The international community’s support and engagement with the Bangsamoro peace process reflects the level of success the Philippine government has achieved in pushing peace in Mindanao, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said.
OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said the support and attention the international community is giving to the Bangsamoro peace process only showed that the negotiations are progressive and productive.
“Some of the works that we have done caught the interest of the international community,” Deles said, adding that she is positive that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be passed under the Aquino administration.
She said the decommissioning and normalization processes being implemented by the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) received recognition from Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla when he visited the Philippines last July.
Pinilla said the decommissioning can be a model in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the rebel group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
In fact, Pinilla planned to propose to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos the current framework between the GPH and the MILF as a basis for their government’s own negotiations with FARC.
“The situation in the Philippines between the government and the MILF is the same with the Colombian government and the FARC. After 25 years of armed conflict, we have come to the peace table and it came to our interest on how the Philippines did the ceremonial decommissioning,” Pinilla stated.
“In the past six months, we are working hard on (our own) peace process but we have not reached our end goal which is the transitional justice and decommissioning as we see that we may face a (difficult) situation in that topic,” he explained.
In June last year, 145 MILF combatants and 75 high-powered weapons were decommissioned in simple ceremonies in Sultan Kudarat to signal Phase I of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the MILF.
The International Decommissioning Body (IDB), a multinational independent body led by Turkey, supervised the decommissioning process.
Other countries in conflict situations such as Thailand and Myanmar also took interest in the Bangsamoro peace process and have sent delegations to study the framework.
In July last year, 16 members of the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) came to Manila to study the peace process, especially in upholding the role of women in the peace talks.
”I am very happy that the Afghanistan peace council’s delegates are coming here to learn from the Philippine experience about the peace process,” said HPC Secretary and head of delegation Shaila Samimi.
Samimi said the meeting provided a good opportunity to exchange experiences between the two countries on their own peace talks, and on promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the peace process in response to the gender sensitive issues and problems within the peace negotiations.
Aside from the framework, the key persons behind the peace negotiations were also lauded by New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI).
Both Deles and chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer were hailed as ideal women peacemakers for their key roles in the government peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the MILF.
Ferrer also accepted the 2015 Hillary Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Ferrer was cited for her “indefatigable work to bring about peace in the Philippines and for (her) historic role as the first female chief negotiator to sign a comprehensive peace agreement.”