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Mindanao Peace Weavers heightens Local Peace Programs

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The Mindanao Peace Weavers (MPW) being the largest umbrella organization of civil society peace networks in Mindanao goes localization of peace programs by involving its member networks in various activities within the island of Mindanao.

The MPW is composed of seven networks with four co-secretariats to wit Agong Network, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace, Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference, Mindanao Peoples Caucus, Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement, and Mindanao Solidarity Network and the following secretariats namely Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Saligan-Mindanaw, Technical Assistance Center for the Development of the Rural and Urban Poor (TACDRUP) and the Initiatives for International Dialogue as the lead secretariat.

“MPW is launching a peace campaign called Duyog Mindanao 2011 through a series of Citizens Peace Forum in Visayas and Mindanao, and a Peace Run from Zamboanga to Cotabato” disclosed Mr. Augusto N. Miclat JR, Executive Director of Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) , MPW Lead Secretariat.  It is an initiative to help raise citizens’ awareness on the outstanding issues relating to the ongoing peace process in Mindanao.  Duyog Mindanao was started in 2008 to bring the peace issue into the national agenda and to broaden a peace constituency within and outside of Mindanao to generate solidarity for peace in Mindanao.

“In the Visayas this has been realized with the formation of BISDAK:  Bisayang Dako Alang sa Kalinaw (Citizens Forum for Peace in Mindanao)” added Mr. Miclat Jr. The initiative was one of the outcomes of the campaign that the movement have launched last year, the Epic Bike for Peace from Bohol to Cotabato participated by bikers from the Visayas during the Duyog Mindanao 2010.

The MPW believes that citizens are equal stakeholders and can make concrete contributions through sustained peace building for a just and lasting peace. Thus, citizens’ participation is crucial.  Conflict prevention in Mindanao necessitates not only averting the occurrence and escalation of armed conflict.  More importantly, it is a process of identifying the underlying sources of conflicts, promoting dialogue as the more sustainable alternative, and reaching a consensus on the possible solutions.

“Achieving a negotiated political settlement of the armed conflict between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is crucial to move forward genuine development not only in Mindanao but also in the whole country” shared MPW Lead Convenor. Fr. Angel C. Calvo, CMF.

The 2011 World Development Report describes how armed conflicts, already rooted in mal development and violations of basic human rights, further disrupt efforts towards development and address mass poverty.

The report states that-- “New poverty data reveal that poverty is declining for much of the world, but countries affected by violence are lagging behind.  For every three years a country is affected by major violence (battle deaths or excess deaths from homicides equivalent to a major war), poverty reduction lags behind by 2.7 percentage points.  No low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single MDG.

People in fragile and conflict-affected states are more than twice as likely to be undernourished as those in other developing countries, more than three times as likely to be unable to send their children to school, twice as likely to see their children die before age five, and more than twice as likely to lack clean water.  On average, a country that experienced major violence over the period from 1981 to 2005 has a poverty rate 21 percentage points higher than a country that saw no violence.”

Last June 17, 2011, IID and IRSMP Staff had a courtesy visit at the Mayor’s Office of Zamboanga City for the initial preparations for the conduct of many activities in the Asia’s Latin City. City Administrator Antonio Orendain met the staff and shared significant points for partnership with the City Government of Zamboanga through the approval of the City mayor Hon. Celso L. Lobregat.

Bolstered by the belief that all of our interest in sustainable peace is a fundamental prerequisite for development, the MPW in partnership with the IRSMP and PAZ, seeks the support of the City government of Zamboanga in the peace campaign in two major activities namely a Citizens Peace Forum and Peace Run as it commences the ten-day Mindanao leg from Zamboanga City on August 21 through Pagadian and ends in Cotabato City on August 31.

“We sincerely hope that the City Government of Zamboanga will find this project worth supporting” added Mr. Miclat.  In our continuous pursuit in building peace in Mindanao especially at this very crucial juncture of our nation’s journey towards genuine peace and development for our peoples, it is but a good realization to involve everyone in all activities for peace.

The Citizens forum targets other sectors that were not given opportunities in many consultations held for the past years. It includes alumni and parents teachers associations, civic organizations, student organizations, cooperatives, environment and sports associations and other groups. Meanwhile, peace run will feature runners from the Visayas Region who are extending their solidarity to Mindanao in this special cause.

Indeed, the partnership that will be established with the City Government of Zamboanga will give great commendation not just tot he local officials but to the entire city as one of the peaceful cities in Mindanao.




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