• Caught in-between Strategies

    by Luz Maria Martinez

    BetingIndigenous people around the world share a commonality—they have paid a price for being the original inhabitants of their countries.

    With the onset of colonization this cycle of oppression continues until today. Whether through expansionism or migration, the original inhabitants of the lands we inhabit have suffered and in some instances have been wiped off the face of the earth.

    At a recent forum on the plight of the Lumads at Miriam College in the Philippines, I had the chance to hear and talk to a peace advocate from the Lumad indigenous group.

  • Philippine Women Say: Pursue the BBL Initiative to Its Conclusion!

    mamasapanoOn January 25, 2015 a mission by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to serve arrest warrants against two men suspected of terrorist activities led to the death of over 40 members of the Philippine Police Special Action Force (SAF) and at least 16 members from the Muslim Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The clash between the SAF and the MILF, took place in the town of Mamasapano, in the Maguindanao Province in the southern island of Mindanao. The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also got involved in the firefight.

    At least four villagers, Badrudin Langalan, Murshid Hashim, Omar Dagadas, and five-year old Sarah Pananggulon were hit by stray bullets and died. An unknown number of civilians were injured.

    The incident caused the Philippine Congress to suspend the discussion of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will implement the agreements reached by the government and the MILF in the peace process.

    Below is the statement by Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (WE ACT 1325), a network of women's organizations that work for peace in the Philippines. Other women's organizations have called for an investigation into the encounter to determine what happened and to seek justice for the families of the civilians killed.

  • Is the Bangsamoro Law a Sure Step Towards Peace in the Philippines?

    by Juliana Cano Nieto

    On September 10, 2014, the government of the Philippines and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) presented before Congress the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This 119-page document sets the legal basis for the political and financial autonomy of the Muslim region in the southern island of Mindanao. Will this law and what will follow be sufficient to achieve the sustainable peace people in this region aspire to?

  • Building Bridges for Peace - Voices from the Isis Activist School for Women Human Rights Defenders for members of WeAct1325

    WHRD-exerciseAt a small hotel in Tagaytay, Philippines, a diverse group of women gathered to talk, dance, and share their stories of peace building in their communities.

    Some were indigenous, others, Moro (indigenous Islamic people in the southern Philippines). They came from nearby areas of Luzon, and from as far away as the southern reaches of Mindanao. Some were in their twenties, just beginning to shape their identities as defenders of human rights; others were in their fifties, looking back on decades of peace building, while looking forward to the years to come. They identified as NGO workers, community organisers, social workers, teachers, and peace activists. Some were very familiar with ideas of feminism, while others were newcomers. What they shared was a commitment to human rights and social justice.

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