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.
We, in the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict-Southeast Asia, condemn the murder of Dr. Kem Ley, a resource person of Working Group for Peace (WGP) in Cambodia, our focal point for Cambodia. His death is a loss for the people’s movement in Cambodia and the region. We are one with his family and our members in Cambodia in their mourning, and in the search for resolution and justice for his death.
As it soon assumes the reins of government, we encourage the new government to continue building on the grassroots nature and support generated by President-elect Duterte’s campaign and leadership. We encourage the incoming administration to learn from and develop its grassroots-based engagements further, involving more and multiple sectors and stakeholders in the ongoing peace processes and discourse. We have all seen how this broad and common-based approach helped stabilize the MILF peace process, collectively building the popular impetus for finding political settlements to the conflict. We see this success further in a peace agreement that has held these past years, despite facing major challenges. We now implore the GPH-NDF panels to also incorporate similar mechanisms into their own processes, up-scaling the initiatives to involve and engage as broad a segment of the local and international communities as possible.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) first and foremost stands for and supports universal respect for human rights and human dignity. It is thus with a heavy heart that we now view the remains and still simmering aftermath of the violent dispersal of farmer-protesters last April 1 in Kidapawan City, claiming three lives and injuring scores of others. Six thousand suffering and hungry men, women and children, battered by three months of drought and left with little option but to demand the release of emergency food aid, should have been met with utmost compassion and speedy humanitarian action, not by insufferable violence and bullets, buttressed by bureaucratic apologies.
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.