Towards Just and Sustainable Peace:
Declare a Peace Day Ceasefire!
A Citizens’ Call for a September 21 Ceasefire
On the UN-declared International Day of Peace, also called a Global Day of Ceasefire and Non-Violence – September 21, we urge the Government of the Philippines and the CPP-NPA-NDF to declare a 24-hour ceasefire. The ongoing ceasefire between the GPH and the MILF must be especially be upheld on that date.
We ask that the guns be silenced in our country on Peace Day, in solidarity with all who seek to end violent conflicts around the globe.
As peace advocates from diverse political, cultural, faith and social backgrounds, we call for a cessation of hostilities in order to highlight the urgent need for peace.
We support the ongoing peace processes that aim to resolve through political negotiations the decades-long armed conflicts in the Philippines. We are determined to accompany the process toward signing of peace agreements and more importantly, in the implementation of these peace agreements.
In the Philippines, September 21 is more known as the day when Martial Law was declared, that we remember by vowing, “Never again.” On this 40th year since the declaration of Martial Law, we still suffer its legacy of armed conflicts and stubborn roots of injustice and poverty.
Therefore our call for peace is not just for the absence of war but further for the presence of “jobs and justice, food and freedom, land and liberation”. One of the lessons of our struggle against dictatorship is that a durable peace will be built only with the fullness of human rights and dignity.
On September 21, a day of ceasefire will be a moment marking our common commitment to building a just and sustainable peace.
WE SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESSES. WE WANT A JUST AND LASTING PEACE. DECLARE CEASEFIRE ON PEACE DAY!
Generation Peace, Mindanao Solidarity Network, Peace Day Committee Waging Peace Philippines – GPPAC Southeast Asia
*If you wish to include your organization to our peace day ceasefire call, leave a comment below.
September 2012, Philippines–GenPeace spearheads localized celebrations of the International Day of Peace in the Philippines. Youth leaders and organizations take the lead in raising awareness on the country’s armed conflict, and challenging this generation to support peacebuilding initiatives. In a country with two 40-year old forgotten armed conflicts, the youth can be a potent force in bridging the peace gaps.
With the theme, “Just and Sustainable Peace for Our Future: Support the Peace Processes!”, GenPeace through its member-organizations, school partners, friends and communities, prepared numerous initiatives for the peace month of September.
September 21, apart from being the commemoration of the declaration of Martial Law 40 years ago, is also the UN-declared International Day of Peace, Ceasefire and Non-violence. The youth network aims to: 1) educate the public on the Peace Day, the issues and root causes of armed conflict in the Philippines; 2) promote participation and contribution from the young generation; 3) campaign for a 24-hour unilateral declaration of ceasefires, and; 4) gather broader support for the peace processes in the country.
GenPeace and its partner organizations have lined-up a month-long set of activities for September. Some of the plans are:
1. Simultaneous Peace Day Celebrations can provide the space for raising awareness that there is a global day of peace, ceasefire and non-violence. During this day, we join the rest of the world in aspiring for peace but also, concretely working towards that goal through education, communications and media, networking, policy advocacy, dialogues, and projects with conflict-affected localities.
- Cagayan Valley Region
- Quezon City
- Davao City
- Samar and Leyte
2. Ceasefire Campaign. We are asking the government and NDF and MILF to unilaterally declare ceasefires on 21 September. We are also part of global peace day ceasefire call.
3. LGU Engagement: Peace Day Resolutions/Ordinances
We are asking local governments to pass resolutions and/or ordinances supporting peace day and the peace day ceasefire, and to fully support the peace talks. We believe that localized declarations of support increases the chances for convergence at the local level–supporting the conflict-affected communities and the grassroots–where peacebuilding matters most.
We’re raising Php 200,000 for the nationwide activities of the youth network. Buy our cakes, 100% of proceeds will be for the month-long peace advocacy and education activities.
