Partnership with Mindanao Think Tank Launched



The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) formally launched its partnership with the Institute for Autonomy and Governance ( IAG ) headed by Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani. Founded in 2001, IAG is an independent non-partisan think tank which generates ideas on making autonomy an effective vehicle for peace and development in the southern Philippines.

The broad aims of the KAS-IAG partnership are to aid in making autonomy work in the ARMM, providing capacity-building and technical assistance to the Regional Assembly of the ARMM, promoting the rule of law, and improving human development indicators in the area. To achieve these aims, IAG will produce research studies and policy papers, provide venues for reform-oriented courses in Mindanao, and help to lobby issues important for the Southern Philippines in Manila. In its work, IAG will also seek to be as inclusive as possible, reaching out to all stakeholders - Muslim scholars and civil society, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), indigenous people and Christians,

KAS Country Representative, Mr. Klaus Preschle and Dean of the Notre Dame University (NDU) Graduate School, Dr. Nida Rodriguez cut the ribbon at the inauguration and blessing of IAG’s Office at the NDU Alumni Center. The interfaith office blessing was officiated over by Ustadz Bajunaid Ibrahim and Fr. Armand Carignan, OMI.

The KAS Federalism Debates and KAS-IAG Partnership Agreement signing followed at the NDU Gymnasium.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Preschle stated the principal belief underlying the Foundation’s work in the Philippines, “the belief that the realization of human rights, the rule of law, and real democracy which enables people to take part in social and political decisions, as well as the introduction and safeguarding of freedom in pluralistic societies, are crucial to getting people to live together in peace and harmony.” Atty. Bacani, in turn, described the mission of IAG - “promoting public policy for peace and development”, and the partnership’s role in allowing for “far-reaching and more sustainable programs” for IAG.

The Ateneo Debate Society, represented by Anna Santos, James Alcantara, Allan Lalisan, and Hernando Betita, jumpstarted the festivities with a demonstration debate on the motion : This house supports a federal Philippines. This was followed by cultural dances by the NDU Dance Group, and the signing of the partnership agreement by Mr. Preschle, Atty. Bacani, and Fr. Eduardo Tanudtanud, OMI, President of Notre Dame University (NDU). A competition debate closed the event. The debate between students from the Colleges of Law of Mindanao State University (MSU) and Notre Dame University (NDU) on the motion : This house supports the establishment of a Bangsamoro Federal State as a solution to the Mindanao conflict was won by MSU.

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Klaus Preschle