Mindanao. peace communication

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Formal peace talks must be accompanied by public peace communication. While the confidentiality of peace negotiation must be respected, people's confidence on of the peace process must also be won. this presentation shares some insights on how to get the larger public incolved in the peace process, especially in the context of Mindanao, Philippines.

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Mindanao. peace communication

  1. 1. BEYOND THE PEACE TALKSContribution from Public Consultationto Peace Communication ALBERT E. ALEJO, SJ Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue Ateneo de Zamboanga University
  2. 2. MILF call for sincerityIf the Aquino administration is engaged in real-problem solving in the negotiation, it is likely to...strike a balance between transparency through consultation and confidentiality, because real, hard, and successful negotiation especially sovereignty-based will not succeed if everybody is allowed to poke their noses on it.”---MILF: Peace talks may be over in 1 year, depending on gov’t sincerity. GMANews, (October 30, 2010)
  3. 3. Peace process, to a very great extent, must be participatoryWhile we respect the creative confidentiality necessary for any formal negotiation, we are also duty bound to defend the people’s right to sufficient information on matters as important as the source of their security.
  4. 4. …especially Mindanao PeaceThe Mindanao peace process, in particular, is too precious to be left alone to the formal negotiation between the two fighting forces, even under the watch of foreign facilitators and observers. We need to heed the visions, voices, and values of diverse groups, starting from the communities who are directly hit by conflict and extending to all the rest of the country whose lives are also at stake.
  5. 5. Political Solution, yes…Yes, there must be political solutions tohistorically-rooted problems. We shouldhave learned by now that no amount ofdevelopment projects can resolve deep-seated issues on identity and self-determination.
  6. 6. … but also social cohesion please!But while it is true that only governments and revolutionary groups may sign peace agreements, ultimately, it’s the people who have to mend the social fabric, rebuild institutions, heal wounds, respect boundaries, and restore friendship. It’s the people who have to endure or enjoy the consequences both of starting war and stopping it.
  7. 7. How do people participate?People have spoken and continue tospeak through various channels. But moreespecially, we can hear them throughvarious consultations and dialoguesinitiated by different organizations, fromthe religious to the business sectors, fromacademics to artists, from civil societyorganizations to traditional religiousleaders.
  8. 8. First, consult them…“There has been a surfeit of publicconsultations post MOA-AD, most notablyKonsult Mindanaw and DialogueMindanaw. The challenge is to draw thebest inputs from these consultations, not‘reinvent the wheel’ on this, further consultmore purposively and creatively on whathas not yet been covered, and establishmechanisms for these to effectively forkinto the actual peace negotiations.” ---SolSantos, Aquino’s GRP-MILF Peace Talks: Hopes, Fears, Tasks (2010)
  9. 9. Then, communicate with them…Newspapers today carry a lot more views--- and assertions---on the road to peace in Mindanao . This really calls for the urgent creation of a Communication Team or Mechanism that will feed the people with more carefully worded information, background, and analysis of events, positions, and emotions
  10. 10. What do we address?1. EMOTIONS. People feel hurt, harbormistrust, but could also be hopeful. Andthese emotions could vary from personalexperiences to regional or sectoraldifferences. We cannot equate oneemotion with one whole ethnic or regionalblock. Communication Program mustmake people feel that their feelings arebeing acknowledged.
  11. 11. 2. IDEAS. Many people still do notunderstand the difference between MNLFand MILF; but some other people arealready asking about foreign interventionin the peace process. We cannotpresuppose that what is familiar to activeCSOs or academe are clear to the people.Or whether what is clear to the people isactually accurate.
  12. 12. Call for Sincerity(a) Both panels are sincere. First, we needto tell the people that the two panels haveactually agreed on a number of goodthings. It is not true that the talks are notgoing anywhere. The two peace panels,for example, have agreed on measurescessation of hostilities, rehabilitation, andeven on the non-use of landmines. And itis good for people to know this.
  13. 13. (b) There are really difficult issues. Try toexplain the validity of many positions andinterests, thus helping people understandwhy these things are not as easilyresolved. During our consultations anddialogues, we realize how appreciativepeople could be once they themselvessee the difficulty of finding readymadesolutions to deep-seated problems.
  14. 14. (c) Create a channel for feedback. TheCommunications Program must also offera clear channel for people to express theirupdated sentiments: could be in the formof an office with email, fax, fone number,twitter, facebook, forums, etc. In the meantime, other forms of sincerity must be feltby the people, e.g. real effort to confiscateloose firearms, arrest war profiteers, andsecurity cluster reform.
  15. 15. (d) There must be a “face” that representsall these sincere efforts. By “face” is meanta real person or a small group of persons,who embody and exudes the sincerity ofthe main peace stakeholders, especiallythe government. The members of thepeace panel must be known to the people,but, the political task of facing the publicmay be done by more charismaticpersonalities.
  16. 16. Don’t exclude the people!“Even the best efforts of government leaders constantly face constraints and limitations. It may be that if people own the process, they will work hard to ensure viable outcomes and overcome the inevitable obstacles that arise once the agreement is in place. 2)
  17. 17. …The earlier we engage in the task of building the social infrastructure of peace, the sooner societies will come closer to another reality where the dignity of difference is celebrated, political tolerance observed and a just peace becomes possible.” ---Ed Garcia, Accord. Owning the Process: Public Participation in Peacemaking (200
  18. 18. People will judge the process…“The last thing we want is to have anexcellent draft of a peace agreement, onlyto be rejected by the people, simplybecause we failed to communicate withthem.”--- Sen. Teofisto Guingona, III.Mindanao Media Summit (November 7,2010)
  19. 19. At the end of the day…“While governments and revolutionary groups may sign peace agreements, ultimately, it’s the people who have the burden---and the joy---of rebuilding schools and houses, re-trusting institutions, welcoming ex-combatants, looking for new breed of leaders, nourishing the environment, energizing tired bodies, bridging gaps across mindsets, healing painful memories, and appeasing the spirits of the land.”
  20. 20. BEYOND THE PEACE TALKSContribution from Public Consultationto Peace Communication ALBERT E. ALEJO, SJ Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue Ateneo de Zamboanga University
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