COTABATO CITY—Representatives from BARMM ministries and offices participated in a Bangsamoro Peace Conference spearheaded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), in partnership with the Strategic Communications and Capacity Building (SCCB) Project in the Philippines, on Tuesday, June 14, in this city.
USIP is the United States’ nation institution dedicated to peace-building and working with the governments and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) around the world to support peace education and convening on reconciliation, transitional justice, religion and peacebuilding, and other key issues.
USIP Southeast Asia Senior Expert
Brian Harding believed that peace process is important not only for the people of the BARMM and the Philippines but also for the whole world, including the United States.
“We are taking this opportunity to introduce examples of work which the USIP has done around the world to support peace and to see their experiences that would be valuable for the BARMM,” Harding said.
He added that the the world needs a peace-building success stories such as the signed GPH-MILF Peace Agreement—the Bangsamoro Peace Process.
Meanwhile, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, in his statement read by Minister Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, recognized the presence of USIP personnel for taking interest in the Bangsamoro narrative with a high hope that they will find value in engaging the region.
“As we lay the foundation for a new era in the Bangsamoro through the implementation of our Peace Agreements with the Government of the Philippines, we call on our people to summon their strength and courage to stand together as one people aspiring for one goal, that of genuine peace and justice for all,” Ebrahim said.
“On part of the MILF, we do not only concern ourselves with our personal destinies, but more importantly, the destiny and the future of the Bangsamoro people, and we must continue to tread the difficult path—the path of personal sacrifice and the burden of ensuring the future of our people,” he added.
Chief Minister also emphasized that MILF is slowly transitioning into a social movement, with service delivery at its core, saying, “from fortification of camps with arms, we now venture into the development of our communities with new sets of learned skills using the transition period to transform from a revolutionary mindset into enabling leaders and managers in the government.”
“We have produced some of the great-hearted fighters in this part of the world and the great revolutionaries of our century, the most recent of them, the late Sheikh Salamat Hashim,” Ebrahim shared.
The peace conference was graced by Marjanie Macasalong of Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC), Deputy Minister Atty. Haron Meling of Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE), Chief of Macro-Economic Planning Division Ms. Camella De Vera-Dacanay of Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), Peace Program Officer Sittie Janine Gamao of Ministry of Public Safety and Order (MPOS), and Executive Director Ameen Andrew Alonto of Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO).
Also included in the USIP team were Director of Gender Policy and Strategy Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast, Senior Expert-Reconciliation Dr. Carl Stauffer, Myanmar Country Director Mr. Jason Tower, Program Specialist of Myanmar and Southeast Asia Ms. Gabriela Sagun, and Dr. Haroro Ingram, SCCB Coordinator. (Kasan M. Usop, Jr./BIO)