5. Campus Tours: Peace Forums. This will be the education campaign of GenPeace for the Peace Month and beyond. The forums target students from different universities and seek to update the youth on the peace talks, raise understanding of the conflict issues in the country, the primacy of the peace talks, and challenge the youth to become peace advocates.
We join the world in calling for a Global Day of Truce through localized unilateral ceasefire declarations of the government through its Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front. Ceasefires are often construed as pacifist and a counter-insurgency measure, but we want to institutionalize the Peace Day Ceasefire nationwide and throughout the world. A day of ceasefire can give the people a day of respite from all the violence and take time to reflect on peace. Everyone can be nourished by a day of ceasefire as the longer struggle towards a just and sustainable peace continues thereafter.
Ed Garcia, one of our esteemed GenPeace mentors, also known as ‘Master Yoda’ is not just inspiring GenPeace Youth network. In fact, he has mentored and inspired countless peace advocates from all walks of life. Below is Peter Perfecto’s article published by PDI. –Editors Note
One mentor in my life who probably most influenced my decisions in taking roads less travelled is Ed Garcia. Ed has always championed peace and human rights not only in the Philippines but across the globe, having worked extensively with Amnesty International and having been a part of International Alert for many years now. Though based in London, Ed manages to return to the Philippines regularly to help push our peace process forward even just one little step at a time. He never tires of the effort, always reminding me that peace is everyone’s business.
During his last visit to the Philippines, Ed stayed for over three months to meet various stakeholders in the peace process, help organize the Waging Peace in the Philippines Conference 2011, and even get a small group that included next-generation youth peace leaders to dialogue via Skype technology with a leader of one of the parties in our decades-old conflict. That was Ed’s other consistent message to those who would listen: Keep the dialogue always going and make sure the youth are always part of that dialogue. He, of course, made sure to seek me as the representative of the constructive voice of business on national issues, the Makati Business Club (MBC). He understandably wanted MBC to make the peace process its business, too, and subsequently help get more of the private sector involved.
I most certainly agree with Ed that business groups need to become part of the peace process. The private sector has been both bane and boon to the peace process. In line with the continuing evolution of corporate social responsibility, however, it must become part of the solution and not one of the roots of the conflict. The private sector must become genuine nation-builders and, subsequently, effective peace-builders.
In a 2011 National Caucus on conflict-sensitive business practice, International Alert (IA) explained that “the entry of extractive, energy, and agribusiness companies in rural areas across the Philippines creates both opportunities and risks for improving the living standards of the poor and excluded in our society and the ability of local authorities to govern local economies.” Some of the opportunities highlighted were new jobs, new skills and new livelihoods, as well as enhanced revenue sources for local government units. IA further explained that “there are liability risks that resonate in the eruption of violence and conflict in the areas where companies operate; the increased incidence of illegal ejection or displacement of communities; the inducement of graft and corruption; and the use of abusive security forces and the provision of the means to kill.” The private sector must work to enhance the opportunities and aggressively act to mitigate the risks.
To link arms with the various peace advocates, business can support the following Easter Proposals to Wage Peace that can serve as the first steps leading to the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF):
1. Easter Talks: Convene facilitated direct talks (or “nontalks”) between the respective chairs of the negotiating panels in the period of Easter (or before) to ensure that conditions are established for the resumption of formal peace negotiations.
2. Easter Releases: Release at least four or five people relevant to the peace process who will somehow be “a collective force for good” in assisting in the discussions on the substantive issues on the agenda of the peace talks. Accept the offer of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform and other civic and religious leaders to receive those released either in cognizance or to provide safe conduct for a temporary stay abroad.
3. Easter Pause: In the spirit of Easter and in the spirit of magnanimity and reciprocity, desist from armed offensives during the period of the talks. The duration and terms of reference of this initial Easter Pause may be negotiated as the talks progress. Establish independent capacities to more effectively verify violations both of human rights and of the provisional truce that has arisen from this Easter opportunity.
