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Our position on ‘Demobilization, Disarmament, Reintegration’

28 September 2010 No Comment

Position Paper of the RPM-M/RPA on the Demobilization, Disarmament, Reintegration/Rehabilitation Framework of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines vis-à-vis Peace Talks

The Press Statement of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on September 3, 2008 has drawn reactions from various Revolutionary groups and even civil society groups. It was obviously formulated in the midst of the current hostilities in Mindanao that killed innocent civilians, destroyed properties and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. Of course, this has to be blamed on some base commanders of the MILF and their irrational reactions on the forestalled signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain or the MOA-AD after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order. The violent events that followed seemingly justified the arrogant reaction of the Central Government to the armed-opponents, as in the case of the MILF  – and especially to its legitimate claim on the right of self-determination.

The Demobilization, Disarmament and Re-integration/Rehabilitation (DDR) as the forefront context of any peace process is tantamount to saying ‘surrender first before we talk or no peace process at all’. For a period, the GRP seemed to act progressively when it basically agreed with the content of the MOA-AD which has transcended the constitutional framework of the present Philippine Constitution. If this was not what it seemed, then the government was merely using the MOA-AD to premise the formulation of the ‘new thrust’ on the peace process which is the DDR for whatever ‘agenda’ that best serves the present dispensation.

Looking back at the content of the Statement on DDR as a new policy, one could find the militarist stand and at the same time effort to take ground in the grassroots communities through the so called ‘authentic dialogues’. There is nothing wrong with the latter if, and only if, the GRP will consider the revolutionary groups as included among the legitimate stakeholders; and, shall not dwell on deceptions to isolate its opponents from their respective mass bases.

We strongly believe that DDR is always an integral part of a peace process – but it should be the last stage of the whole process. In fact, DDR should be the logical result of the whole process in which each stage is a built-up for the next and higher stage, nearer to a comprehensive political settlement.

The RPM-M maintains the following points as paramount vis-à-vis the DDR framework of the GRP:

1. community-based community empowerment and development processes through inclusive consultations;

2. acknowledgement of the legitimacy and validity of the inherent right to self determination as manifested in the MOA-AD of the Bangsamoro through the MILF – without prejudice to the Right of self-determination of other minority nationalities in Mindanao;

3. the peace process shall always transcend the framework of the present Philippine Constitution in both words and deeds since it should be mutually inclusive to the talking parties. Conflict transformation can genuinely start from this viewpoint and;

4. DDR is an integral part of the peace process but it should not start or restart with it as the condition for peace talks.

RPMM Peace Committee
September 6, 2008

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