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PIA Press Release

Feature: DDR as peace building strategy

Cotabato City (10 November) -- Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration DDR) is useful in the peace building, peace making and immediate post conflict stage. If you want a long term sustainability of your peace, then DDR has to do it - well planned, coordinated and adequately funded. The presence of the third party in the peace process has an added value in the implementation of the DDR.

This was the pronouncement of Diosita Andot, programme manager, Act for Peace Programme who was the resource person on "Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment on Regions 9, 12, and ARMM/Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) as a United Nations (UN) Peace Building Strategy."

Andot discussed this topic before PNP and military officers during a seminar on the "Operationalization of PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (IPO) for Western Mindanao" held in General Santos City early this week.

Ms Andot's inputs, as she emphasized, are largely based on the statements and pronouncements of studies made by the UN Security Council when it adopted DDR as a major peace strategy in 1999. This is in recognition that sustainable peace has been difficult to establish especially in countries which are in internal or civil strifes because of many reasons but one of the biggest lessons there is the high level of armaments which constitutes a major cause of instability even after a peace is negotiated, she stated.

"Alam natin kung ano ang nangyari even if there was an agreement with the MNLF, peace was still something to be desired because hindi nagkaroon ng disarmament initiative ang GRP-MNLF panel," the Act for Peace Programme manager pointed out.

She continued to say that reducing the level of arms in the country has become a crucial precondition for the consolidation of peace and stability; however, she said, disarmament alone has no long term benefits if not accompanied by demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants into civil society. She further said that DDR is really a part and parcel of the whole peace process.

When disarmament terminates, demobilization begins and when demobilization ends, reintegration should commence, Andot stressed. It is actually a step by step process but there are activities wherein this particular aspect would overlap the other, she said.

Andot clarified that disarmament refers to the collection, control and disposal of arms, ammunitions, light and heavy weapons of combatants and also civilian population. Demobilization, on the other hand, she said, is the process by which the armed elements either downsized or completely disband after a peace agreement is signed as part of the broad transformation from war to peace.

Reintegration, according to Ms Andot, is a process of providing assistance/measures to former combatants that would increase their potentials and their families for reintegration into the mainstream of civil society. Ito ang mas mahabang proseso that would even start at the initial stages of the peace process, she added.

The final plan of implementing it will be a part of the peace agreement. The success of the DDR will rest on the willingness and commitment of both parties, Hindi kasi puedeng unilateral ang disisiyon dito. DDR is not effective if only one party is being involved, Ms Andot said.

In the peace process in Mindanao, UN comes only after the peace agreement is decided. The facilitation is done by the OIC in the case of the MNLF and Malaysia in the case of the MILF, she averred.

She cited two (2) vital key issues to consider in DDR namely: 1) the type of body or group that will negotiate and plan the DDR and 2) adequate public inputs from the onset of the planning process.

The lessons learned, she said, "Hindi masyado natin naintindihan ang nangyari sa GRP-MILF peace negotiations and panel agreement." Dito inemphasize ng UN Security Council na there must be a great participation of the public and a good information dissemination, Ms Andot said.

Ms Andot emphasized that according to the UN Security Council, the UN commits to the principle of political independence and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states. UN will not come in unless there is consent by the Philippine Government and the other party. "We have also the responsibility of ensuring our integrity as a nation", she concluded. (PIA 12) [top]

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