Mindanao CSO Leaders hold Peace Summit

By Farida P. Dalandan

DAVAO City (February 18, 2014) – The Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) led by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCS) held a Mindanao CSO Leaders Peace Summit at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City on February 10-12, 2014

Sister Arnold Maria Noel, a Human Rights Defender based in Manila, said: “I thank President Aquino for making the peace process in Mindanao his priority, I also thank the peace panels for their patience, and I thank every single citizen here for all the efforts. If we will fail, we already have done our best.”

“Getting old does not stop us from our search for peace,” Terisita “Ging” Deles, Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said.

Deles admitted that last years of negotiations were so difficult but because of the determination of both parties they were able to sign the four annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

“Just be honest in the negotiations and don’t pretend that you know everything,” she said.

“Peace is very important not only for the Bangsamoro but for the whole country,” Deles added.

She commended the MILF for its hard work and bravery, and for being ready to present itself in the 2016 elections.

Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), told the participants of the Peace Summit to fast-track consultations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) so that the BTC can submit the draft to Congress by March 31.

“We accepted the challenge of the President to submit the draft BBL on March 31,” Iqbal, also a Chairman of the MILF Peace Panel in the GPH-MILF peace process, said.

He said that BTC is going to organize a special committee that will process the feedbacks and recommendations of the different groups that conducted consultations for consideration by the 15-member Commission during the drafting of the bill.