Peaceful Conflict Transformation” Civil Society Responses to the Conflict in Mindanao

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Nummer 3



Schriftenreihe des Asienhauses

Peaceful Conflict Transformation”

Civil Society Responses to the Conflict in Mindanao
Rafael R. Gomez, Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr. et. al



The Opinions expressed in Focus Asien does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Asienhaus nor Asienstiftung.

The compilation of this studie has been assisted with funds of the German

Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This edition was edited by Klaus Fritsche, Niklas Reese and Katharina Stahlenbrecher

2001 by Asien-Stiftung, Essen

Reproduction and other kind of publishing of material appearing in this publicaton is welcome, but has to be acknowledged.
Asien-Stiftung für das Asienhaus Essen, Bullmannaue 11, 45327 Essen
Telefon: +49 . 201 . 830 38-38; Fax: +49 . 201 . 830 38-30;

ISBN 3-933341-09-4

Table of Contents

Manfred Kulessa, Chairman of the German Asia Foundation

Preface 5

Civil Society Peace Intitiatives in Resoponse to the Mindanao Conflict.
A Preliminary Study

Introduction 6

Chapter I

The Root of the Conflict 7

Chapter II:

Assessing the Gains of Peace Builders 13

Chapter III

The 2000 Assault on the MILF 17

Chapter IV

Review of Civil Society Responses 22

Chapter V

A Brief Analysis of the Peace Programs 34

Recommendations 38

Fermin and Lourdes Adriano, Elisa M. Buctuanon, Alexandra Tañada-Medina,
Ronald Amorado, Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr.

Mindanao’s Agenda for Peace and Development

Mindanao – Neck-Deep in Trouble 42

1.1 Social Injustice 44
1.2 Physical Devastation 44
1.3 Contracting Economy 44
1.4 Delayed/Foregone Infrastructure Investments
1.4 Road to Peace Made More Difficult

2. Root cause of the conflict: Poverty and Socio-Political Problems 48
2.1 High Poverty and Social Inequality 48
2.2 Failed Political Institutions and Fragmented Responses

3. Towards a Framework for a better Mindanao 52

4. Proposed Agenda for Peace and Sustainable Development 53

Agenda for the Next 100 Days 54

4.1 Peace Agenda 54
4.2 Economic Agenda
4.3 Social Reform Agenda
4.4 Enabling Mindanao Empowerment

Agenda for 2001 – 2004 60

5.1 Peace Formula that is a Win-Win Solution 60
5.2 Poverty Reduction
5.3 Enabling Mindanao Empowerment
5.4 Laying the Groundwork for Global Competition 63

References 65

Tables and Appendices 69

About the authors and organisations 83

When a German family, among others, were kidnapped and held as hostages on an island in the Southern Philippines last year, the German public was suddenly confronted, as part of the story, with news from a far away region characterized by a violent conflict with historical roots and political background hardly known to anyone in our country.

Islam came to the Philippines in the 13th century, more than two hundred years before Christianity. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and other rebel movements trace their history to the Moro wars and the resistance against the Spanish colonization which tried to eradicate Islam and impose Christianity. Additionally, Mindanao resistance is rooted in the disenfranchisement of indigenous populations, both of their rights to ancestral lands and their exercise of self-governance. Policies during the American colonial interlude and (since 1945) the independent republic perpetuated the social, economic, and political marginalization of predominantly Muslim people in Southern Philippines.

The call for independence and to armed confrontation was the consequence. Since more than a quarter of a century, periods of rebellion and efforts to negotiate peace on the basis of autonomy followed. Concluded agreements, e.g. in 1976 and 1996, led to cease-fire and raised hopes which, unfortunately, were bitterly disappointed when the central government did not keep its promises, and renewed violence followed. When the kidnapping affair was finished, international attention faded away, and European media hardly even noticed the military actions that characterized government reaction.

The German Asia Foundation, whose purpose is to foster understanding of Asian issues, has asked some of their research contacts of the civil society in the Philippines to provide basic information about the conflict in the region as well as of their efforts of creating and supporting peace initiatives in the conflict-ridden region. We trust that this study report will be useful to understand the roots and dimensions of the conflict as well as the chances for its peaceful solution which need national and international support to be realized.

We not only have to thank the authors of both studies for their contribution, but also the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs - as part of supporting the Asia Europe People's Forum in Seoul (October 2000) - made this publication possible.

Manfred Kulessa
Chairman of the German Asia Foundation

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