Sherel Quider, ICT staff member at PeaceBuilders Community, joins a peace rally which was organized by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, and was supported by the Davao Task Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 21 March 2013.

The Philippines is one of the least peaceful countries in the world according to the 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI).  This is primarily because of the internal civil conflicts we’re facing.  According to this latest GPI report, the Philippines ranked as 129th among the 162 countries that were included in the study.  Last year, we ranked as 133rd.  So, we may claim that we improved for a few notches.

If we’ll measure the improvement in our country’s creativity for peacebuilding programs, we’re 88th among 126 countries.

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) has been fighting two major political fronts: The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).



Challenged by the stalled peace process between the GPH and the NDFP, church leaders convened the formation of a Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), encouraging conflicting parties to resume peace talks.

The NDFP, along with their underground body, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and their armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) are advancing a nationalist revolution based on Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Thought. A few weeks ago, the GPH-NDFP Peace Talks were terminated. They mutually accuse each other of killing the negotiations. As a result, there has been an escalation of armed violence between the NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). At the time of this writing, the NPA abducted 5 AFP soldiers and killed 5 civilians in separate incidences in Mindanao.



A presentation from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Republic of the Philippines

Meanwhile, the MILF, along with their armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), have been advancing an armed struggle towards the attainment of their right-to-self-determination in accordance with Islamic values. In 2002, there were 698 armed encounters between the AFP and the BIAF. Then, they had agreed on a ceasefire and maintained it for the past 7 years. By September 2012, the armed encounters between them dropped to zero. Since President Benigno S. Aquino III and Chairman Murad Ibrahim signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), there was a significant change towards peace and order in Mindanao, especially among the Moro communities. In the last months, however, the GPH-MILF Peace Talks moved very slow, especially during the midterm election, and came into a stalemate. Last week, the MILF released a statement that they were not happy with the slow movement of the talks. They said that many of their base commanders were getting impatient and that some of their communities are losing confidence in the peace process.

GPH immediately responded that their peaceful negotiation with MILF is still a priority, and that they will not let the gains of the past and current negotiations be wasted.

We’re dreaming that the Philippines would be listed within the first 20 most peaceful countries in the world in the next few years.

We have lots of work to do yet to realize this dream.

And we’re filled with hope that this will come true!

Permanent link to this article:


We are sent by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with our international community.