COTABATO City (December 19, 2015)—Three members of the national executive officers of United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) namely Tu Alid Alfonso, Ustadz Yusoph Lumambas and Dats Magon briefed visitors from Myanmar on the organization’s role in grass roots ceasefire monitoring held at Alnor Hotel in Cotabato City on December 16, 2015.
Myanmar visitors were members of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), a structure created for the nationwide ceasefire agreement.
Magon, the UNYPAD Deputy Secretary-General shared Bantay Ceasefire’s history of evolution and its activities based on available resources from the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC) website that led and supervise this civilian monitoring task.
Magon said that UNYPAD is one of the most active member-organizations of the MPC that dispatched many field volunteers in Maguindanao and North Cotabato areas.
Magon also clarified that their sharing will only be limited to UNYPAD experiences due to lack of authority to speak in behalf of the whole Bantay Ceasefire as it is under the capacity of MPC.
Before sharing his experience, Alfonso explained that Bantay Ceasefire is composed of tri-people volunteers from Moro, Settlers and Indigenous Peoples.
“We are non-partisan and impartial that’s why we are acceptable to both BIAF and AFP… We documented any violations regardless of whoever commits them and submitted to formal mechanisms,” said Alfonso.
“We always side with the civilians… Because their security and safety is our primary concern”, he added.
“One reason why UNYPAD have so many volunteers is because we are peoples’ organization having many members in the conflict affected areas that are committed to peace”, he stressed.
Lumambas told the participants that through their activities they started building confidence among different stakeholders in the area. It also added to credibility of UNYPAD in conflict monitoring.
“These perhaps are among the reasons why we are recommended to be part of the Third Party Monitoring Team,” he pointed out.
The JNC members composed of military, civilian, religious sector tour in Cotabato was organized by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), an INGO based in Cambodia. The delegation was headed by Elizabeth Padilla and Neri Ronatay. (UNYPAD News)