Written by Amparo Pamela H. Fabe, a senior fellow at the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), this policy paper is a product of the IAG and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung roundtable discussion “Bangsamoro: Beyond the Rhetoric and Sound Bites” in Makati City on January 30, 2013. 




The Framework Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has no place for small or zero-sum minds. The recently signed peace agreement points to a peace dividend and poses a likely economic bonus for Mindanao. This peace agreement has been forged in the anvil of trust and openness. These are essential and welcome developments.   


This peace call is based on the realities on the ground. This peace agreement takes place within the backdrop of a long saga of mistrust and miscalculation on the part of the GPH and the rebel groups in Mindanao. The GPH and the MILF deserve much credit for overcoming decades of distrust and bitterness. These trends have been unfolding slowly over these years, but the peace process have been dramatically accelerated by the emergence of local leaders with the political courage to recognize when changing situations called for a considerable shift in often hard-held positions.


The public support for the FA sends a clear message from the community that it does not want a return to the past, and that its people are determined to build for the future and to stop the horror and silence of violence. When the communities have that strength, that determination, then the message is clear: momentum and progress are possible. However, other quarters may view this Framework Agreement with “modest optimism" because of the inherent complexities uncertainties and sensitivities involved.


All the peace stakeholders should proceed with caution and should read the lessons of history correctly. President Benigno Aquino III has considered the 1996 Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao experiment as a failure. This new Framework Agreement is under considerable political and public pressure to succeed. The Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front must adhere to predictable rules of behavior that are consistently, firmly and uniformly applied.


The current peace rhetoric may stay the same, but the demand is totally different. Its purity lies now more in the process itself than in the ideas that are being driven through it. This evolving engagement with the appointment of the Transitional Commission and the drafting of the Basic Law present a crucial phase of the Framework Agreement. It is expected that the final outcome of the Basic Law can be slightly different from what the MILF now declares to be its minimum demands. This present stance on the part of the MILF leadership may sound equally certain and unyielding but it is in its very essence can be considered as profoundly accommodating.


The Aquino Administration has been firm in pushing this agreement through and focuses on the “deliverables” (within the bounds of the 1986 Constitution) to ensure peace. In particular, the consent principle on the part of both parties, in whatever form it appears, will allow the agreement to be presented as "draft peace agreement”. The present draft framework agreement is strategically appealing to the MILF leadership.


Having come this far in the process, and having participated in securing an agreement along broadly framework lines (an assumption that we must for present purposes make), the MILF has increased their respective political stake in this process. The establishment of the Bangsamoro as a New Political Entity (NPE) referred to in the Decision Points of Principles as of April 2012 is a positive development for the MILF. The MILF leadership has never seen, and perhaps, will never again see, a national central government who is so devoted to respecting its sensitivities.


The simple mantra that the outcome of the peace negotiations will fail to deliver the peace dividend poses a problem with respect to the high expectations of the residents in Mindanao, the MILF and the GPH. The main positive development on the peace issue is the renewed commitment by the GPH and the MILF to work within the new framework for its substantive goal of achieving a long-lasting peace.


After the drafting of the Basic Law, the campaign for the national and local plebiscite is also likely to change the atmosphere of Philippine politics in unforeseeable directions. In the likely event that the plebscite process does push through, the momentum for a Yes vote in the two plebiscites will be enormous. The likely mobilization of local, national and international opinion in favor of a double Yes vote will be shaped by the interplay of forces in Philippine politics. The government and MILF peacemakers will want to be seen as peace-takers by basking in the international and national glory of affirmation.


The current Framework Agreement has to contend with these fundamental factors:

a.) legal challenges to the Framework Agreement;

b.) public support and social acceptability by the Bangsamoro in Mindanao;

c.) Political Process in the Formulation of the Basic Law;

d.) Role of International Bodies and Local Non-Governmental Organizations with respect to the Peace Process;

e.) Administrative Capability of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority;

f.) Political Realities after the 2013 national and 2016 presidential elections; and

g.) Geo-economic issues with respect to strategic resources and the ASEAN 2015.


