Thursday, March 18, 2010

Philippines: "Dialogue Mindanaw" is only the beginning of pursuing a new platform for lasting peace in Mindanao

Source: Government of the Philippines - Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle T. Abaya said that the just-concluded "Dialogue Mindanaw" is only the beginning of pursuing a new platform for a lasting peace in Mindanao that includes good governance.

"This is only the start," Abaya told diplomats during a conference organized by the World Affairs Forum (WAF) at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati on Wednesday.

Abaya briefed the diplomatic community g an update on the on-going peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"We must prepare our Muslim brothers and sisters for governance. To determine what is good for them – this rightly belongs to them," Abaya said, stressing that the culmination of the 'reflective dialogues' opens avenues to work on to achieve a lasting peace in Mindanao.

"We need to prepare them for peace. To be ready for a liberal and democratic governance that is in keeping with the rest of the world. It is capacity building primarily for governance that we need in Mindanao. The time is now," she said.

Abaya said that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) had partnered with civil society groups for the 13 'reflective dialogues' held in various parts of the country.

During the reflective dialogues, participants were given an overview of the Mindanao problem in which they gave their opinions and inputs.

Their inputs will be collated for submission to the peace panels of the government and the MILF for their study and consideration for crafting a solution to end the decades-old Mindanao conflict.

Abaya said the dialogues have garnered support from peace advocates, particularly the MILF, who at first expressed reservations on the government-led consultations.

She described how opinions of the participants changed based on the results of polling done in the dialogue areas.

Among those who were present at the conference were Ambassador Christian Meerschaman of the Royal Belgian Embassy; Counsellor Roger Jorgensen of the Royal Norwegian Embassy; First Sec. Azlin Ahmad Dalal of the Malaysian Embassy; Asst. Sec. Ibrahim Mamao of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; First Sec. Nguyen Thanh Cong of the Vietnam Embassy; Deputy Regional Programme Officer Philippe Brewster of the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Charles Michael Harns of the IOM; Resident Coordinator Jacqui Badcock of the United Nations; Deputy Director Keiko Niimi of the International Labor Organization; and WAF Secretary General D.Y. Caparas.

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