EU Support to the Peace Process
Since 2011 the EU has been an active partner of the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Peace Process in Mindanao and has supported:
Peace keeping and monitoring work of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and of the members of its Civilian Protection Component: both Parties have been kept fully informed of this monitoring work done by EU experts, local NGOs and other International personnel on incidents particularly related to humanitarian and human rights law which were regularly addressed by the parties themselves.
Peace Negotiations facilitated by the International Contact group (ICG): the EU has supported the work of an International NGO (Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue-CHD) which as a member of the Group advises the Parties during their negotiations.
Confidence and Peace building actions the EU has supported the parties in jointly addressing issues such as joint clearance of unexploded ordnances through the NGO Fondation Suisse de Deminage. Additionally through EU funds, both Parties have benefited from the services of Eminent People and technical advisors who have provided critical advice and assistance.
Workshops and dialogue meetings to raise awareness of the significance of the Peace process to the various sectors of the population and community and to ensure people are aware of the importance of their involvement and contribution to the public consultation.
Grants to civil society organisations for the promotion of human rights, including of indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
As of January 2014, through the four new projects [19 KB] the EU will.
1) Back inclusiveness through formal and informal mediation and advocacy.
2) Maintain the support to the monitoring mainly through the newly established Third Party Monitoring Team-TPMT and partially through IMT (CPC component).
3) Focus more on local accountability to strengthen civil society networks and local institutions in view of the 2016 Elections in Bangsamoro.
58,000 copies of "A Primer on the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the Bangsamoro Law" has been produced.
The European Union through its partner the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is assisting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). Part of the assistance involves Technical support to the BTC's Communications Group whose Primer was translated into 6 local languages all 31,000 copies in February 2014. As of July 2014 the total number of primers printed at 58,000 in 8 languages.
The initial 33,000 copies of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission primers printed can be broken down to 5,000 copies each in English, Tagalog, Cebuano, Maguindanaon, Maranao and Sinug (Tausug) versions and 3,000 in Teduray. Around 200 copies were distributed to the BTC Commissioners, their staff and media during the launch of the primers in Manila and a few copies were given to members of the House of Representatives and key staff belonging to the Committees on Mindanao Affairs, Local Government, and Peace and Reconciliation during the lunch hosted by Speaker Belmonte for the BTC also in February 2014. In Manila, 2,200 copies went to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Government Peace Panel, 400 went to the National Commission in Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), 360 went to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 150 to the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI), a member of the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT). The bulk of the primers numbering 14,550 were sent to the BTC office in Cotabato while 400 went to the HD Centre Cotabato field office. The rest were sent to the following areas through the following organizations: 1,950 copies were distributed in Davao through the Mindanao People's Caucus (MPC) and the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID); 2,700 copies went to Iligan-based partners of the Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) for distribution in Lanao areas; 2,150 copies were sent to Zamboanga City to the MCSOPP for distribution in Basilan and Tawi Tawi and to the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) for distribution in the City; 750 copies were sent to General Santos City via the MCSOPP; 800 copies were sent to Basilan and 1,250 copies to Tawi Tawi for distribution by BTC-connected personnel while 3,650 copies were sent to Sulu and distributed by both HD Centre Sulu field office and the BTC.
The BTC requested 5,000 additional copies each for the English, Tagalog, Maguindanaon and Sinug versions and a new version in Kagan has also been produced in 5,000 copies. Click here to get the pdf copy.
