WE Act 1325 wishes to be counted among the many civil society organizations and other stakeholders who celebrate the breakthrough in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). We commend the Aquino administration for the political will it demonstrated, and thank the members of the negotiating panels for having forged the framework agreement which is up for signing a week from now.

We note with great enthusiasm the Framework Agreement's inclusion of two significant provisions directly relating to and recognizing women's rights and important role in peacebuilding- that is the right of women to meaningful political participation and protection from all forms of violence; and the right to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in social and economic activity and public service, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity.

We enjoin all peace loving citizens of Mindanao and the country to support this development that may just usher in a new era for the peoples of Mindanao.

We look forward to the meaningful participation of women in the new political entity that will be created and in the crafting and implementation of the basic law.

Hope for Sustainable Peace -
Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front reach Framework Agreement
By Mavic Cabrera-Balleza

After more than two years of intense negotiations, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have reached a framework agreement leading to a sustained peace process in the Muslim region of the Philippines. The Framework Agreement is the overarching design for the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. It defines the principles, processes and mechanisms for the transition leading to a new political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The ARMM, the region composed of predominantly Muslim provinces is criticized for being ineffective in addressing the concerns of its constituents and for reinforcing existing inequalities.

The Framework agreement contains two provisions on Basic Rights that highlight women’s rights: 1) right of women to meaningful political participation, and protection from all forms of violence; and 2) right to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in social and economic activity and public service, regardless of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity. It must also be noted that for the first time, the MILF has appointed a woman on its board of consultants and technical working group: RaissaJajurie. The government panel has two women members namely: Miriam Coronel Ferrer and YasminBusran Lao.

In her remarks on the adoption of the Framework Agreement, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary TeresitaQuintos Deles noted: “The agreement lays the foundation for a future more invested in books, not bullets. It is about young lives able to realize their dreams in the safety of communities where conflict used to reign. It is about writing the success story of our nation together, as brothers and sisters, respectful of each other’s diversity and cultural identity.” Secretary Deles and all three women on the government and MILF panels have strong civil society backgrounds.

The Philippines adopted a National Action Plan on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2010, the first country in Asia to adopt such a plan. Many believe that the inclusion of a woman on the MILF board of consultants and technical working group as well as the integration of women’s rights in the framework agreement are partly attributable to the strong advocacy of Philippine women’s groups on UNSCR 1325.

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