Mar 282015
Women’s groups staged a joint peace parade in Quezon City on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Signed in March 2014, the CAB is a new framework to achieve peace in Mindanao, a landmark document born out 17 years of negotiations.

The two merged parades, “Women’s March for Peace” and “SUROY-SUROY SA KALINAW: Kapayapaan sa Mindanao, Kapayapaan Nating Lahat,” were initiated respectively by civil society organization WE ACT 1325 and the Philippine National Police.

“Ang laban para sa kapayapaan ay laban ng mga kababaihan. Panahon na upang iparinig natin sa buong sambayanan ang samang-samang tinig ng mga kababaihan,” proclaimed government peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer during the start of the event held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, where the women gathered before marching to the streets.

Ferrer, who has stood by the peace agreement even amid the public uproar that stemmed from the bloody Mamasapano incident, stressed that women are among those most affected by the armed conflict in Mindanao.  

At least, 60 were killed in the Mamasapano clash last January 25, including 44 police commandos, who were on a covert anti-terror mission in Maguindanao.

The bloodbath has threatened the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which defines the structure and powers of the Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Bagama’t walang pinipili ang giyera, isang katotohanan na ang mga kababaihan ang isa sa mga lubhang nahihirapan sa panahong tulad nito. Bukod sa pag-aalaga at paghahanap buhay para sa kaniyang pamilya’t anak, dumadagdag ang giyera sa pasanin ng babae,” Ferrer said.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary and peace panel member Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao also declared her stand regarding the upcoming elections, and urged women’s groups to look to peace above all.

“Iparating natin sa ating mga mambabatas na nangangarap sa 2016, kung eleksyon na ang iniisip ninyo, hindi ninyo makukuha ang boto namin kung giyera lang ang gusto ninyo,” stated Lao. “Kami ay para sa kapayapaan.”

Participating organizations include the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Navy, the National Youth Commission (NYC); Akbayan Party-list, Makati Business Club, INCITEGov, and Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), Balay Rehabilitation Center, Generation Peace, GZO Peace Institute, Generation Peace Youth Network, Initiative for International Dialogue (IID), KOMPRE, People Power Volunteers for Reform, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, Professors for Peace, Young Public Servants, among others. Jessica Bartolome/LBG, GMA News

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