The conflict with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has been framed purely from a militaristic point of view,” stressed a participant at the National Peace Forum organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), the Center for Peace Education (CPE) at Miriam College, and the Young Women + for Peace and Leadership (YWPL) in Manila, Philippines on March 6 th, 2019.
The National Peace Forum convened key stakeholders from national government, civil society organizations, security sector, academia, local government, youth organizations, and faith-based organizations to analyze the prospects of an informal peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF; and reframe the response to the conflict into one that address its root causes. With the aim of de-escalating the weaponized approach to the peace process, participants discussed Tracks 1.5 and 2 activities that could be conducted by local women-run civil society organizations in collaboration with key stakeholders in barangays (local government). Through these activities, local women will work to bolster the informal peace process between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF and advocate for the resumption of an inclusive, formal peace negotiation after repeated failed attempts over the past 30 years.
Given the recent ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law through plebiscites held in January and February 2019, the National Peace Forum addressed the way forward in the implementation of the peace agreement signed in 2014 between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government of the Philippines. The ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law, which grants the region greater political autonomy, brought new hopes to the implementation the peace agreement with MILF. The formation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) following the plebiscites is a most welcome development. The BTA will be responsible for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Local women’s meaningful participation
The National Peace Forum aimed to identify effective mechanisms to ensure local women’s meaningful participation, leadership, and influence in the BTA and the full implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law; as well as in the informal peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF.