Participation in Mindanao peace consultations urged
Iloilo City (8 February) -- Presidential Assistant for Peace Process Annabelle Abaya urged peace partners in this part of the country to participate in the efforts launched by the government to pursue lasting and just peace in the country particularly in the Southern Philippines.
During the recent Peace Partners' Forum held in this city, Abaya called on them to participate in the massive public consultations that will be conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to be informed on the on-going peace process that the government is conducting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The dialogue would also be a venue for deeper discussions among participants and for sharing of inputs and ideas for consideration by the government peace panel, said Abaya.
Dubbed by Abaya as "reflective dialogues", these will be conducted not only in Mindanao but also in Visayas, Manila and Northern Luzon starting on the third week of this month until March.
Each dialogue is expected to be participated in by some 300 people representing various sectors.
Abaya said the result of the consultations will be given to the negotiators of the government and the MILF so that "marinig nila ang boses na sinasabi ng taong bayan".
Aside from the consultation, Abaya said a massive media information drive is also being undertaken by the OPAPP which started in Metro Manila last Thursday, February 4.
The information drive tackles the importance of peace and other issues that will be discussed during the consultation. It will also encourage people to participate in the dialogues.
Abaya said the talks between the government peace panel and the MILF are open again and just last week, for the first time, they met to talk on substantive issues.
Both panels have exchanged draft proposals during their meeting in Kuala Lumpur on January 27 to 28.
A peace pact with MILF is one of the things being hammered out by the government before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ends her term on June 30.
A Malacanang report noted that there is a decrease in the MILF's manpower strength from 12,571 in 2000 to just about 11,454 in 2009. (PIA) [top]