MILF RECOGNIZES PBCI FOR OUR “UNWAVERING SUPPORT TO THE BANGSAMORO PEACE PROCESS”

Last Wednesday, 27 March 2024, our team at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) participated in the 10th Year Commemoration of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) at Camp Darapanan, the Administrative Offices of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF presented a Plaque of Appreciation to PBCI in recognition of our “unwavering support to the Bangsamoro Peace Process” and for our “tireless efforts to promote peace and development in Mindanao.” Our President & CEO, L. Daniel ‘Lakan’ Pantoja, received the plaque on behalf of our community. The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is a peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), aimed at ending decades of conflict in the Bangsamoro region.

Our journey as PBCI in the Mindanao Peace Process

Conflict Transformation. Established upon the bedrock of justice-based peacebuilding and the reconciling power of conflict transformation, the PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) is deeply appreciative of the opportunity to play a modest yet significant role in the Bangsamoro Peace Process. Our journey alongside our fellow peace advocates in Mindanao and across the nation has been marked by a shared commitment to pooling our energies, time, and limited resources to bridge divides, nurture dialogue, and cultivate trust among conflicting factions.

Through grassroots initiatives that resonate with the aspirations of local communities, capacity-building programs that empower individuals and groups to become agents of change, and relentless advocacy efforts aimed at fostering understanding and empathy, PBCI has emerged as a vital contributor to the ongoing quest for lasting peace and stability in the region.

“Each endeavor undertaken by PeaceBuilders Community,” said Hashim B. Manticayan, Chairman of the League of Bangsamoro Organizations, “is a testament to their unwavering dedication to fostering a culture of peace, one that is built upon a foundation of mutual respect, justice, and inclusivity.”

Dialogue, Healing, and Transformation. At the heart of PBCI’s approach is the belief in the power of dialogue and reconciliation to heal wounds and transform communities. By facilitating dialogues between conflicting groups, promoting interfaith understanding, and advocating for inclusive peace processes, we helped lay the groundwork for lasting peace in the Bangsamoro. One of the key contributions of PBCI to the peace process has been its emphasis on grassroots empowerment and community engagement. Recognizing that sustainable peace can only be achieved through the participation and ownership of local communities, we continue to work closely with grassroots organizations, civil society groups, and religious leaders to help amplify their voices and address the root causes of conflict.

Social Entrepreneurial Initiatives. Moreover, PBCI has been instrumental in promoting economic development and social justice in the Bangsamoro region. Through our social entrepreneurial programs, skills training initiatives, and advocacy for equitable resource distribution, we helped enhance the inherent powers of communities to build sustainable livelihoods and improve their quality of life, thereby addressing the underlying grievances that fuel the conflict.

Policy Advocacy. In addition to our on-the-ground efforts, we have also been actively engaged in advocacy and policy dialogue at the national and international levels. By raising awareness about the root causes of conflict in the Bangsamoro, advocating for inclusive peace processes, and mobilizing support for peacebuilding initiatives, PBCI has helped garner political will and international solidarity for the peace process.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)

What exactly is the CAB, and why does it matter?

The CAB represents a groundbreaking peace accord between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a group that has long sought autonomy for the predominantly Muslim Moro people. At its core, the agreement outlines a roadmap toward resolving conflicts and granting the Bangsamoro region greater autonomy while remaining part of the Philippines.

As a small peacebuilding community, our journey toward the CAB was no easy feat. It was a path marked by perseverance and resilience, beginning with negotiations in 1997 and enduring through setbacks and violence. PBCI’s key contribution was to help most leaders of the Christian churches in the Philippines to see CAB and the Bangsamoro Peace Process from a social-ethical and theological perspectives.

We are also a witness to the pivotal role played by the Malaysian government as a facilitator. Their contribution cannot be overstated; their involvement kept the dialogue alive amid turbulent times.

Finally, in 2012, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro laid the groundwork, leading to the comprehensive accord two years later. The CAB carries immense significance for the Philippines, symbolizing a critical step towards ending a protracted conflict that has exacted a heavy toll in lives lost and communities displaced. By granting the Bangsamoro region a measure of self-governance while maintaining its ties to the Philippines, the agreement sets the stage for economic development, improved living conditions, and a more peaceful future for its people.

Despite challenges in its implementation, the 10th anniversary of the CAB underscores the unwavering commitment to peace shared by both the Philippine government and the MILF.

We, at PBCI, are intensifying our commitment and strategic actions to see the realization of a sustainable, positive peace in Mindanao, in collaboration with our peace network,

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2024/03/31/milf-recognizes-pbci-for-our-unwavering-support-to-the-bangsamoro-peace-process/

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