Vignettes of the Roundtable Discussion


Atty. Benny Bacani, Executive Director of the Institute of Autonomy and Governance draws attention to the three salient points that are pertinent to the Bangsamoro Political Entity: a.) its implementation; b.) its workable framework; and c.) its capability to pass the judicial test. He further expounds on the dynamics and nuances of the provisions of the Framework Agreement (FA). He explains that there are different scenarios and tension points that can derail the peace agreement. He emphasizes that the IAG as an institution has always pushed for peace, autonomy and governance. He stresses the importance of ensuring a specific road map that respects the concept of self-determination.


Mr. Peter Koeppinger, the Country Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation says the Foundation has fully supported the peace process and is strongly involved in the discussions on ways to achieve peace in Mindanao. The Foundation hopes to contribute to the sustainability of the peace process. One of the projects of the Foundation is to help establish Peace and Order Councils in Mindanao. The Foundation has fostered linkages with key players in civil society to support the political process. The Foundation has helped establish a Centrist Democratic Party in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This political party has been recently granted due recognition by the COMELEC as a national party. This is an inclusive party which is made up of Indigenous Peoples and Christians who follow a centrist philosophy. Cagayan de Oro Congressman Rufus Rodriguez heads the party. There is a full line-up of representatives from the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the next national elections.  Moreover, the Foundation is in the process of starting a project focusing on human security.


Legal Challenges


In the process of the finalization of the Framework Agreement, the two parties can work on three overlapping strands: 1.) the issues strategy with respect to the substantive elements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; 2.) a process strategy with respect to the nature and flow of the process and 3.) the timing strategy which relies on the timing of their efforts.


The political actors can promote and defend their respective interests and apply cooperative and competitive moves. They can also share the sensitivities of their respective constituencies with the other party. Effective listening on both parties will allow them to somehow be more inclined to trust and respect one another. The main avenues of approach will be to promote further public and political support for the peace process.


The first important factor is the onset of the possible legal challenges to the Framework Agreement in the Supreme Court. According to former UP College of Law Dean Merlin Magalona, the FA has serious legal deficiencies. One, the signed FA has no annexes, which forms the substantive core of the agreement. The absence of the annexes is not possible given the current legal requirements pertaining to the legal validity of the FA. The present form of the FA may face unconstitutionality challenges in the Supreme Court.  Currently, there is one petition pending before the Supreme Court. Dean Magalona says that there are two more petitions that will be filed in the Supreme Court.


Another perspective on this issue is that the FA is still being worked out pending consultation with various stakeholders. Fr. Jun Mercado, Senior Adviser of the IAG affirms that the FA is still a work-in-progress, hence, some parts like the Annexes are still not there. The entries to the Annexes need to be studied thoroughly by both parties, the GPH and the MILF.


Atty. Bong Montesa contends that the FA will have to hurdle major legal obstacles in the process of taking its final form. He points out that the Supreme Court can intervene by the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order with respect to the elements of Comprehensive Pact, the BBL, the insertions to the BBL by the members of the Philippine Congress (Senate and the House of Representatives), the holding of the national and local plebiscite, the question on the validity of the plebiscite.


Dean Merlin Magalona also cites the need to determine the legal limitations of the FA as an Executive Agreement. For the purposes of the FA, this agreement is valid only for the Aquino Administration. It remains to be seen whether this agreement will be acceptable to the next Administration.  Atty. Abbas contends that any agreement consists of two phases: the preliminary agreement and the final agreement. He states that the FA may be considered as a preliminary agreement between the GPH and the MILF; the acceptability of the Basic Law represents the final agreement.


Atty. Abbas raises the pernicious definitions that are present in the FA. He states that the concept of the Bangsamoro is used in different forms in the FA. He affirms that the Bangsamoro means “bangsa” which pertains to race and “Moro” which refers to the residents of Mindanao.


Public Support and Social Acceptability


The Framework Agreement has built up momentum by gaining early wins through the agreement on principles. The second important factor is the level of public support and social acceptability of the Bangsamoro FA in Mindanao. Fr. Jun Mercado asserts that the FA has the massive support in Maguindanao and the key leaders of the MILF. The degree of optimism on the part of the people on the ground is clearly palpable.  Fr. Jun Mercado also emphasizes that for as long as the substantive issues covering the powers, territory and revenue generation and wealth sharing remain in the final form of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the MILF leadership will continue to support the peace process. Fr. Jun says that if 50% or at least more than 50% of the final Comprehensive Peace Agreement conforms to the Basic Law, then the agreement will have the support of the MILF leadership. 


