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The Creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM): RA 6734
RA 9054


- UNSCR 1325
- Challenges to the Implementation of UNSCR 1325:
- 14 years after the birth of UNSCR 1325: The Philippine Experience
- Challenges to the implementation of the NAP: The Philippine Context



The Bangsamoro region, whose geographical coverage will be primarily
that of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has been
under long decades of conflicts between the Government of the Philippines (GPH)
and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front

(MILF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
(BIFF), as well as between different Moro groups in ridos or feuds.
This study will focus on the experiences of women in the ARMM, which
is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao (except Cotabato
City), Basilan (except Isabela), Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Marawi City.
Women have been victims of the appalling consequences of conflict in the
Philippines, and particularly in the Bangsamoro. Conflicts have marginalized
women and have ravaged them of their properties, lives, and spirits. Reports have
indicated that Bangsamoro women have experienced several human rights
violations such as trafficking-in-persons, internal displacement, economic
dispossession, and even rape.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325,
unanimously adopted ON 31 October 2000, called for the upholding of womens
rights in times of conflict and womens participation in the peace process and
post-conflict reconstruction. The Philippines was one of the first countries to
adopt and include in its own National Action Plan (NAP) the principles of
UNSCR 1325 on women, peace, and security.
More recently, last October 2012, the GPH and the MILF signed the
Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro which, aside from the structure and
powers of the Bangsamoro political entity and the processes and mechanisms for
the transition from ARMM to the Bangsamoro, also provides for the basic rights
of Bangsamoro women to political participation and to their equal access to social
and economic opportunities.
Thirteen (13) years after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, attention must be
directed on how the Philippines has responded to the challenge of putting a
gendered perspective and prioritizing the womens agenda. It may seem that there
still has more to be done to engage the nation in the discourse of womens agenda
and their major role in the peace process.
This paper will be dedicated to understanding the conflict in the
Bangsamoro, its impact on the Bangsamoro, and the womens perception on their
role in ending the decades long conflict. In juxtaposing the present plight of the
women in Bangsamoro, with the UNSR 1325 and NAP, this paper hopes to
identify the gaps in its implementation and ascertain the potential role of women
in the new Bangsamoro autonomous region.
By understanding the legal framework for the protection of womens
rights, we learn its limitations; the gaps in the implementation and the need to
further strengthen the institutions to respond to the needs of women in conflictaffected areas. By studying the history of their struggle and their present
condition, we learn to appreciate and recognize the vital role of women in
realizing a just, lasting an inclusive peace.

Despite alarming scenarios for women in times of conflict, there is a

dearth of literature concerning the experiences of women in conflict-affected
areas. This study aims to open a new direction in the discourse of womens
agenda in the Philippines by not just highlighting womens plight as victims but
also by understanding how UNSCR 1325 and NAP can transform women from
being the vulnerable party into active peace builders.
The main purpose of this legal research is two-fold:
First, it aims to provide awareness on the current status of women in the
Bangsamoro region, as well as on their struggles and aspirations. Their personal
accounts will provide dimensions in the process that is worth noting, in which
women may perceive themselves as negotiators, leaders, and peace builders.
And second, this research intends to assess the implementation of the
Philippine National Action Plan (NAP) within the Bangsamoro area, with the end
goal of offering recommendations for the key actors and concerned women to
adopt for the development of future programs for women in conflict-affected
areas. This paper will emphasize how the country translates the UNSCR 1325
and NAP to tangible programs for women affected by conflict and how these
programs actually benefit the intended stakeholders.
To accomplish the abovementioned goals, this research will tackle the
following subjects:
1. Historical perspective on the armed conflict in the Bangsamoro;
2. Fundamental issues regarding the experiences of women exposed
to conflict situations and gender-based violence based on personal
accounts of the affected women; Bangsamoro women include those
living within the Bangsamoro territory;
3. The governments initiatives in putting the women, peace, and
security agenda in the forefront of the peace process; and
4. How the UNSCR 1325 and NAP has shaped womens role in
peace building efforts and how women in the Bangsamoro perceive
their role in conflict resolution.
The methodology for this study will consist of a review of related
literature to define the process and provide the historical context of the conflict
and the roles of women in conflict resolution. Studies conducted by the
Department of Social Welfare and Development will be cited to establish the
statistical data.
Interviews with key informants and personalities will be conducted.
Fieldwork for the interviews and assessment of the implementation of NAP will
be carried out within the month of December 2013. Interviewees will include
heads of civil society organizations (CSOs) devoted to womens welfare, women
members of the GPH and MILF peace negotiating panels and other women
Peace process has been defined as follows:

In the broadest and simplest practical terms, a peace process

can be understood as an effort made by interested parties to achieve
a lasting solution to a conflict. In stronger moral terms, it is an
undertaking made to replace the psychologically and socially
debilitating effects of destructive, bloody, human interaction with the
creative benefits of all that civilized behavior has to offer. 1
In the Philippines, peace process is a multisided effort to find long lasting
solutions to the internal war waged by the state to its armed challengers. 2 The
Philippine peace movement is anchored on the main agenda of finding a just and
peaceful solution to the armed conflicts in the country.3
The institutions engaged in the Philippine peace process evolved to
address the multifaceted dimensions of the entities, personalities and subjects
involved. The first organization to advocate the peace process was the National
Unification Commission (NUC). It was created by virtue of Executive Order No.
19, Series of 1992.4 The NUCs mandate was to produce: a viable general
amnesty program and process that will lead to a just, comprehensive and lasting
peace.5 Under Section 2 of EO 19, NUCs authority and functions are as follows:
Sec. 2. Authority and Functions. In pursuit of its
objectives, the Commission shall have the following
authority and functions:
a. Formulate and recommend, after consulting with
the concerned sectors of society, to the resident
within ninety (90) days from its formal organization
a viable general amnesty program and peace process
that will lead to a just, comprehensive and lasting
peace in the country;
b. Call upon any official, agent, employee, agency or
instrumentality of the national or local government
for any assistance that may be necessary to carry
out the purposes of this Executive Order;
c. Review and evaluate the existing National
Reconciliation and Development Program (NRDP)

Encyclopedia of Governance, Volume 2, Thousand Oaks, CA, SAGE Reference 2007, p760, Gale Virtual
Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Peace Matters: A Philippine Peace Compendium, 1997

Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Framework and Synthesis of Lessons Learned in Civil Society Peace Building,
Volume I, UNDP/UP, 2005
Miriam Coronel Ferrer, The Philippine National Unification Commission: National Consultation and the Six
Paths to Peace

pursuant to Executive Order No. 103 dated 24

December 1986 with the view to integrating the
program into the general amnesty program and
peace process;
d. Prescribe the corresponding duties, functions and
working procedures of the Technical Committee and
In 1993, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
succeeded NUC by virtue of Executive Order No.125.6 Sec 3 of EO 125 provides:
Sec. 3. Components of the Comprehensive Peace
Process. The comprehensive peace process shall
henceforth include, but shall not be limited to, the
following components:
POLITICAL REFORMS. This component shall
involve the vigorous implementation of various
policies, reforms, programs and projects aimed at
addressing the root causes of internal armed
conflicts and social unrest. This may require
administrative action, new legislation, or even
constitutional amendments.
shall include continuing consultations on both
national and local levels to build consensus for a
peace agenda and process, and the mobilization
and facilitation of people's participation in the
peace process.
component involves the conduct of face-to-face
negotiations to reach peaceful settlement with the
different rebel groups.
component shall include programs to address the


legal status and security of former rebels, as well as

community-based assistance programs to address
rehabilitation needs of former rebels, demobilized
combatants, and civilian victims of the internal
armed conflicts.
This component involves the strict implementation
of laws and policy guidelines, and the institution of
programs to ensure the protection of noncombatants and reduce the impact of the armed
conflict on communities found in conflict areas.
CONDUCIVE TO PEACE. This component shall
include peace advocacy and peace education
programs, and the implementation of various
confidence-building measures
There are studies that categorize the conflict in Mindanao into two (2)
forms: the horizontal conflict, which involves clan wars or rido; and the vertical
conflict, which involves the government and armed groups. The extent of conflict
is wide and the implications are adverse as documented by various researchers
cited in this paper. Since this paper focuses on the experiences of the women in
the Bangsamoro areas and how their roles in the peace process have progress or
regressed in the context of UNSCR 1325 as implemented by the Philippine Nation
Action Plan (NAP)
In understanding the conflict in Mindanao, historians have examined the
so-called root of the problem. The Bangsamoro 7 question was described as a
multi-dimensional problem8, which encompasses ethnicity, demography and
geography. The core issue of the problem is the continuing assertion of the
Bangsamoro people or at the people who believe they represent the Bangsamoro
for the restoration of their historical independence.9
For centuries, the Spanish colonial government attempted to conquer the
Muslim states and subjugate their political existence so as to add their territories

