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Secretary Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process discussed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Negotiating Panel, represented by Datu Michael Mastura, the Government Negotiating Panel (GNP), chaired by Rodolfo Garcia, and major key stakeholders of Mindanao during this year’s Kusog Mindanao Roundtable Conference on November 30 – December 1, 2007 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City.
During this 2-day roundtable conference Sec. Dureza expressed the latest updates and insights of the Peace Process. Sec. Dureza shared that this current administration has issued the Executive Order No. 3 requiring that the Policy and Administrative Structure for Government’s Peace Efforts be defined. This enumerates six (6) paths to peace: 1) pursuit of social, economic and political reforms to address the root causes of armed conflicts and social unrest, 2) consensus-building and empowerment for peace, 3) pursuit of peaceful, negotiated settlement with rebel groups, 4) implementation of programs for reconciliation, rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants and civilian victims of armed conflicts, 5) addressing concerns arising from continuing armed conflict, and 6) building and nurturing a climate conducive to peace.
The issues, prospects and challenges of the Mindanao Peace Process were presented by Atty. Benedicto Bacani, Executive Director of Institute of Autonomy and Governance. He specified the Gaps of the Peace Process on Paper and Practice: a) lack of a clear and stable national policy to meaningfully implement Moro autonomy, b) Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) politics are still very much tied up with Manila’s, c) governance in the ARMM generally described as feudal, inefficient and largely driven by pursuit of personal and clan power, d) the ARMM, by any measure, is not fiscally autonomous, and e) decentralization to local government units under the national Local Government Code inhibited the development of the autonomous region as a sub-state.
The lively discussion was well participated by the key stakeholders of the peace process like Mayor Muslimin Sema of Cotabato City, Chair Daisy Avance-Fuentes of the Conferederation of Mindanao Governors, Chairman Antonio Santos of the BIMP-EAGA Business council, Bishop Hilario Gomez, Jr. of Bishops-Ulama Conference, Chair Vicente lao of Mindanao Business Council, and Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Simeon Datumanong.