Furthermore, Fr. Jun explains that the MILF leadership has no pretensions or illusions that they fully represent the Bangsamoro but they have cultivated the Bangsamoro imagination. As for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Chairman Nur Misuari will find it impossible during this current Aquino Administration to link with Secretary Ging Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP). President Noynoy Aquino will not appoint Nur. However if Chairman Misuari will step down and give way to a younger generation of MILF fighters, then they will have a platform in the new Government and the commitment to the Organization of Islamic Countries will continue.  The MILF will continue to include all Bangsamoro representations. There is a need to re-define the Bangsamoro. This is a unique change. The representation will be inclusive-the bottomline is  the impact of the Bangsamoro on making a change


Atty. Abbas highlights the favored status of the MILF with respect to the agreement. He laments the fact that the MILF does not recognize the Union of Islamic Forces which is the precursor organization which has worked for the interests of the Bangsamoro composed of the Muslim royalty, the local politicians and the inhabitants of Sulu and Basilan. He points out that the leaders of this agreement were not real revolutionaries as these personalities were part of the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s.


Atty. Abbas further highlights the lack of public support in Mindanao for the FA. He also argues that the Indigenous Peoples (IP) should not be included in the FA. He reasoned out that the IPs have their own concerns and because of this, the IPs should have a different and separate political agreement with the GPH.  Another argument is the point in the FA that states that the Bangsamoro refers to the people who are inhabitants of Mindanao after the conquest. He points out that this is an inaccurate assertion and a distortion of historical facts since the Muslims were never conquered by foreign powers. Instead, it was the other way around, it was the foreign colonizers who made peace with the Muslims.


Atty. Suharto Ambolodto of AUSAID underscores the need for stakeholders to apprise themselves of the different possibilities that the current peace negotiations would bear in the near future. Tracking these possibilities should result in constructive approaches, better engagement between and among stakeholders, and enhanced structures and administrative capacities as we move forward to peace. He cautions that disappointment must be addressed in case expectations, especially of people on the ground, are not met. He says that if the current administration fails, the people down south will then wait again for the next conducive environment to arrive at the real solution to the Mindanao conflict.    


Another thorny issue is the composition of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) which will be appointed by President Aquino. Will the BTA give equal representation to the different ethnic and social groups that make up the Bangsamoro people? Will the BTA representation reflect faithfully the complete aspirations of the Bangsamoro people? Will the BTA members fully implement the provisions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law throughout the geographic area stipulated under the provisions of the Framework Agreement? Will the BTA implement a favored status on some geographical areas of the BNE?


The possible lack of due and equal representation by other members of the Bangsamoro groups within the BTA may result in a drastic erosion of a high public support for the peace process on the part of the isolated parties and those rebel groups who do not conform to the requisites of the peace process. The political advisers of the Aquino Administration need to study the composition carefully to adopt a more inclusive and shared approach.


Atty. Salma Rasul of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy points out that the annexes in the works should address issues on fiscal autonomy, investments, and taxation, adding that the new entity would not truly become autonomous unless these issues are dealt with in the annexes on wealth and power sharing.


Political Process in the Formulation of the Basic Law


The introduction of possible revisions to the BBL that will be drafted by the BTA will yield flash point areas that will give rise to the formulation and adoption of reasonable compromises on the part of the GPH and the MILF. In the process of the formulation of the BBL, there is a need to determine if the final and revised form of the BBL will still reflect the genuine aspirations of the MILF-led peace negotiations team.


The specific nuances of the substantive issues of the peace agreement need to be carefully understood by the different political actors. The different political phases from the adoption of the Framework Agreement to the changes in the draft agreement in the Office of the President will give rise to new BBL provisions. Then the inputs from Congress regarding the BBL will give rise to new concepts, models and terms that will be used.


The BBL has to follow the legal process by passing through the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Philippine Congress and the Office of the President. The main question is that given the possible multiple revisions to the components of the BBL, will the BTA still accept the final form? Will the MILF further add amendments to the revised Bangsamoro Basic Law to make it more acceptable to its immediate constituencies and sympathizers?  Will the final form of the BBL be acceptable to the local politicians in Mindanao? Will the final form of the BBL be acceptable to the public?


Some stakeholders may assert that the Framework Agreement has given substantial concessions to favor Malaysian and MILF interests. This thorny problem can be resolved through the initiation of further explanations from the members of both negotiating peace panels.


Dr. Jose Abueva states that as early as the Presidency of Fidel V. Ramos, he had already finished a concept paper on the Bangsamoro issue. This paper became one of the references of the peace agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front.  Dr. Abueva adds that there is a need to push for the BTA because it will pave the way for other groups to have the same concession from the government. In the Cabinet of President Aquino, we can find one of the foremost proponents of federalism in the person of Secretary Butch Abad. In the second half of the Aquino Administration, the President will think about legacy. The political and policy environment might change by then and the president may be open to federalism. 


Role of Civil Society, and International Bodies


Civil society organizations are reliable advocates of social transformation who support greater cross-community peace-buildinginitiatives throughout the peace process. These civil society organizations foster community cohesion, sharing and integration and provide the social framework for the interface of the Bangsamoro communities. There might be violence during the interfaces between communities, which will affect lives, property, business,and public services. The interfaces can regulate intercommunity relations and may compress the social spaces into possible sites of resistance and violence. The interface areas vary in form and style. Safety and security of the people is of paramount importance.


It is understandable that the framework agreement may leave many loose ends on key issues involving the transformation policies that provide inducements for inter-community cooperation focusing on shared institutions. The civil society, composed of the international bodies, and NGOs can bring forward a program of cohesion and integration to address the possible divisions within the communities.


There are multiple initiatives within civil society that advance democracy and justice, such as integratededucation and housing, and “intercommunalassociation” (Taylor 2001:47).  In addition, there can be joint development that will translate into real and meaningful inter-community networks.


Contact work can be carried out by civil society organizations and international and local bodies because it reducesits role to one of encouraging cross-community contact. Connolly (2000: 171) proposes a twin track approach in a peace process: there is ‘certainly aneed to maintain a clear focus on the central role played by the broader social structuresand institutions, but it is also important that the more micro and interpersonal processesand practice which help to sustain and reproduce racial and ethnic divisions are notoverlooked’.


Mr. Ali Saleem of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue says that with the peace agreement being a work-in-progress, there is a need to determine the kind and the manner of possible engagements that civil society organizations and international organizations need to adopt. There is also a need for these organizations to determine their roles after the comprehensive peace agreement has been reached.


The civil society organizations can establish cross-community networks running alongside a social justiceagenda to tackle inequalities and injustices between the communities. The process of social transformation can be successful if the local communities in Mindanao want a shared future. For instance, the German government can propose a conflict management project that will draw away the youth from interface violence and tension and channel their energies on positive activities.


A crucial point in the peace process is the role that the international bodies and non-governmental organizations would take on with respect to the BTA. The major players with respect to the peace process are the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the International Monitoring Group, the International Contact Group, the Malaysian Government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the German and Spanish aid agencies, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue. There are also many foreign aid agencies such as the World Food Programme, the International Red Cross which have specific interventions on the ground and local NGOs, which are engaged in the Peace Process, such as the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG).


The key factors that need to be resolved are as follows: a.) what would be the primary nature of engagement that the international bodies and NGOs would  take with respect to the BTA; b.) what are the possible forms of engagement that the international bodies  and NGOs can take on; c.) what types of resources and what level of resources  should these international bodies and NGOs give to maintain the stability and sustainability of the BTA?;  and, d.) what is the desired period of engagement that these civil society organizations can implement in the context of the BTA?


A comprehensive peace-building plan hopes to achieve community-based reconciliation throughthe promotion of shared services, facilities and public spaces. For instance the planmay comprise four key strands:

(a) Peace-building activities: comprises the livelihood projects for families, ahealth and women’s development project, cultural initiative, youth activities and sportsdevelopment schemes.

(b) Joint advocacy: consist of lobbying the national government agencies on a joint community basis to addressthe social and economic needs of the Bangsamoro people;

(c) Building capacity for peace building: mainly achieved through community leadership and wideningand deepening the basis of community self-help; and,

(d) Developing shared space: by targeting land resources that is owned by the government that could bereclaimed as joint community facilities that can be managed by localpeople from the different communities.