EU Ambassadors visited Cotabato City to reiterate the commitment to support the peace process and development in Mindanao; 25-26 April 2014
EU Member States Ambassadors Thomas Ossowski of Germany, Massimo Roscigno of Italy, Josef Muellner of Austria, Roland Van Remoortele of Belgium, together with EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, visited Cotabato City on 25-26 April 2014 to reiterate the EU's commitment to the Mindanao peace process and development inMindanao. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the United Kingdom Embassy Trevor Lewis and Romania Embassy Mihai Sion, deputy Ambassadors of France Hugues-Antoine Suin and of Czech Republic Jan Vytopil, and Coordinator General of Spanish Cooperation in the Philippines Vicente Selles also joined the Ambassadors. During their visit,
Courtesy call on Atty. Laisa Alamia (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Executive Secretary)
The ARMM officials briefed the envoys on the key projects in the region. Among those who briefed the EU HOMs were ARMM Acting Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman and Executive Secretary Atty Laisa Alamia. After an exchange of views and Q&A session, the EU ambassadors praised the existing government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for its accomplishments in ensuring sustained peace and development in the area.
Meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad
The EU HoD commended both the government and MILF for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that will work for the greater interests of the entire country. He stressed that the EU is committed to provide support and development assistance for the successful implementation of the GPH – MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.Murad urged for development assistance and investments that will significantly help in the transformation of war ravaged communities in the Bangsamoro into peaceful and progressive region with promising prospects for a better future for its people regardless of race and religion. He stressed the priority programs of the MILF particularly during the transition period are on education, livelihood, health, infrastructure, and institutional and capacity development.
Visit to the project EU funded Mine Action Support to the Peace Process
The EU HOMs attended an unexploded ordnance (UXO) Risk Education session, being carried out in a school in Darapanan. The delegation received a briefing on the FSD Mine Action programme by the Programme Manager. After viewing the Mine risk education sessions, members of the delegation presented certificates to 10 trainees.
Meeting with the Mindanao Business Council
The UK based Ngo Conciliation Resources, in collaboration with its local partner, Mindanao Business Council, organized a Consultation with the Business sector in the Bangsamoro as part of its effort to raise awareness of the significance of the peace process to the various sectors of the population. Twenty (20) business leaders attended. During the meeting with the HOMs a business leader presented a summary of the results of the earlier discussion, particularly highlighting the business community’s issues and concerns regarding the Bangsamoro as well as their foreseen opportunities.
Official dinner with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission-BTC
The EU Ambassadors were received by BTC Deputy Chairman Akmad Sakkam and six other commissioners. In its speech the EU head of Delegation praised the BTC for doing an “amazing job” in passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law despite the time constraints encountered especially in the completion of the annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Deputy Chairperson Sakkam warmly thanked the European ambassadors for their visit to BTC. He also expressed the collective gratitude of the BTC over the EU’s earlier assistance in sponsoring some workshops and the production of the BTC primers in six major languages.
Visit to Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction & Development Project-Barangay Kurintem, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Province
The EU HoMs were warmly welcome and interacted with the population appreciating the impact of the project on the livelihood of over 4000 people.
In 2011 the community constructed a Community Learning Center/Multi-Purpose Building. This facility is used for training, seminars, weddings, symposiums, informal education and other purposes. The six deep artesian wells were also dug to provide safe water, reducing average collection time for beneficiaries by 10-15 minutes. Residents report easier access to water, lower cost and a reduction in water-borne disease and skin ailments.
EU-funded UXO Risk Education project continues to save lives in Zamboanga City
In September 2013, several weeks of intense conflict in Zamboanga left parts of the city in ruins and littered with unexploded ordnance (UXO). The affected area is known locally, and appropriately, as “Ground Zero”. As a proactive measure, to avert deaths and injuries from UXO once displaced communities return to their homes, FSD trained eighteen volunteers, including students and local NGO members, in mines and UXO risk education (MRE). Through the remainder of 2013 and into 2014, the volunteers disseminated vital UXO safety messages to IDPs in evacuation centres. UXO safety posters and billboards were placed in evacuation centres and at key points throughout the city. Now the evacuees have returned to their communities, UXO is still being found as rubble is cleared and homes are rebuilt. The safety messages posted throughout the city advise returnees on what to look out for, and what to do if they find it. People are following the advice. Wherever UXO is found, it’s reported to the Police Bomb Disposal team and, so far, despite the large amount of UXO being found, no deaths or injuries from UXO have been reported. Now, as part of the EU-funded “Mine Action Support to the Peace Process” programme, FSD has returned to Zamboanga to assist the volunteers to reinforce MRE safety messages in neighbourhoods affected by UXO and to help reduce the risk posed by these remnants of war.
