EU Support to the Peace Process

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.

Additional background info.

The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) is a non‐profit, non‐governmental organization based in Mindanao engaged in a humanitarian mine action project. FSD teams conduct surveys of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and carries out risk education for communities in 26 municipalities in Maguindanao, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. In partnership with the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), the FSD programme is implemented under a signed agreement between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  The FSD and PCBL Mine Action programme was specifically mentioned in the recently signed final annex of the Framework Peace Agreement, in the context of its continued contribution to reconstruction, development and confidence-building efforts in support of the larger peace process.The programme is funded by the European Union and continues UXO survey and risk activities carried out in 2012-13.  Under the new 2014-15, “Mine Action Support to the Peace Process” programme, FSD and its local partner, PCBL, will also help to build local capacities in UXO clearance and weapons and explosives safety and security.

 

 

New EU support to the Philippines' peace process 

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, has today announced new EU funds of eight million euros to contribute to the economic and social recovery of conflict affected areas in Mindanao (The Philippines). The announcement was made during his first ever visit to the Philippines (10-12 Nov). The aim of the visit is to further advance bilateraldevelopment co-operation between the two parties.

See photos for Commissioner A. Piebalgs' visit to the Philippines at : http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/philippines/press_corner/photo_library/index_en.htm

The European Union helps people of Zamboanga avoid dangers of unexploded mines.

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. 

Members of  European Parliament visit Mindanao to express support for the Peace Process

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 pdf - 86 KB [86 KB]

 

EU Ambassador unveils peace murals and reiterates EU's commitment to the Peace process pdf - 31 KB [31 KB]

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.