The term Bangsa means Nation and Moro means Muslim Filipino

Santos, Soliman, The Moro Islamic Challenge, Constitutional Rethinking for the Mindanao Peace Process,
p.41, (2001)
Lingga, Ahboud Syed, Mindanao Peace Process: Needing a New Formula, Paper presented during the
SEACSN Conference 2004: Issues and Challenges for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Southeast Asia,
Shangri-La Hotel, Penang, Malaysia, 12-15 January 2004

to the Spanish colonies in the Philippine Islands10. Prominent historian, Cesar

Majul coined the term The Moro Wars to illustrate the conflict between the
Spanish Government and the Moros.11
Our Muslims brothers take pride in the legacy of their ancestors whose
gallantry and determination made them the unconquered ones.12 Bangsamoro
resistance against attempts to subjugate their independence continued even when
U.S. forces occupied some areas on Mindanao and Sulu.13
At present, there are two (2) Bangsamoro Fronts, which predominantly
played out in the history of the conflict:
1. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF): As enunciated in the 1974
Manifesto by Professor Nur Misuari14, the MNLFs original aim was the liberation
of the Moro nation from the terror, oppression and tyranny of Filipino
colonialism, to secure a free and independent state for the Bangsa Moro people,
and to see the democratization of the wealth in their homeland.
2. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF): The MILF Chair for Talks with the
GPH, Mohagher Iqbal, writing under his nom de guerre, Salah Jubair revealed the
story behind the division of the two Moro fronts15:
As early as 1962, students in the Middle East,
particularly in Cairo, Egypt, started to form
sentiments and orientations. The leading personality
in this group was Salamat Hashim.
In the early years of the struggle, Nur Misuari and
Salamat Hashim were one and worked together as
closely as possible. They were comfortable with each
other. Hashim even helped Misuari get the top post
of the MNLF. But as the struggle hardened and
prolonged often made more serious by human
error the rift between the two leaders started to
surface. Hashim started to be left out of many major
sessions of the Central Committee. Soon, they began
to disagree on almost every major point and finally
even on political and ideological issues. Seculareducated Misuari was nationalistic and Hashim,
Islamic oriented, was Islamic. The breaking point



Majul, Cesar A., Muslims in The Philippines, University of the Philippines, 1973


Salah Jubair, A Nation Under Endless Tyranny, p54 (1999)


Lingga, Ahboud Syed, supra note 9

Misuari, Nur, The Manifesto of the Moro National Liberation Front: Establishment of the Bangsa Moro
Republik. 1974


Jubair, Salah, Bangsamoro: A Nation Under Endless Tyranny, p.153-154 (1999)

came on 21 September 1977, right after the collapse

of the GRP-MNLF Talks in Manila, when 57 leading
officers of the Kutawato Revolutionary Committee
(KRC) signed a petition addressed to the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) 16 and
the Muslim World League (MWL) calling for the
ouster of Nur Misuari as Chairman of the MNLF
and, in his stead, recognizing Salamat Hashim as
the new Chair.
The Mindanao peace process started with the peace talks between the
Philippine government and the MNLF. However, until today, we have no way of
determining what exactly brought the GRP and MNLF to the negotiating table.17
This first attempt for peace in Mindanao resulted to the Tripoli Agreement
between the MNLF and the GRP18, which was brokered by the Organization of
Islamic Countries (OIC) through the Quadripartite Ministerial Commission and
signed on December 23, 1976.19
AQUINO (1986-1992)
When Former President Corazon C. Aquino became President, new
challenges confronted the peace process. On 5 September 1986, almost ten (10)
years after the Tripoli Agreement, she demonstrated her peace building policy in
this manner:
Acting against all advice to the contrary, she met
with Nur Misuari in his own base area and told him,
I am not your enemy.
Her unprecedented meeting with Misuari led to the
signing of the Jeddah Accord and subsequent
negotiation chaired by Ambassador Emmanuel
This policy to negotiate was bolstered by the 1987 Constitution, which provides
for the creation of the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao:
Art X, Sec 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in
Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of
provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas
sharing a common and distinctive historical and cultural
heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant

