Int’l peace advocates affirm support to Philippine peace process

October 6, 2009 10:37 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 7 – An international delegation composed of civil society peace advocates Tuesday reaffirmed their full support to the peace process being relentlessly pursued by the Philippine government to end the armed conflict in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

Members of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), a world-wide civil society-led network of peace builders, met with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Avelino I. Razon Jr. at the latter’s office in Ortigas Center, Pasig City where they were briefed on the updates of the government’s peace building efforts with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF and the/Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/ND.

The group had earlier visited Davao City in southern Philippines where the observed first-hand the prevailing peace and order in the region where they also shared their strategies and draft on peace building and conflict prevention agenda for the coming years.

“We, members of the GPPAC-International Steering Group (ISG), reiterate our goal of building an international consensus on peace building and prevention of conflict,” the group said in its press statement issued last October 4.

“We commit to bring together civil society organizations to articulate challenges to effective conflict prevention and advance recommendations to improve practices and policies to build peace in their regions,” they added.

“By coming together, we can better build trust and confidence among peoples from diverse ethnic, national and faith groups to heal the wounds and weave peace.”

Saying that war is not an option, GPPAC considers that sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas and promoting indigenous peace mechanisms are means to achieve lasting peace.

“We value dialogue among all relevant actors, including local communities, in conflict situations,” they said.

Delegates of the GPPAC-ISG recently visited local communities in Datu Piang, Darapanan; Pikit, Cotabato City; Compostella Valley, Davao City and Bukidnon where they interacted with victims of conflict such as evacuees, Moro, Lumad and settler communities, people’s organizations, as well as local and national government and military officials.

“We are inspired by the stories of internally displaced persons and tribal communities, and pledge to do our part to help build peace,” they said.

In a dialogue held this morning at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) headquarters in Pasig City, members of the GPPAC-ISG exchanged lessons, reflections and strategies on the peace process with representatives of non-government organizations, OPAPP and members of the GRP Peace Panel for Talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Razon welcomed the international delegation and thanked them for their invaluable support to the Philippine peace process.

Among the issues discussed during the interaction included strengthening participation of women and youth sector, protracted peace negotiations, importance of dialogues, reaching out to constituents, need for capacity building, and other ideas drawn from experiences of one another’s country.

The GPPAC-ISG Regional Initiators are Nairobi Peace Initiative-Africa (NPI-Africa), West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), Regional Coordination for Economic and Social Research (CRIES), Peacebuild and Alliance for Peacebuilding, Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Pacific People Building Peace, IID, Peaceboat, Foundation for Tolerance International, Regional Secretariat of the Arab Partnership for Conflict Prevention and Human Security (APCPHS), Nonviolence International-CIS and the West CIS sub-network of the CIS NGO Working Group on Conflict Management and Prevention, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN) for the South Caucasus, Nonviolence International for the North Caucasus, Nansen Dialogue Centre Serbia, and European Centre for Conflict Prevention. (PNA) LDV/PR/mec

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