Ria Rose Uro, special to InterAksyon.com
PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines — Government peace negotiators have embarked on a series of consultations with local government leaders in Western Mindanao to solicit their views on peace negotiations with Moro rebels, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said.
The meetings with local government executives kick off Monday in Basilan, followed by Sulu on Wednesday.
In a news release, OPAPP said the series of consultations seeks to raise awareness and “engage them in the peace process discourse,” make the negotiations transparent to the public and inclusive of the voices of various constituencies.
The western Mindanao consultations will be the second conducted by the government panel with local government leaders. Last April, it had a similar exercise in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.
OPAPP said more consultations with officials in other Mindanao provinces are planned in the upcoming weeks.
Earlier, Leonen said the government panel has undertaken a total of 24 consultations with various sectors, such as academe, indigenous peoples, government officials, civil society groups, media and the military.
Leonen added government is committed to holding more such interactions as they are set to craft a counter-proposal to the MILF’s proposed political settlement, which was formally laid on the negotiating table during the February exploratory talks.
The peace panels of both parties are set to meet again on June 27-28.
The consultations with local government executives come a week after the peace panel of the MILF held a series of forums with civil society, the academe, indigenous peoples and religious sectors in Zamboanga and Pagadian cities to explain the content of their proposed peace formula.
Before this, the MILF also consulted various sectors in Metro Manila.
Expected to join Leonen in the consultation series are panel members Senen Bacani, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Ramon Piang Sr., and consultant Hamid Barra.
Meanwhile, the Makati Business Club “highly commend(s) the efforts of the Mindanao Business Council and its partners in creating avenues for multisectoral stakeholders’ discussions concerning the Mindanao peace talks.”
Last week, the MinBC, headed by Davao city-based businessman Vicente Lao, partnered with the Asian Institute of Management and the nongovernmental International Alert to organize a dialogue between the MILF peace panel and business leaders.
“We hope that the Philippine government and the MILF will soon be able to arrive at a sound resolution of the issues standing in the way of attaining long-lasting peace and prosperity in the conflict-ridden areas of Mindanao,” read the MBC statement posted on its website.
However, the MBC clarified that it did not consider the AIM dialogue “official.”
- [In the news] MILF says Moro sub-state no threat to IP rights – Interaksyon.com (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [In the news] GPH panel to consult LGUs on peace talks with MILF-opapp.gov.ph (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [In the news] Gov’t to submit draft Mindanao peace plan within 2 months – Interaksyon.com (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [From the web] Peace groups to GPH-MILF panels: “Negotiate A Political Settlement Now!” – www.mpc.org.ph (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [Press release] Government Negotiator Marvic Leonen Welcomes MILF Peace Panel Dialogues with non-Moro Civil Society; Hopes that the Discourse Will Reach Manila – (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Challenges Ahead in the Philippine Government’s Conflict Management of Moro and Communist Insurgents (jedayang.wordpress.com)
- Conflict-Management Approach to Moro and Communist Insurgency Threats in the Philippines (jedayang.wordpress.com)