Peace builders learn from Northern Ireland experience
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (6 November) -- "Peace process is a very long process but it can be achieved and the best time to do it here in the Philippines is now."
United Kingdom security adviser and head of security, intelligence, and resilience Dr. Robert Hannigan visited Davao City yesterday and shared the difficult 40 year peace process in Northern Ireland.
Hannigan served as the secretary of state on the peace process including negotiations with the political parties and liaison with the Irish Government and the US administration.
Albeit some differences in the major factors affecting the process in Ireland and that of the Philippines, Hannigan recommended some moves that Philippines could take advantage of.
Peace adviser Hermogenes Esperon told the media in an interview that Hannigan is just the first resource speaker invited by the Philippine government to share the Northern Ireland experience in achieving peace.
More security personalities are expected to come as the country needs more input from the peace process in other countries.
Hannigan shared that the problem cannot be won militarily alone but political negotiation is very much necessary.
He advised that a platform for politics must be established and that there must also be a stable security environment.
Esperon shared to the media that the Northern Ireland experience involved the "disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) strategy as part of the negotiation and so it must not just come after the negotiation.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo focused government efforts on dialogues with the communities, or government conducting authentic conversations with the people.
The DDR is the government's engagement with all armed groups and the government's way of telling them to give up armed struggle.
The round table discussion was attended by local government executives, national government heads, and peace advocates from the academe and the non-government organizations. (PIA) [top]