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CSO-FP marks Mindanao Week of Peace

Managing Director, CSO-FP

Iligan city — In 1997, the Bishop-Ulama Forum conceptualized to celebrate the Mindanao week of Peace after the Government and MNLF signed the final peace agreement in 1996 on the belief to sustain lasting peace in Mindanao. The Bishop-Ulama Forum later on became the Bishop-Ulama Conference (BUC).

In 2001, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo release the Presidential Proclamation No. 127 declaring “the last Thursday of November up to the first Wednesday of December of every year thereafter” as the MINDANAO WEEK OF PEACE (MWOP). Inclusive dates for this year’s MWOP celebration is on November 28 to December 4. The government recognized the need to provide a venue for expression of peace aspirations in various forms and for convergence of peace initiatives to raise consciousness for a culture of peace among the peoples of Mindanao. The BUC theme and adopted for this year’s MWoP celebration is “Dialogue and Hope — Our Key to Peace.”

The celebration involves communities of inter-faith organizations, non-governmental organizations, people’s organizations, government agencies who are working and advocating and mainstreaming the Culture of Peace. Although the activity is a Mindanao-wide event, there’s still a need to popularize the MWoP and involve other sectors such as the academe, civic organizations, business sector, and local governments.

Furthermore, with the recent development on the peace process between the government and the MILF rebel groups that had greatly impacted the peace and security of the constituents in Mindanao, there’s a greater need to have venues for imparting information to facilitate people’s informed decisions within the peace process. Considering that Iligan City was among the areas that opposed the inclusion of eight out of 44 barangays in Iligan City into the proposed BJE under the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOAD-AD) between government and the MILF in 2008 and campaigned for the rejection by the Supreme Court on the grounds that they were not informed and consulted, there’s a need to intensify information campaign on the peace process and engender support from the public.

MWOP celebration is one of the major peacebuilding activities to achieve real and lasting peace in Mindanao. In the Lanao areas, the Moro, Lumad, and the Settlers are united on working for peace which are culturally diverse with sensitive understanding across cultures.

Due to the many peacebuilding activities to be done during the MWOP celebration, there are pre-MWOP and post-MWOP activities to be implemented within a span of 20 days. This will include consultation and dialogues, human rights and energy forum, media activities and many others.

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