It is now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation


Rodil, BR, Kalinaw Mindanaw, p.2 (2000)

During the administration of President Benigno Aquino, the use of Government of the Philippines (GRP)
was changed to GPH to comply with international standards.
Beyond the Silencing of GunsEdited by Chandra K. Roy, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Amanda RomeroMedina. Eleanor Dictaan-Bang-oa The Question of Peace in Mindanao, Southern Philippines
Rodil, BR, Kalinaw Mindanaw, p.2 (2000)

characteristics within the framework of the Constitution and

the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the
Republic of the Philippines.
The Creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM): RA
While the MNLF called for a presidential decree for the
ARMM, Aquino in 1989 signed Republic Act 6734 creating
the ARMM. This paved the way for the creation of the
Regional Consultative Commission [RCC] tasked to draft the
Organic Act on Autonomy for Muslim Mindanao. Despite
setbacks and difficulties from inherent problems, the RCC was
able to submit the draft organic act to Congress. This was
passed in a watered down version.22
RA 6734 led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) on 1 August 1989. However, by the end of the term of
Former President Aquino, efforts to negotiate with the MNLF have reached an
It was during the administration of Former President Fidel V. Ramos that
the peace negotiations with the MNLF resumed under the auspices of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).23 It was also during this period that
the concept of the comprehensive peace process was used.
In his memoir, Break Not the Peace 24, Former President Ramos stressed
his commitment to pursue his priority program on national stability, reconciliation
and unity underpinned by peace negotiations with the MNLF. The programs he
envisioned were meant to empower and uplift the Muslim Filipinos through the
On 2 September 1996, the Final Peace Agreement between the
Government and MNLF was signed. However, the MILF rejected the 1996
agreement in favor of full Bangsamoro independence, and has since been engaged
in separate negotiations with the government since 1997.25
A study describes in general, the causes of the failure of the 1996 FPA:
Incidences of local clan-based, or group violence (rido)
have increased markedly following the 1996 peace agreement;


Beyond the Silencing of Guns, Edited by Chandra K. Roy, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Amanda RomeroMedina. Eleanor Dictaan-Bang-oa The Question of Peace in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, p157 (2004)

Supra note 20


Ramos, Fidel V., Break Not the Peace: The Story of the GRP-MNLF Peace Negotiations 1992-1996, 1996


Leslie Dwyer and Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, Gender and Conlifct in Midanao, p7 (2010)

The weaknesses of the Misuari government post-1996, and its

inability to control the violence that intensified following the
increase in rido and the war between the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) and the GRP in 2000, opened up
opportunities for rival groups to step up to the plate and
(re)acquire economic and political power;
Conflict has enabled the continued growth of an underground
economy marked by the proliferation of illegal drugs, unlicensed
firearms, and control over small-scale and unlicensed mining
activity and smuggling, providing revenue for local clans; and
Muslim Mindanao continues to be excluded from the fruits of
national growth, and the minimal growth in the region itself is
unsustainable, and mainly dependent on election and
reconstruction-related consumption spending.26
In 2000, Former President Estrada took on an all-out war stance against
the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a terrorist group then popular for
kidnap-for-ransom activities.27 President Estrada, according to some
commentators, did not bother making the distinction between the MILF and ASG
before deciding to take over MILF camps. 28 This meant that the ideologies of the
MILF was watered down by the acts of ASG and resulted to the collapse of the
Data from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reveal that the cost
of the All out war in 2000 amounted to Php 1.337 Billion or about Php 20
Million a day. But more important than the economic aspect is the daunting
human catastrophe brought about by this war. Figures from the Department of
Social Welfare show that in the same year, there were 982,412 Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs).
After the collapse of the negotiations with MILF, former President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo was confronted with the predicament of starting an alternative
approach to the peace process. She advocated for the principles collective known
as the Six (6) Paths to Peace:
REFORMS. This component involves the vigorous
implementation of various policies, reforms, programs and
projects aimed at addressing the root causes of internal armed
conflicts and social unrest. This may require administrative
action, new legislation, or even constitutional amendments.