As part of its commitment to support the Peace Process in Mindanao, the European Union is funding a programme to teach evacuees of Zamboanga how to avoid risks presented by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and mines.
The European Union, has supported the preparatory works of the Transition Commission through its Instrument for Stability and with the facilitation of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC).
On 16 May 2013 in Tagaytay City, Honorable Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, opened the "Consensus Building Workshop" of the Commission. The workshop, the third gathering of this Commission formed through EO 120 and tasked to draft a Basic Law to replace the existing organic act of the ARMM provided space for the 14 Commissioners and Chair Iqbal to get to know each other better, form a solid team and reach a consensus on many principles underlying its work as a Commission. At the end of three hard working days various consensus reached on the functions of the Transition Commission as the drafter of the Bangsamoro Basic law, a body that can propose Constitutional amendments to Congress, and as a clearing house for development in Muslim Mindanao. The works ended up on Friday 18 of May with an informal dinner to which EU Ambassador, H.E Guy Ledoux attended.
In the framework of their visit to the Philippines, the 7 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) flew to Cotabato City, Mindanao, on 13-14 February to express their support to the peace process between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The European Parliament which is the only directly-elected institution of the European Union acts as co-legislator, budgetary authority, and oversight body. It follows the situation in the Philippines closely with a particular focus on the issues of human rights and the ongoing peace processes. Through the issuance of resolutions, it has constantly advocated for a peacefully negotiated settlement of the conflicts and for the provision of EU support thereto
GPH, MILF, and EU join conflict affected communities to launch project on demining of previous fighting areas
On February 14, 2013, the Government of the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the European Union officially launched an action to clear previous fighting areas in Mindanao from explosive remnants of war. The event took place in Mother Kabuntalan, one of the municipalities in which fighting occurred leaving unexploded ordnances in its surroundings.
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton congratulates the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the conclusion of a framework peace agreement. [86 KB]
Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the conclusion of the framework peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made today the following statement: “I wish to express my congratulations to the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the Framework Peace Agreement in Manila on 7 October, 2012. The EU recognizes the contribution of the Malaysian facilitator of the peace talks, Tengku Dato' Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed as well as the members of the International Contact Group, to the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations.
To support the month of Peace launched by President Benigno Aquino III on 14 September, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux unveils peace murals and billboards at Cotobato City Airport on 25 September. The murals and billboards are based on paintings of the children of Maguindanao who participated in a competition organised by the International Monitoring Team in cooperation withe Department of Education of ARMM. Pictures are available at the photo library
Human rights training
As part of the EU support to the International Monitoring Team, the EU Human Rights expert, Cynthia Petrigh, conducted a training session for 60 participants on Human rights and International Humanitarian Law in Maguindanao on 28 January 2012.
Painting for Peace
A painting competition among children was launched earlier this year in an innovative approach of reaching out to communities in general, and children in particular, on the topic of peace. As many as 646 entries were received from pupils in 11 schools. The 12 winning contributions were awarded prices during a ceremony led by EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux in Cotabato City in February 2012.
Eminent 'peace process' persons visit the Philippines
The EU support to the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue of the International Contact Group made a visit to the Philippines of three eminent persons possible in May 2012. Ambassadors Vendrell, Satti and Dr. Papagianni held discussions and shared experiences with different stakeholders in the peace process both in Cotabato City and Manila in their recent visit to the country.
Increased presence of women in the peace process
Launched in 2011, the Mindanao Peoples' Caucus 'All Women Team' has successfully managed to reach out and include more women participating in the peace monitoring and peace building activities in the Mindanao peace process. As one of the EU supported members of the Civilian Protection Component of the International Monitoring Team, the women-only contingent has already showed positive results in ensuring that more and more women take an active part in their future.