The Waging Peace Convenors led by the likes of Ed Garcia, Karen Tañada and Gus Miclat made these proposals last Feb. 27 during the commemoration of the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno’s death anniversary. They called on the government and the NDF to “negotiate a political settlement and pay tribute to the late Ka Pepe Diokno who lived and worked to build a nation worthy of our children.”
The business sector may not be ready to fully support the above calls, but I am certain that a just and lasting peace makes good business sense to all in the sector.
Last Jan. 20, the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines sponsored a forum on business opportunities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Amidst the conflict, business opportunities were highlighted and the challenges discussed. While conflict seems to not have prevented private investments in Mindanao, the continuing security and land access problems have been key constraints to urgently needed investments. Companies like La Frutera, Dole Philippines Fruits, ArDex Corp., Sumitomo, Mega Sardines, Shemberg, Agumil, Filipinas, Bj Coco Mill, Granexport and NorMin Veggies are successfully operating in conflict areas in Mindanao. More will most certainly venture into the region if the peace process would just reach a final political settlement. But that will only happen if we all make peace our business.
Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is the executive director of the Makati Business Club.
Asian Institute of Management, Makati City–Selected members of GenPeace took part in a historic skype dialogue with Louis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma, prominent leaders of the National Democratic Front. During the skype meeting last March 2, 2012, the youth’s calls during the GenPeace General Assembly were highlighted by the GenPeace representatives. Mirma Tica, Gerald Eustaquio and Kaye Limpiado presented the youth’s calls for: 1) Easter Peace Talks, 2) Protect the Environment; and 3) End Impunity. (click here for the GenPeace Statement for the GPH-NDF Talks)
Jalandoni welcomed the youth’s calls particularly on the protection of the environment and the ending of the climate of impunity in the country. Regarding the call for peace talks to resume, he said that the NDF also aspires for a just and lasting peace in the country. He further encouraged the youth to advocate for peace to the President and even the security sector.
The GenPeace representatives were invited by the peace civil society community under Waging Peace Philippines and through Prof. Ed Garcia of the International Alert. Some of the other dialogue participants were Karen Tanada of GZO Peace Institute, Sr. Ma. Arnold Noel and Joeven Reyes of Sulong CARHRIHL, former Senator Bobby Tanada, and Gus Miclat from the Initiatives for International Dialogue.
GENERATION PEACE: 2012 RESOLVE
Generation Peace, meeting in general assembly on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the 1986 People’s Power, resolves to redouble our efforts to pursue peace in diverse parts of the country. We will do our part in galvanizing youth voices in urban and rural areas, in schools and in streets, in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We will network with other sectors, in particular, with our teachers, with women, indigenous peoples, and with religious, business, political and community leaders.
We call on the leaders and the negotiating panels of the Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to resume peace talks in the period of Easter – the season of resurrection and re-awakening. To do so, we urge the following:
- 1. Undertake Easter Releases of Selected Detainees Relevant to the Negotiations!
- 2. Protect the Environment Now. Do so More Vigorously!
- 3. End Impunity!
We call on both sides to do so for the sake of future generations. We cannot wait any longer. These talks have been protracted enough, and we want to eliminate more victims of a war without end. We ask both sides to do what it takes to overcome obstacles. During the period of talks we call on both parties to suspend offensive military operations to create a climate more conducive to restore trust and the construction of a more peaceful future.
From Generation Peace General Assembly,
Successor Generation of Peace Advocates
February 24, 2012
Members of the Generation Peace General Assembly
University of Eastern Philippines Communication Association
FEU ACP3 Peace Tayo
Center for Peace Education Miriam College
Pax Christi Miriam College
Balay Rehabilitation Center
United Youth for Peace and Development
Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute
UNESCO Young Professionals Club
United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines
Sobusteha Youth Association
Akbayan Youth –Davao
Peace Advocates Zamboanga
SINAG Political Organization
Student Commission on Election, De La Salle University Dasmarinas
CARAGA Youth Leaders Network
Teduray Lambangian Youth and Students Association
Tirmizy E. Abdullah
Edito T. Ebol Jr.