Finally, these civil society organizations and international bodies can work for subtle goals such as empowering the individuals and households, transforming the local communities and setting constructive processes of engagements in the peace process.


Administrative Leadership and Capability of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority


Once the Bangsamoro New Entity has been established, a challenge that arises is the level of administrative leadership and capability of the Bangsamoro leaders to ensure that the political and economic benefits of the peace process will trickle down to the underprivileged sectors. The leaders must start cultivating and retaining human capital in the region to prepare it for further development. There has to be a form of preparation for these leaders since they will manage huge resources and implement massive economic development in the BNE.


Another important issue is the form and speed of the ongoing preparations that is carried out by the Bangsamoro leaders for the eventual establishment of the Bangsamoro New Entity. Dr. Clarita Carlos states that there is a need for the Bangsamoro leaders to effectively implement educational and social initiatives to build up professional competence in all areas while the legal luminaries are resolving the issues of the Framework Agreement. She challenged the Bangsamoro residents to start their own educational and social projects to improve the Human Development Index in the region.


Yusoph Morales, a Muslim scholar, further laments the continued poverty of the residents in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). He states that there urgent need for the channeling of more government resources and technical support to these areas.  He cites that the ARMM areas registered low levels in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) study.  


Political Support for the Basic Law after 2016


The huge importance of continued political support for the Framework Agreement is inherently indispensable. The obstacles to the successful fulfillment of the peace process are multiple and varied.  Professor Rommel Banlaoi, Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research has expressed his serious apprehensions and misgivings with respect to the acceptability of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority by major politicians after the 2013 national elections and the 2016 presidential elections. He raises the distinct possibility that the new composition of the Philippine Congress after the 2013 elections may not be very supportive of the Bangsamoro aspirations compared to the present Congress.


To add, he reasons out that the Presidential elections in 2016 may pose further challenges to the full implementation of the BTA in June 2012. He states that given his close interaction with the political leaders of the next Administration, these leaders may have a different understanding of the Bangsamoro problem. This new understanding of the Bangsamoro problem may find no convergence with the current understanding of the Aquino Administration.


Another aspect is that if the next Administration after the 2016 presidential elections will not support the present gains of the peace process, will the Basic Law be scrapped, derailed or will it take another form of agreement?  There is a need to ascertain the position of the future national leaders in Congress, the Executive Department and the Judiciary with respect to the Bangsamoro FA.


Another problematic issue is that if the MILF loses in the first and second regular elections, will they still fully support the comprehensive peace agreement knowing that they lost their strategic place on the negotiating table? Under the context of a political loss, what will be the form and nature of engagements of the MILF with respect to the Basic Law?


Geo-Economic Issues


Dr. Carlos contends that the geo-political realities of the Bangsamoro will shift from geo-political configuration to the geo-economic form. The formation of the Bangsamoro Transitional Commission takes place within the incoming development of the ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015. This major economic development means that the Bangsamoro leaders need to apprise themselves of the ramifications of these economic changes and carefully analyze its impact on investment, finance, foreign funding, trade and labor components. There needs to be technical staff and business professionals that need to study this new trade configuration.


Another key economic issue is the policy of the BTA with respect to the natural resources in the geographical areas of the Bangsamoro. The natural resources cover the important resources such as the oil, gas and strategic minerals that are present in the Liguasan Marsh, and the Sulu Sea.


Another key area is the hand-over of fiscal autonomy to the BTA from the national government. The central government is not keen on granting fiscal autonomy to the BTA at this point in time. The absence of fiscal autonomy of the Bangsamoro New Entity is a serious gap in administrative capability since the over-all administrative operations in the BTA will still be subject to the political pressure of Manila. The political autonomy of the BNE depends to a certain extent on the attainment of fiscal autonomy for the entity. According to Atty. Abbas, without fiscal autonomy, the BNE will have serious implications for its viability.


Mr. Sam Chittick of AusAid says that the new Bangsamoro state has to know how to deal with its resources. He cited the example in the US where 10 states in the East Coast applied an energy tax. The new Bangsamoro state has to study the whole patchwork that is coming into play. The new government in 2016 also has to deal with this. 


