Konsult Mindanaw participants want peace talks to continue
by Apipa P Bagumbaran
Iligan City (21 October) -- Participants of focused group discussions (FGD) conducted by Konsult Mindanaw wanted the peace talks to continue and pushed for the integration of good governance in the peace negotiations.
These findings were presented during the Regional Research Utilization Forum recently organized by Konsult Mindanaw here in the city.
The forum aimed to share with stakeholders the regional and Mindanao-wide consultation results and to elicit recommendations for policies and actions to further enhance the reports.
Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, Project Director of Konsult Mindanaw, said that the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) is very much alive in the minds of the participants. Many participants feel that the MOA-AD is the way to peace and should therefore be reviewed and / or upheld.
People want the peace talks to continue and sincerity of both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been mentioned by almost all of the FGD participants, Fr. Alejo further said.
Participants also pushed for the integration of good governance in the peace negotiations and in the delivery of basic goods and services.
According to them, corruption leads to lack of delivery of basic goods and services, which in turn, lead to dissatisfaction and conflict.
Poverty is seen by them as one of the conditions of peacelessness.
A mechanism where people could voice their opinions and sentiments was also encouraged by the participants.
For them, all efforts toward preventing, resolving and transforming violent conflicts and lessening other sources of tensions and animosities will be effective in the long term if they are based on the active participation of people and groups that are committed to working toward lasting peace.
Another relevant finding is the lack of a good communication program.
Participants admitted that they are not well informed. Many biased statements and positions, especially on the MOA-AD, are based on long standing prejudices which may be traced to personal experiences of conflict or products of misinformation.
An education, information and communication (IEC) program on the peace talks should be continuously communicated to the public.
Media should likewise create a positive impact in the dissemination of information.
Commissioned by the Bishop-Ulama Conference (BUC), Konsult Mindanaw is a comprehensive initiative to poll people's sentiments and draw up concrete suggestions regarding the GRP-MILF peace talks and of the broader peace process in Mindanao through a series of consultations and dialogues within various sectors and regions.
It primarily aimed to expand the constituency of peace through wider consultations to reach the grassroots communities and diverse sectors of the Mindanao society.
The project was the widest and most far-reaching insofar as the peace efforts were concerned—in terms of participation from different sectors of society, Fr. Alejo added.
Konsult Mindanaw sought to draw diverse perceptions of the present situation and derive a common vision of peace in Mindanao to inspire personal commitment to its realization.
It also generated fresh ideas on how to enhance and proceed with the peace process hoping to learn new lessons that can further enrich the continuing peace education and communication. (PIA-Marawi) [top]