Francisco Lara and Phil Champain, Inclusive Peace in Muslim Mindanao: Revisiting the Dynamics of
Conflict and Exclusion, p.4 (2009)

Beyond the Silencing of Guns, Edited by Chandra K. Roy, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Amanda RomeroMedina. Eleanor Dictaan-Bang-oa The Question of Peace in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, p157 (2004)



PEACE. This component includes continuing consultations on
both national and local levels to build consensus for a peace
agenda and process, and the mobilization and facilitation of
people's participation in the peace process.
DIFFERENT REBEL GROUPS. This component involves the
conduct of face-to-face negotiations to reach peaceful
settlement implementation of peace agreements.
REHABILITATION. This component includes programs to
address the legal status and security of former rebels, as well as
community-based assistance programs to address the
economic, social and psychological rehabilitation needs of
former rebels, demobilized combatants and civilian victims of
the internal armed conflicts.
involves the strict implementation of laws and policy
guidelines, and the institution of programs to ensure the
protection of non-combatants and reduce the impact of the
armed conflict on communities found in conflict areas.
CONDUCIVE TO PEACE. This component includes peace
advocacy and peace education programs and the
implementation of various confidence-building measures.29
The Expansion of the ARMM: Republic Act 9054
RA 9054 was meant to amend RA 6743 and expand the powers and
territory of the ARMM. Up to this date, the Tripartite consisting of the OIC, GPH
and the MNLF are still in the process of reviewing the status of the
implementation of the provisions of RA 9054.
The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain
On August 2008, the Government Panel for Talks with the MILF, headed
by then Undersecretary (Usec) Rafael Seguis and Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process (PAPP) Hermogenes Esperon were en route to Malaysia for the
signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).
But before the initialed document was signed, several petitions were filed in the
Supreme Court for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
Then, on November 2008, the Supreme Court declared the Memorandum
of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain as contrary to law and the Constitution on
different grounds, among which was the violation of the mandates of the public
consultation and the right to information of the people. The Decision30 stated:

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, available at http//opapp.gov.ph/


In Sum, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace

Process (PAPP) committed grave abuse of
discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent
consultation process, as mandated by E.O. No. 3,
Republic Act No. 7160, and Republic Act No. 8371.
The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was
designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess
of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical,
capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic
exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross invasion of
positive duty and a vital refusal to performed the
duty enjoined.
The right of the people to be informed is provided for under the 1987
Philippine Constitution, to wit:
Article II, Section 28. Subject to reasonable
conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and
implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its
transactions involving public interest.
Article III, Section 7. The right of the people to
information on matters of public concern shall be
recognized. Access to official records, and to
documents and papers pertaining to official acts,
transactions, or decisions, as well as to government
research data used as basis for policy development,
shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such
limitations as may be provided by law.
Further, the Constitutional principle on the right to information is espoused
in the following laws:
a. Executive Order No. 3: enumerates the functions and
responsibilities of the PAPP, is replete with mechanics for
continuing consultations on both national and local levels and
for a principal forum for consensus-building. In fact, it is the
duty of the PAPP to conduct regular dialogues to seek relevant
information, comments, advice, and recommendations from
peace partners and concerned sectors of society;
b. RA No. 7160 (LGC): requires all national offices to conduct
consultations before any project or program critical to the
environment and human ecology including those that may call
for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in such
locality, is implemented therein. The MOA-AD is one peculiar

