For the past few months, I have been involved with MY Stand for Peace in Mindanao, a movement which aims to mobilize the Moro youth to become active participants in achieving lasting peace and development in Mindanao. The group has launched three events since July which included presentations from Atty. Johaira Wahab, legal head of the government peace panel, former Chief Negotiator Marivic Leonen (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), Michael Alar of Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and other distinguished guests from the government and NGOs.
After its first workshop in July 2012, the group released its general standpoints after a consultation with Moro professionals and students. These are the following:
1. We advocate for peaceful means of resolving the armed conflict between the government and the MILF- through political settlement.
2. We agree and advocate for the recognition of Bangsamoro identity while at the same time holding Filipino citizenship.
3. We agree that the MILF legitimately represents the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration for self-governance in the peace negotiations with the government of the Philippines.
4. We support the goal of resolving the armed conflict and its root causes through the peace process – and that the latter will be no longer protracted – in the Aquino administration such as the signing and implementation of a final peace agreement before the next administration.
5. We want the peace process to be participative and inclusive of all stakeholders of peace in Mindanao, including the youth and marginalized sectors. We support the call for the MNLF and MILF to come together and present a united approach to resolve the Bangsamoro Question.
The standpoints were crafted in reaction to the GPH-MILF Decision Points on Principles released April of this year. During the second workshop, we had the opportunity to discuss the general state of the peace process with Marivic Leonen who expressed confidence of a soon to be signed agreement. A couple of days after, the Framework Agreement was concluded which was followed by a historic signing of the document in front of international dignitaries and more than a hundred MILF fighters in Malacañang.
This agreement is but a sign that the two parties have agreed to replace the existing Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao with a new political autonomous entity called Bangsamoro. More contentious issues such as power, wealth sharing and normalcy are still being discussed on the table. Meanwhile, the creation of the new entity itself will take several years from the crafting of the basic law, legislation and approval from the Congress, plebiscite and the establishment of a Transition Authority which will assume the powers of ARMM before the 2016 elections. Click the infographic above to see a detailed process of the establishment of the Bangsamoro.
Recently, the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN), which organized the MY Stand for Peace in Mindanao, have initiated events for the greater understanding of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement. Last November, a youth forum on the Framework Agreement was held in De Lasalle College of St. Benilde with more than 200 people from different sectors in attendance. The event was organized by the college in partnership with YMPN and several other organizations.