Press Clip Source: PIA - Philippine Information Agency 
Date: March 10, 2016
Read original article: Here

 

Peace advocates and civil society organization leaders are giving major recognition to the important role that women play in transforming conflict-affected areas back into productive communities and in sustaining the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process to ensure its continuation in the next Administration despite the 16th Congress’ failure to enact the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“To hold the peace together requires great effort, work, and coordination. I must stress that it takes a community working together to achieve that,” Xarifa Lao-Sanguila, National Civilian Protection Monitor of Nonviolent Peaceforce, said in a forum on women’s role in the peace process held at Miriam College Monday, March 7.

 

Sanguila said that women have proven to be good in conducting the series of listening workshops for the Bangsamoro communities that provide peaceful platforms for reflective expressions of their anger and frustrations due to the non-passage of the BBL.

Gaston Z. Ortigas (GZO) Peace Institute Executive Director Karen Tañada also encouraged active women’s participation in the peace process and uphold the signed peace agreements between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF.

“We have to see the gains of the peace negotiations. We have the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that guarantees all human rights including women's rights of meaningful political participation,” Tañada said. “It takes a village to complete a nation and women to complete one. To sustain the peace gains at the time of no BBL, we have to build a path forward to help the next administration hit the ground running.”

She added that the reaffirmation of both peace panels and other stakeholders to their commitment in pursuing the peace process despite its uncertainty were vital in stabilizing the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

“The women in Mindanao have their own gains in the GPH-MILF peace process. There are no more wars and a chance for development [for their families and children],” Tañada said.

Meanwhile, GPH peace panel chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer emphasized that the success of the peace negotiations with the MILF that resulted in the signing of the CAB and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), were not only out of patience and understanding of the two sides but also of the collective effort of various stakeholders especially women.

“We celebrate the women's month not as observers or mere recipients of initiatives but as active partners in the peace process. The peace gains were the product of many efforts of so many committed women,” Ferrer said. “Relative peace had enabled the women in the Bangsamoro core territories to organize themselves. We have new and thriving women's organizations in the conflict-affected areas. These are the products of sustained peace and relative stability in the region.”

New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI) have hailed both Ferrer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles as ideal women peacemakers for their key roles in the government peace talks with the MILF and Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (NDF).

Deles is the country’s first woman presidential peace adviser while Ferrer is the first female chief negotiator in the world to sign a major peace agreement. The CAB itself is a landmark document signed by three women signatories – one-half of the 6-person GPH negotiating team, and about one-fourth of the total number of signatories. (OPAPP)

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