PASIG CITY – Filipino voters should factor the stance of their candidates on peace for the country come election day on May 9, in order to preserve and continue the gains of the peace process initiatives of the current administration, said Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles.
“Sana naman isipin niyo yung paninindigan, o walang paninindigan ng kandidato tungkol sa prosesong pang-kapayapaan. Walang shortcuts sa kapayapaan (I hope you will greatly consider the stance, or the lack thereof, of the candidates on the peace process. There are no shortcuts to peace),” Deles said during the OPAPP’s general assembly earlier this week.
“Naghirap tayong lahat in the last six years na mailagay ang peace process kung nasaan siya ngayon. Hindi pa tapos. Marami pang gagawin but certainly we are in a much better place than when we found it (We all worked hard to put the peace process where it is now in the last six years. We are not done yet. We still have so much to do but certainly we are in a much better place than when we found it),” she added.
Strides in the Bangsamoro
The OPAPP secretary pointed out that the Mindanao peace and development prospects would have already moved forward with the recent convergence of the peace processes with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through the passage of the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The BBL is the legal iteration of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF peace panels last 27 March 2014. The bill proposes to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and establish a more inclusive Bangsamoro autonomous region.
However, the said legislation was put on hold due to the inaction of Congress to finish deliberations on the BBL before they adjourned last February.
Prior to the adjournment, the tripartite review of the implementation of the GPH-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Agreement has been concluded through the facilitation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). If the BBL had been passed, the MNLF would be given representation in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority—the temporary government that will bridge the ARMM and the Bangsamoro —as well as encourage them to field candidates for the elections in the envisioned parliamentary region.
The CAB also provides a roadmap for the implementation of socio-economic programs for the normalization of conflict-affected areas and the transition of MILF combatants back to civilian lives. “Hindi matatapos under our term pero klaro ang landas. Klaro ‘yung roadmap. Dapat na lang magawa ang importanteng part na [pagpasa sa BBL] (It cannot be completed under our term but the way forward is clear. The important thing that needs to be done first, however, is the passage of the BBL),” explained Deles.
“It is left doon sa susunod na administrasyon ang pagtatapos at implementation ng roadmap. (It is left to the next administration to finish and implement fully the roadmap)"
Assess candidates’ views on different peace tables
The peace adviser also reminded the public to assess the views of the candidates on the ongoing peace efforts, not only with the peace talks with the MILF but also with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).
“[I]mportante na tignan doon sa mga kandidato [kung] ano ba ang kanilang pagtingin, ano ba ang kanilang commitment tungkol sa dalawang major na lamesang ito. Sana pag-isipan natin sino ba dito ang may klarong pag-intindi sa naganap na at sino ang mukha talagang wala pa (It is important to look at the views of the candidates and their commitment on these two major peace tables. I hope we ponder on who has the clear understanding of our gains in the process and who does not have an idea in it),” Deles said.
She also noted that the major progress in the three peace tables with the leftists should be considered by the next administration. “Sa [Cordillera Bodong Administration-] CPLA [Cordillera People’s Liberation Army], ang implementation ay konting konti na lang ang maiiwan doon sa susunod na administrasyon. Doon naman sa RPM-P/RPA/ABB [Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade], tinatapos na lang ang ilang mga detalye [yet] operational na dahil politically ay nagkasundo rin naman between GPH and RPM-P/RPA/ABB at inaasahan pa rin natin na mapipirmahan ‘yan. The implementation of that agreement, in fact, ay naumpisahan na in several areas,” she discussed.
(For CBA-CPLA, a small part of [the agreement's] implementation will be left to the next administration. As for RPM-P/RPA/ABB, the details are just being finalised, yet already operational, since the GPH and RPM-P/RPA/ABB have already agreed politically. The implementation of that agreement has, in fact, already started in several areas.)
Deles reaffirmed that the peace process should be a factor in the decision-making of the voters this coming May 09 elections as its result will affect the peace negotiations. ###