Westphalia Concept in the Context of the Bangsamoro New Entity


Dr. Carlos explains that the Westphalia concept needs to be done away with with respect to the Bangsamoro New Entity. She underscores the importance of questioning the different assumptive frameworks that the resource speakers are using to advance their respective positions. She explains that these assumptive frameworks are not really fixed. Under the Westphalia context, the national government over time just took over the roles of the previous foreign invaders. She raises further questions on the capability of the national government to hand over some of its special powers to the BNE. 




The Philippine government and the MILF have reached an accord based on a thorough understanding of what is possible. This peace accord represents a triumph on an audacious scale. At this crucial juncture of the peace process, the members of the negotiating panel must completely build the perception of trust, fairness, sensibility, dedication, credibility and respect.


An optimistic assessment of the FA remains a strong possibility given the war weariness of the Muslim rebel groups and the government military forces. Moreover, the peace dividend will bring in a huge economic bonus to Mindanao in the form of foreign direct investment, tourism, international trade deals and more aid funding from international sources. This new sources will result in the availability of jobs for the residents.


The Framework Agreement must be judged it by what it achieves. If the FA leads to an end to terrorist violence and a commitment to peace that will prove infectious, success will be assured. The present priority of the FA is to put an end to the slaughter.


The legal process that the Bangsamoro Basic Law would go through should yield an outcome that would respect the substantive issues that are important to the MILF leadership. This right perspective presents the best way for the peace negotiations to move forward.


The firm and consistent support of the Aquino Administration will give strength and considerable progress to this peace process. There may be further political accommodation that both parties need to give in to make the peace process work. It should be noted that the accord is still a Draft Agreement and that it is a work in process.


The support from the different major stakeholders is needed. Civil society can play a strategic role in bottom–up peace buildingby tackling the excesses of deeply divided Bangsamoro communities in a post-conflict setting. It is hoped that after this intervention, the local communities can work for a preferred destiny consisting of an integrated and cohesive environments.


Most of the unconvinced stakeholders of the FA have reacted with enthusiasm or cautious encouragement. Those who turn their back on it because they fear its political consequences will diminish a historic opportunity. The FA contours are undeniably imperfect at this point, however, the attainment peace remains an imperative issue for generations. The far-reaching nature of the FA that was signed already leaves the other rebel groups without a shred of justification for persisting with their violent campaigns. The rebel groups who will continue to fight will be denied a place in the new Bangsamoro.


The success of the Framework Agreement depends on the comprehensive understanding by both sides that the durable foundation of a lasting peace rests on trust and openness with respect to the convergences as well as differences of the parties. The finalization and implementation of Framework Agreement is a highly process-oriented and relationship-focused effort that is aimed at transforming relationships among the leaders of both parties and their respective constituencies. The broad-based stakeholders to the peace agreement would want an endlessly persistent style of negotiations that would yield a positive outcome.




The important resource persons contributed timely and nuanced recommendations to hasten the peace process. Fr. Jun Mercado says that the Bangsamoro is already a fait accompli and the road to peace has started.  He adds that the MILF is open to coalition and partnership and that the peace agreement is an expression of opportunity in the area and there is a need to do something about it.


Ms. Irene Santiago states that we should not rely on the peace agreement to bring about peace. People on the ground have to see both in the short-term and in the long-term the changes in their lives. The ability to participate in economic affairs is essential to attain peace. She cited the example of her group which has poured resources for a women’s fund that is established to help female entrepreneurs in Mindanao. She was able to convince Secretary Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that the government resources must be big enough and fast enough. The Mindanao Commission of Women under the leadership of Ms. Santiago was able to channel funding for the Muslim widows and indigenous peoples in Basilan, Marawi and Sulu. She cited the successful outcome that the women who borrowed money were able to pay immediately. Atty. Montesa concurs that it is important that the government has to get near the heart of the people and meet their needs. 


Dean Merlin Magalona suggests a further study to address the legal aspects of the Framework Agreement. Legal luminaries can dig deeper into these concerns in the context of arriving at a peace agreement that is truly implementable and sustainable.



Connolly, P.(2000), ‘What now for the Contact Hypothesis? Towards a new research agenda’,RaceEthnicity and Education, 3, 2, 169–93.

Taylor, R.(2001), ‘Northern Ireland: consociation or social transformation?’, in J. McGarry (ed.),NorthernIreland and the Divided World: Post-Agreement Northern Ireland in Comparative Perspective, Oxford:Oxford University Press, pp. 37–52.



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