Province of North Cotabato vs Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel on Ancestral Doman (GRP), G.R.
No. 183591, 568 SCRA 402, October 14, 2008 (Carpio-Morales, J)


program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a

vast territory to the Bangsamoro people, which could
pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement
of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment;
c. RA No. 8371 (IPRA): provides for clear-cut procedure for the
recognition and delineation of ancestral domain, which entails,
among other things, the observance of the free and prior
Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICC/IP)
Following the declaration of unconstitutionality of the MOA-AD,
skirmishes between the government and MILF intensified. According to the report
of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), there was
a total of 233 encounters between the government and MILF
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, cognizant of the amount of work
ahead to resolve the Bangsamoro question, formed the negotiating panel headed
by former Dean Marvic MVF Leonen, now Associate Justice of the Supreme
Court. Under the Aquino administration, the Mindanao peace process has adopted
an inclusive stance, taking cognizance of the lessons from the past negotiations.
To date, the Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the MILF has
conducted more than 200 consultations with various stakeholders. The GPH panel
met with MNLF junior officers and other MNLF leaders to engage and update
them regarding the status of the on going negotiations.
President Aquino made history when he engaged the MILF in a
conversation, which the latter has dubbed, as a grand gesture. On August 2011,
the President met with MILF Chair Al Haj Murad in Japan. 32 The MILFs bid for
independence was shifted to an aspiration for meaningful autonomy. The MILF
acknowledges that in order to sustain a politically feasible arrangement it must
adhere to the Constitutional provisions on territorial integrity and national
Further, efforts were made to reform the ARMM, Part of this reform is the
appointment of OIC officials in the ARMM, starting with the Regional Governor.
In the OIC Government of ARMM, several MNLF personalities were given
positions. The different MNLF factions were likewise invited to nominate people
who can be appointed to the Transition Commission (TC), the body created by
Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that will draft the Bangsamoro
Basic Law. Even if the MNLF declined, the government ensured that the Tausugs
and other islanders would be represented in the TC.
In the spirit of inclusivity, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Teresita Quintos Deles announced that the government has been initiating parallel
tracks with the different MNLF groups and personalities who will commit to
renounce violence.

As cited Ibid


Available at http://www.gov.ph/2011/08/04/the-presidents-day-august-4-2011/president-aquino-and/


The Mindanao peace policy is premised on the continuing conduct of the

talks underscored by four key elements: governance, delivery of basic services,
economic reconstruction and sustainable development, and security sector reform.
Since the President took office, his instructions have been clear and consistent:
1. Negotiate within the framework and provisions of the
Philippine Constitution, but also with full recognition of the
open spaces and flexibilities contained in its provisions;
2. Learn from past peace negotiations;
3. The government will not sign any agreement we cannot
implement; or, put another waywe will implement every
agreement that we sign, the government is compelled to
deliver every commitment that it makes;
4. The process needs to be inclusive, participative and, as far
as negotiations would allow, transparent. 33
Since the start of the negotiations with the MILF in 1997, there have
already been 43 Formal Exploratory Talks.34 During the 37th Formal Exploratory
Talks, parties signed the Decision Points on Principles. This document is
according to former GPH panel chair, and now Associate Justice Leonen, neither
an exclusive statement of all common points nor a detailed and precise
statement of agreements, but a memorandum for the Parties of the general
directions of the substantive negotiations, described in broad strokes. Among the
most notable directions enunciated in the document is the one about women, to
g. Right of women to meaningful political participation, and
protection from
all forms of violence:
i. Right to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in social
and economic activity and public service, regardless of class,
creed, disability, gender or ethnicity;
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB)
Last October 15, 2012, both the GPH and MILF Panels signed the FAB, a
document that embodies the guiding principles for the drafting of the Bangsamoro
Basic Law. The following annexes are part of the FAB:
1. Annex on the Transitional Arrangements and Modalities (TAM) which
was signed on 27 February 2013. This annex provides further
details on the
political road map towards the creation of the
2. Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, which was signed
on 13 July 2013. This Annex identifies the means by which the
will finance its programs and operations, in view of achieving fiscal autonomy

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, available at http//opapp.gov.ph/


Formal Exploratory Talk is defined by the GPH and MILF as an exchange of thoughts between the parties
which consists of a very sophisticated set of protocols especially because, in this domestic issue, we have to
engage a third country facilitator.


