conference.

"It has been remarked to me by several women that it looks like I’m the only woman in this whole forum that is speaking."

“Out of the four technical working groups that worked on the annexes, three are women and increasingly, there have been women also now with the MILF and in the Transition Commission,” she added.

She also said that the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), which both parties signed last October 2012, adopts a gender-sensitive approach.
“It actually has a very exclusive provision for women’s political rights in the Bangsamoro and it identifies women’s rights as well as those of children, and that is placed in any post conflict development program,” she stated. “Women’s voices need to be heard.”

Work of entire gov’t

Deles said that the four annexes which, together with the FAB, form part of the yet to be signed comprehensive agreement, “is actually a work of the entire government.”
The annexes on normalization, power-sharing, and wealth-sharing are in the process of completion by the GPH and the MILF peace panels who recently met in Kuala Lumpur to resume discussions on remaining unresolved issues. The annex on transitional arrangements and modalities has already been signed by the parties last February.

Deles related that various government agencies have been involved in the crafting of the annexes “because the President wants to make sure that anything that we commit in the annexation is going to be supported by everyone in the government.”

“The point is that when we actually commit to something, we know that it is something that is going to be delivered and that the whole of government may be able to stand behind,” she stressed.

Acknowledging the “long road ahead,” Deles said that the government remains hopeful “as we struggle through completing the annexes and putting the new bodies in place.”
“The demonstration is there and the parties are committed to the process and that increasingly more and more of our people are coming aboard and seeing why in the end, this is something that what we have to do and it is something that will be good not just for the Bangsamoro, not just for Mindanao, but also for the entire country.”