MANILA – “We are ready to share our experiences in the hopes of inspiring similar stories of success for our sisters—our peers—involved in peace tables around the world,” said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles as she expressed her sentiment during a brief address in the recent cocktail reception co-organized by the embassies in the Philippines of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Australia.
The event was held in honor of the Philippine contingent who will participate in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict happening in London starting today until June 13.
Over recent decades, the Philippines has been taking progressive steps in acknowledging women's rights and roles in nation-building. In 2010, the country became the first in Asia to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security to operationalize its commitment to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325, 1820, and 1888.
The Philippine government has also pioneered enabling women as prominent drivers of the peace process. A landmark model is the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is the first in the world to bear the signature of three women—representing one-fourth the total number of signatories—and also the first such agreement to bear the signature of a woman in the role of chief negotiator.
“The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a major victory for women,” said Deles. “We expect its effects and benefits—both symbolic and real—to be far-reaching and, we hope, will benefit not just the Philippine peace process but peace processes worldwide.”
The involvement of women in the peace negotiations ensured that the CAB guarantees the protection and meaningful participation of women in the envisioned Bangsamoro region.
Women at the forefront of Philippine nation building
The Philippines will be represented by an official delegation assembled by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as well as a Peace Process Delegation co-organized by the British and Australian Governments. Deles will spearhead the entire Philippine delegation.
Rounding out the roster for the Peace Process delegation are GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Bangsamoro Transition Commissioners (BTC) Raissa Jajurie and Froilyn Mendoza, former BTC commissioner and now principal assistant of the Office of the Undersecretary for Special and Ocean Concerns of the Department of Foreign Affairs Johaira Wahab, Journalist, President and CEO of Rappler.com Maria Ressa, Nisa Ul-haqq Fi Bangsamoro Director Ms. Fatima Pir Allian, working group member of Women Engaged in Action on UNSCR 1325 (WE Act 1325) Ms. Carmen Lauzon-Gatmaytan, CEO and chair-emerita of the Mindanao Commission on Women Irene Santiago, and Executive Director of the United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women) Noraida Abo.
Also joining the delegation are two winners of a national essay-writing competition sponsored by the British and Australian embassies. The winners, Jill Angeli Bacasmas and Ma. Reinna Salcedo Bermudez, will represent the country in the Youth Day event of the Summit.
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, spearheaded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government, is slated to be the largest assembly ever convened to address the matter of conflict-related sexual violence. The four-day event will feature working-level meetings among government, inter-government, and civil society representatives with the aim of arriving at practical measures and agreements that will end the culture of impunity over rape and other forms of sexual abuse within the context of conflict.
There will also be free events designed to expose the public to successful programs and policies that tackle a broader range of issues related to sexual violence, such as women's rights and participation, the effect of conflict on children, conflict prevention, and international justice, among others.
The Summit will be co-chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie.