Public participation key to Bangsamoro peace pacts implementation

Written by Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process.

 Government Implementing Panel for the Bangsamoro Accords Chairperson Irene Santiago stated plans for creating spaces that will allow public participation in the implementation of the signed Bangsamoro peace agreements as a direct response to the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for an inclusive peace process.

Santiago shared her thoughts on how to promote participative, consultative, and integrative forums with relevant stakeholders for Mindanao peace in a panel discussion during the recently held Global Autonomy, Governance, and Federalism Forum 2016 here in the city.

“We need methods that enable people to hear each other because we need to have dialogues more than intersecting monologues,” Santiago stated.

The government panel chair also made mention of organizing different tables per sector, per geographical area, and per group to provide a venue for public conversation on the issues and concerns on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

These conversations are keys to effective implementation of the aforementioned agreements especially that preparations toward the legislation of a new enabling law is already on its way, explained Santiago. “Peace issue in Mindanao is a national enterprise. These processes must be inclusive, integrated, and imaginative.”

“Public demands two thing: to be heard and to be taken seriously… The people want their power to determine the new arrangement of their society,” the panel chair added.

With these proposed open spaces, Santiago envisions to resolve gaps in information, knowledge, and understanding of the public. “Implementation must be anthropologically informed, not just legalistically and democratically informed. I would also like to think that it is peace-informed.”

“The implementation of all peace agreements has not been particularly this been informed,” she recalled.

Santiago also hopes that the dialogues being planned to be undertaken by the government panel, together with their MILF counterpart, will empower people and pave the way for healing and reconciliation.

“In the end, it is the people who decide to empower themselves. We do not empower people; we can only organize spaces where they can do that… More than democratic participation, it must be a process for healing and reconciliation,” Santiago concluded. (OPAPP)

Source: Philippine News Agency