and sustainable development for the proposed Bangsamoro political entity. It also
provides for the principles and mechanisms that will be part of the system of
fiscal administration in the Bangsamoro region.
3. Annex on Power Sharing which was signed last 08 December 2013.
This provides for the delineation of powers at different levels. The Central
Government will have its reserved powers, the Bangsamoro
will have its exclusive powers within its territorial jurisdiction and there will be
concurrent powers shared by the Central
and the Bangsamoro Governments.
4. Annex on Normalization which was signed last 25 January 2014. The
process of normalization has three main components: 1) security aspect;
2) socio-economic development; and 3) transitional justice.
In brief, OPAPP explains the FAB as follows:
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro
(FAB), signed on 15 October 2012, outlines the
general features of the political settlement between
the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It defines
the structure and powers of the Bangsamoro entity
that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM). It also sets the principles,
processes, and mechanisms for the transition until
the regular election in 2016 for the new
Bangsamoro autonomous political entity.
The FAB paves the way forward to the just
resolution of the historical divide between the
Government and the Bangsamoro. It puts together
the points of consensus achieved in the series of
talks between the GPH and the MILF that took off
with the forging of the Ceasefire Agreement in
1997. This new entity shall be called the
Bangsamoro. The document also charts the road
map or the steps and mechanisms for the transition
leading to the creation of the Bangsamoro. The
road map can be aptly described as an inclusive
and people-driven process.35
The FAB espoused the same principles on women and reiterated the words
of the Decision Points:
1. In addition to basic rights already enjoyed, the following rights of all
citizens residing in the Bangsamoro bind the legislature, executive and
judiciary as directly enforceable law and are guaranteed:

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, available at http//opapp.gov.ph/


g. Right of women to meaningful political participation , and protection
from all forms of violence;
i. Right to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in social and
economic activity and the public service, regardless of class, creed,
disability, gender an ethnicity;
Pursuant to the spirit of the FAB, the Sajahatra Bangsamoro was born last
February 11, 2013. This program highlights the partnership between the GPH and
the MILF pursuant to the spirit of the FAB signed last 2012. The Program shall
take the form of quick-gestation, high-impact, social protection-type programs for
beneficiaries identified by the MILF. It focuses on health, education, and
livelihood programs that espouse equality.
The completion of the four annexes to the FAB paves the way for the
signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangamoro and thereafter, the
enactment of Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law
The Philippines has experienced decades of armed conflict involving a
number of different movements with distinct grievances and aspirations
including self-determination struggles (notably Cordillera and Moro Muslim
movements), a communist/leftist insurgency and, in the 1980s, a rebellion by a
segment of the national military.36
The most recent encounter between the government and a lawless group
was on 08 September 2013, when around 400 MNLF forces attacked communities
in Zamboanga City, more than a hundred people died, scores wounded, and
dozens taken hostage. The Misuari-led group declared independence and faulted
the government for not including the MNLF in the Framework Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the GPH and MILF in October 2012.
The GPH Panel recorded several violent attacks perpetrated by
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Abu Sayyaf in the provinces of
Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Basilan. The violence committed against
civilians showed a total disregard to human life and a deliberate attempt to impede
peaceful resolution to the armed conflict in Mindanao, albeit unsuccessful.
The study entitled Gender and Conflict in Mindanao conducted by the
Asia Foundation described the effects of conflict to women, which is summarized
as follows:
1. Gender and Mobility: For women, mobility is often
increased, leading to enhanced opportunities for leadership,
formal employment, and decision-making, but also greatly

Miriam Coronel Ferrer, The Philippine National Unification Commission: National Consultation and the
Six Paths to Peace, p.87


expanding the demands placed on women's time and safety.

