Last Tuesday, 18 June 2024, we participated in the Principles for Peace Constituency Convening held in Davao City, marking a significant step forward in the ongoing Bangsamoro Peace Process. This crucial event, organized by a dedicated body committed to peace—Initiatives for International Dialogue, InciteGov, GZO, Principles for Peace—brought together key stakeholders whose insights and commitment are essential for formulating future strategies and initiatives. As PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), we joined a diverse array of attendees, members of civil society organizations, and leaders from various sectors involved in the peace process. The event underscored our dedication, along with that of other organizations, to fostering collaboration and dialogue among all stakeholders. We believe that the collective wisdom and dedication of our partners are indispensable in advancing the Bangsamoro Peace Process. This convening provided an opportunity for us to align our strategies and reinforce our commitment to lasting peace in the region.

As civil society organizations (CSOs), we see our involvement in the peace process in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as crucial. Among these efforts, we, at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), are committed to supporting both the National Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in upholding their commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). Here, we humbly share our contributions, alongside those of other CSOs, in fostering peace and development in the region, especially as the 2025 BARMM election approaches.

Monitoring and Advocacy. One of our key roles includes being active observers of the implementation of peace agreements. We carefully monitor BARMM legislation and policies to ensure they align with the CAB and BOL. In this way, we strive to hold both the government and the MILF accountable, advocating for the timely realization of CAB deliverables and a smooth transition towards sustainable governance. Our vigilance is particularly critical as the region prepares for the 2025 BARMM election, a significant milestone in the peace process.

Promoting Inclusive Participation. We are dedicated to promoting the active involvement of marginalized groups in the peace process, particularly women and non-Moro indigenous peoples. Our efforts aim to ensure that these groups have a voice in decision-making processes and that their rights are respected. We believe this inclusive approach is essential for building a lasting peace that benefits all sectors of society.

Economic Development and Poverty Reduction. We understand that economic stability is a cornerstone of peace. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as engines of job creation and economic growth. By advocating for laws that favor MSMEs over large corporations, we aim to create a more equitable economic landscape. Furthermore, we support social enterprises that contribute to poverty reduction, providing sustainable livelihoods for the region’s most vulnerable populations.

Voter Education and Political Engagement. In anticipation of the 2025 BARMM election, we are focusing on voter education. We highlight the importance of understanding electoral dynamics and maintaining integrity in the voting process. By proposing the integration of voter education into lifelong political education, we link this initiative with livelihood training to reduce vulnerability and empower citizens. This holistic approach ensures that voters are well-informed and actively engaged in the political process.

Building Consensus and Collaboration. We believe that consensus-building among stakeholders is crucial for the peace process to be successful. We recognize the need for agreement on critical issues, such as the extension of the transition period and other key decisions affecting the BARMM. Collaboration between CSOs, the government, and other stakeholders is essential for sustainable peacebuilding. Through dialogue and cooperation, we can address challenges and work towards common goals.

Engagement with Principal Actors. We call for deeper engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders, including the so-called BARMM ‘oppositions-of-the-day.’ By facilitating dialogues and preventing outbreaks of violence, we help maintain a stable and peaceful environment. Engaging specific groups, such as women and non-Moro indigenous peoples, ensures that their rights are respected and their voices are heard. It is imperative for the MILF, the national government, and all stakeholders to remain committed to the CAB framework. A thorough understanding of other relevant frameworks, such as the Rights to Self-Determination (RTD) and Transitional Justice, is also essential, as they are foundational to peace in the Bangsamoro.

Despite our efforts, we face numerous challenges. Power dynamics and the influence of legal frameworks, such as local government codes that may conflict with the CAB, pose obstacles to our work. There is a pressing need for clarity regarding roles and responsibilities within the BARMM governance structure. Addressing these issues is critical for the continued success of the peace process.

At PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), we are grateful to be part of the collective effort, alongside other CSOs, in promoting peace and development in the region. Through monitoring, advocacy, economic development, and voter education, we hope to contribute to a sustainable and inclusive peace. As the 2025 BARMM election approaches, we will continue our efforts to support a smooth transition and the realization of long-term peace and prosperity for the Bangsamoro people.

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2024/06/21/we-participated-in-convening-a-peace-constituency-supporting-the-bangsamoro-peace-process/

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