Today August 13, marks the first official meeting in Malaysia between the peace panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It will be the first of many meetings expected to be convened not only for the MILF peace process, but for the other peace tables set with other non-state armed actors (NSAs) of the Philippines. This first meeting is undertaken less than fifty days after the administration of the 16th Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was inaugurated. Led by the President’s words and call for action, the various departments and offices have followed suit in seeking ways and means to fast-track changes to national governance processes, striving to eliminate red tape, bureaucracy and stifling corruption, and ensure that the least served are no longer ignored.
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Established in 1988, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is a Philippines-based advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization and people-to-people solidarity. IID conducts policy advocacy and campaign programs on Burma, Mindanao, Southern Thailand, West Papua, and East Timor. It established the Asia-Pacific Coalition for East Timor (APCET) in 1994 that spearheaded a regional people’s solidarity movement for the then occupied nation.
Gus Miclat, of Initiatives for International Dialogue, provides context to the evolving call for federalism in the Philippines as pushed by the current administration of newly-elected President Rodrigo Duterte. Gus also explains how the BBL could have been an initial expression of self-governance for the long-suffering and neglected Moro people, had the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) been passed by the Senate.
The articles published in this issue highlight the TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE as an overarching theme. Transitional justice is not only a timely concern in a number of countries experiencing post-conflict or post-authoritarian transitions, in which IID and our partners are active. It also allows for a confluence of all the issues lying at the core of IID’s work. Peace and human security, self-determination, human rights and democratization are concerns that underpin transitional justice issues.
The Bangsmoro Basic Law (BBL) could have been the legacy of a visionary 16th Congress, working to inspire an entire nation, uniting all Filipinos in a common desire for a just and sustainable peace in our time. The 16th Congress’ passage of the BBL would have provided the clearest answer yet to the long-simmering Mindanao Question that has drawn tears, sweat, blood and lives from many of our generations, past and present alike.
The BBL could have been a lasting legacy of an administration that vowed to straighten the path on a failed experiment, granting the Moro people an equal place at the table, an equal voice in the discourse, a homeland to govern with Moro pride and dignity.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is a Philippines-based advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization and people-to-people solidarity.
IID conducts policy advocacy and campaign programs on Burma, Mindanao, Southern Thailand, West Papua, and East Timor.