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.
Members of the National Board had assessed the activities in accordance to their alignment with GenPeace core thrusts. The members had closely examined the work of GenPeace and said that the projects had triumphantly inculcated the value of peace consciousness especially among the youth. They recognized the network’s efforts to initiate Peace Education programs among localities particularly in the South. More so, they have said that through the different activities and projects of the network, the youth became more deeply involved in the activities concerning peace. They also applauded the region-wide connections established by the network linking all youths from different regions to work for the cause of peace. They have also stated that due to the engagement of GenPeace programs in their localities, the programs of their organizations had been more peace – focused and the youth were more empowered and their passion for peace was reawakened.
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.
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.
Mayroong dalawang malalaking armadong tunggalian sa Pilipinas na nagsimula sa maagang bahagi ng dekada 1970.
– Ang pakikibaka ng Communist Party of the Philippines- New Peoples’ Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) laban sa pamahalaan ng Pilipinas
– Ang pakikibaka ng Bangsamoro para sa kasarinlan o Right to Self Determination, na sinimulan ng Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) at pinagpapatuloy sa ngayon ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Upang maresolba ang mga nasabing tunggalian, ang pangunahing pamamaraan ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas (Government of the Philippines or GPH) ay peace talks o usapang pangkapayapaan. Sinasabayan din ito ng mga programang reporma at pangkaunlaran sa mga apektadong lugar. Gumagampit pa rin ng pwersang militar and GPH ayon sa Internal Peace and Security Plan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Ang kabuuang stratehiyang pangkapayapaan at seguridad ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ay nakalathala sa “Chapter 9 Peace and Security” ng Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.
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