Josiluther B. Nacario
Gerald Matthew E. Eustaquio
Brenfred N. Romero
Hazeline M. Panganiban
Nina Sarah D. Francisco
Xyren Moren Magbuhos
Marc Zeus Chee
Mary Angeli Bataycan
Rechie J. Tugawin
Allen John Lira
Victoria Kathleen Mae
Maria Theresa Angelica Bustria
Kristel Georgia Mendoza
Youth Solidarity For Peace.
Quezon City–The Generation Peace Youth Network (GenPeace) recently concluded its 3rd National General Assembly with the theme “Successor Generation: Re-imagine the Work for Peace.” The assembly was held at the Ateneo de Manila University from February 23-25 and identified the network’s thematic priorities for 2012-2013.
Aside from discussing the network’s priorities, the gathering also discussed strategies to strengthen the network’s member organizations and expansion plans. Apart from the main mandate of the network in supporting political negotiations between the Government and the CPP NPA NDF and the Government and MILF, it also explores its role in promoting a culture of peace in the country. The assembly also elected its new set of officers for the national board (2012-2013).
Topics during the assembly range from updates on the peace processes, mediation and negotiation as essential peacebuilding skills, to envisioning peace. Prof. Ed Garcia of International Alert noted that “The Philippine peace negotiations are the world’s most protracted negotiations” with very limited milestones and as such require re-imagination from the part of youth peace advocates. ###
GenPeace is a national youth network engaged in a youth-led advocacy towards a just and sustainable peace in the Philippines. It is a coming together of 40+ youth organizations and networks all over the country that support political settlements in resolving armed conflicts.
We, members of Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325), a national network of women in human rights, women, and peace organizations, express our unequivocal rejection of war and military solution to the crisis arising from the October 18 tragedy in Al-barka, Basilan.
Roughly 30,000 civilians from affected communities in Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay and Lanao provinces are now scattered in various evacuation camps while others seek refuge in homes of families and relatives who live away from the conflict areas. Majority of the internally displaced persons are women and children.
While We Act 1325 commends President Aquino for issuing a strict order on the primacy of the peace process, and the MILF for staying the course of the peace process, we ask the government and the MILF to:
1. Resume in earnest formal negotiations on the substantive agenda;
2. Take into account any violations of the ceasefire agreement and related mechanisms such as the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) guidelines and make the results of investigation available to the public;
3. Institute binding and strict measures that will compel adherence or compliance to all agreements forged between parties in conflict;
4. Respect the civilian character of evacuation camps and other defined safe spaces;
5. Uphold the government’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (and its succeeding resolutions) to ensure that women’s special needs in situations of conflict are prioritized and appropriately addressed, and their contributions valued and recognized;
6. Provide protection from sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence, especially in evacuation camps; and
7. Involve and engage the participation of more women in formal and informal peace negotiations or processes, as well as in relief and rehabilitation services in affected areas.
As women, we are alarmed that our voices and efforts for peace seem to be drowned by the loud drums of war. We are dismayed by statements from politicians, journalists, media and even some bishops that frame the MILF as “the enemy” rather than a committed party to the peace negotiations and even ceasefire agreement. They question the peace policy and established processes of peacebuilding and confidence-building based on government’s “six paths to peace”.
Unfortunately, they are playing to attitudes of machismo as well as ethnic and religious discrimination that are still dominant in our society.
We ask you to stop depicting the other as the enemy. Stop sowing hate. The costs of war increase when anti-peace sentiments and malicious statements are peddled this way. Hence, we appeal to all concerned to work instead in diffusing tension by promoting communication and understanding between parties in conflict.
