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Peace process must be inclusive – Dureza

The government must first address the roots of the armed conflict to find a long-lasting solution to the decades-long rebellion in the country, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said on Wednesday.

Speaking during the 13th Mindanao Island Conference in Davao City, Dureza said that negotiating with various rebel groups is only one path to peace and that providing support to those who want to be included in the process is more crucial.

“The work for peace is not solely through negotiations with the other side,” Dureza stressed. “You have to address the causes why people rise against the government.

More than 200 provincial board members from across the country attended the conference at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.

He then likened the peace process to the “chicken and egg” dilemma which begs the question of which should come first – peace or development.

Dureza said that peace and development must be done simultaneously without waiting for the peace agreement to be forged.

He said that peace agreements “raise the expectations of people” like what happened during the signing of the final peace accord between the government and the secessionist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996 and the forging of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014.

The signing of agreements, he said, should not be the end all of the peace process.

“If we don’t respond, there will be unrest [and] dissatisfaction. They (people) will look at government as unresponsive,” Dureza stressed.

A more sustainable approach to the peace process, he said, is to “engage the larger peace table” which is the public.

 

“People must not feel alienated. You will create discontent and unpeace if you only take care of those who fight the government. They (people) will feel dissatisfaction,” Dureza said.

“There should be sensitivity and inclusivity [in the peace negotiations]. We must [always] put a peace lens on our projects,” he added.#