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PIA Press Release
2010/02/26

Peace talks also involve non-Mindanaoans, assert Bacolod advocates

Bacolod City (26 February) -- The office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP), along with its local facilitator, PAX Christi, conducted reflective dialogues on the peace talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Ricky Santos, a consultant of the OPAPP and local peace advocate, Cesar Villanueva of the Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet, spelled out what they said was an element lacking in the GRP -MILF peace negotiation.

They said the problem does not only involve Mindanaoans but the whole nation as well.

The reflective dialogues were held all over the country to focus on factors that must be tackled in the GRP- MILF peace talks. The latest dialogue was held in Bacolod City on February 25.

The Bacolod leg of the dialogue was also organized attended by Pax Christi in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas. The dialogue was held at the University of St La Salle's Balay Kalinungan and attended by 300 participants from the youth, women and professional sectors.

The results of the dialogue will be included in the ongoing talks between the government and MILF.

Before the start of the talks on the GRP and MILF panels, participants are provided with four key questions. After the sessions, they are then asked whether their response to the questions have changed after the talks, open forum and workshops.

Essentially the participants tackle four questions given them, one at a time, for one, they are asked for example, what they feel about the whole Mindanao peace process.

Also invited to attend the dialogue were military and police officers whose views on peace process were also solicited.

The dialogues will also determine the sentiments of the people on various issues related to the conflict in Mindanao and the necessary issues which are to be resolved.

"Those who are detached from the conflict may not have the same views and response as these who are immersed in the conflict situation in Mindanao. The dialogues are not to start of the educative process in the negotiation is part of the halfway process," Villanueva said.

Santos said Maguindanao massacre has no a bearing on the peace talks.

The consultative and reflective dialogues, could lead to the reformulation of the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations to avoid past experiences. One controversy is the memorandum of agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) which became a monkey wrench in the Mindanao peace talks.

"The reformulation could also avoid issues related to the constitutionality of key provisions in the agreement. The peace panel, for one, may come to an agreement through what a member said could be 'executive doables' without going through constitutional amendments," said Villanueva.

The :Ang Mapayapang Mindanaw" dialogues, have already been conducted in Jolo, Sulu; Zamboanga, Davao and Compostela Valley, Northern, Central and Southern Luzon and the National Capital Region and Cotabato.

The Mapayapang Mindanaw Dialogues hope to inform the proponents of the genuine sentiment of the people on the proposed items being discussed in the peace negotiations, provide a fresh and balanced information and education relevant to the peace process. (OPAPP) [top]

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