War solves nothing. WOMEN DEMAND ALL-OUT PEACE!
ONE MILLION VOICES FOR PEACE CAMPAIGN GAINS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
AMID CHALLENGES TO THE PEACE PROCESS
The campaign to gather considerable citizen support to the peace talks between the Goverment of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has gained added momentum with the endorsement of the campaign by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
The public opinion backlash to the recent encounter in Albarka, Basilan and the continuing impasse over the implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) emphasize the need to mobilize citizen support for dialogue and consensus building.
The One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines Campaign aims to gather the support of people from all over the Philippines and the rest of world, to signify their desire for an end to the conflict in the country and present these to the conflict actors to press them to work for a peaceful, just and comprehensive political settlement to the armed conflicts in the Philippines.
GPPAC is a global movement that seeks to leverage civil society initiatives and press governments and rebel movements to utilize dialogue as the more sustainable mode of resolving the roots of armed conflicts. It works to strengthen civil society networks for peace and security by linking local, national, regional, and global levels of action. It engages with governments, the UN system and regional organizations to create policies and programs that promote peace building. More GPPAC information is available at: www.gppac.net
Among the personalities who have signified support to the peace campaign are:
Chair of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Executive Director of the West Africa Network on Peacebuilding (WANEP)
Prof. Andres Serbin
Chair of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
Chair of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, USA
Peter Van Tuil
Executive Director, GPPAC Foundation
3P Human Security, USA
Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
Non-Violence International, Russia
Lia van Broekhoven
Co-Director, Reflecting on Peace Practice Project, CDA, USA
Bibi van Ginkel
Fellow, International Centre for Counter Terrorism, Netherlands
3P Human Security, USA
Consultant, Human Security Unit, UN
Analyst, Conflict Prevention and Recovery Team, UN
A website for the One Million Voices for Peace allows for the “voices” to be expressed in a variety of ways: including your name and email on the form provided, subscribing to the OMV4P YouTube channel, “likes” from Facebook accounts, and following the campaign on Twitter. Please visit the One Million Voices for Peace in Mindanao website, and add your name to the “voices” calling for peace in Mindanao.
MESSAGE OF PEACE (to KILOS)
On this Day of International of Peace, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through its peace panel pays tribute to those working to build a better future as well as those making their voices heard to strengthen peace and justice amongst fellowmen. Indeed, they are among the best of mankind!
On this day too, we make manifest our continuing commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Moro Question and the armed conflict in Mindanao; and also to renew our call to the Philippine Government to be serious in our negotiation so that just peace, the everlasting and real one, shall come to this region and the entire country. This is the best gift that we can pass on to the generations after us.
We take pride in sharing with the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and Kilos Kapayapaan at Katarungan (KILOS) this small way as part of the larger global efforts. And together, we make this happen!
Chairman, MILF Peace Panel
MESSAGE OF PEACE (to GenPeace)
Everybody, especially the weak, cries out for peace. Still there is still no peace in many parts of the world. Would this deter us from yearning and working for it? Certainly, no! On the contrary, we will strive to have peace in our midst at whatever cost and for how long it takes. This is a solemn commitment!
Let us keep this goal of peace clear and simple. Let us work for peace!
The MILF Peace Negotiating Panel joins the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI) and the Generation Peace (GenPeace) in their celebration for Peace Day 2011 with the theme, “Kapayapaan, Ating Karapatan” (Peace is Our Right).
The meaning of peace, a real one, is more relevant — and intense — in the case of the Moros in Mindanao. For how many centuries, they have never known or experienced that thing we call peace in their entire life. But this deprivation will not stop them from working for it; in fact, this emboldens them even more.
But for peace to be more assuredly lasting there must be justice. Peace without justice is not what we are celebrating on September 21. The GZOPI, GenPeace, and MILF, I am sure, are one in this great mission.
(Sgd) Mohagher Iqbal
MILF Peace Panel