2. Displacement: In Mindanao, as in most displacement
situations, the majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs)
are women and children
3. Economic burden: Conflict takes a tremendous toll on wealth
and prosperity, placing enormous stress on individuals, families,
communities, and society as a whole.
The Civil Society Monitoring Report on the UNSCR 1325 highlighted the
fact that women are perennial targets of violent behavior such as kidnapping and
sexual abuse; that their needs are inadequately addressed in evacuation camps;
and that their psychological and emotional well-being are not attended to.
One of the major challenges in addressing the needs of women in conflictaffected area is the lack of proper documentation. In the Philippines, there is no
centralized data processing center that can provide information that can
disaggregate the information into relevant categories like age or sex. When
conflicts arise, figures and statistics are significant in terms of coming up with an
accurate conflict analysis and of providing responsive project identification and
planning for affected women.
As already discussed, armed conflict may take the form of rido or clan
wars (horizontal) or clash between government forces and criminal elements
(vertical). The different provinces within ARMM have documented the
experiences of women during these conflicts.
Basilan is an island province with a total population of three hundred
ninety one thousand one hundred seventy nine (391,179), distributed as follows:
indigenous Yakans, composed of one hundred one thousand seven hundred ninety
one (161,791) which is 41.36%, Christian, one hundred twenty eight thousand six
hundred ninety eight (128,698) which is 32.9% of the total population, and the
remaining percentage of 25.74% distributed among the Tausug, Sama and other
tribes based on the 2010 National Census.
According to PSWDO-Basilan as of August 2012, the province has total
IDPs of 15,848. Of this number, 8,241 are women and 10,143 are children. The
major concerns of these affected women are economic and security related.
Through the study of their provincial government, these women are vulnerable in
case of gunfights for they dont have means to protect themselves and their
families. After surviving the gunfights, they are left homeless and displaced. If
their husbands engage in the conflict, they are further left with no means to
support their family.
Sulu is an island province with a total land area of 2,135.3 square
kilometers. In 2007, Sulu has a total population of 849, 670. The male population
was placed at 420, 568 while female were 428,800. Sulu has poor human
development outcomes as evidenced by the high poverty incidence posted at 39.3


in 2009, high infant mortality rate of 5.5 per 1,000 live births, low participation
rate of 59.72 percent and cohort survival rates of only 36.55 percent.
The major issue of women in this area is displacement during conflict. The
conflicts have hampered the delivery of basic services. The womens physical,
mental and emotional well-being are greatly affected.
Tawi-tawi is composed of 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are
characterized by extensive reefs. The total land area is 114.9 square kilometers
with terrain ranging from level to steep. Based on the 2007 Census of Population,
the province has a population of 450,346 distributed in 10 municipalities.
The province of Tawi-Tawi is a relatively peaceful area. It has reported
though, a different from of violence against women, in the form of trafficking. As
of 2012, the provincial data on deportees indicate that women (3,000)
outnumbered men (2,000). This means that more women are leaving the homes
for job opportunities elsewhere and their poverty situation make them more
vulnerable to illegal recruiters promising for jobs. The prevalence of trafficking is
due to the fact that the province is a gateway to neighboring Asian countries. Its
proximity makes it a strategic point for unscrupulous elements to take advantage
of unsuspecting and poor women.
Based on the 2010 NSCB population projection, Lanao del Sur has a total
population of 900,700, 50.68 percent of which, or 456,500, are female. In 2006,
the province has a poverty incidence of 52.53%, which ranked no. 3 in the
ARMM and ranked no. 6 in the entire country. This is an indication that majority
of the constituents of the province are living below the poverty line particularly in
rural areas.
According to the study conducted by the provincial government, women in
Lanao del Sur face great danger in cases of rido or clan wars. Women end up
being hostages. Further, women account for most the internally displaced persons
(IDPs) in the province and they suffer the most due to lack of food aid, food
blockades, insensitive or inadequate service delivery, diseases, lack of potable
water and medical relief. The province has likewise identified a gender disparity
in terms of access to income, employment, and capital and high-value technology.
According to National Statistics, the magnitude of poor population in
2009 is 437,790, which is a slight decrease of 21,554 from the 2006 result. From
2003 to 2009, Maguindanao has been included in the top 10 of the poorest
provinces in the country.
In 2008, about 49,098 families and 235,815 persons were displaced due to
rido affecting 18 municipalities and 196 barangays. Since 2000, Maguindanawons
have experienced cycles of displacements.
Like Sulu, another form of violence experienced by the women of
Maguinadano is trafficking. Based on DSWD-Maguindanao report, 27 cases of


human trafficking were reported in 2009. From 2010-2012, a total of 186

trafficked and potentially trafficked victims were registered, 24 in 2010, 113 in
2011 and 49 victims as of August 2012.
The province of Maguindanao also admitted that it was identified as the
source of victims of human trafficking. Based on the National IACAT report,
157 out of 850 repatriated OFWs are coming from the Maguindanao province.
Simulation and falsification of birth certificates, acceding to the promises of high
pay of the recruiters mostly relatives or known to the family are contributory
factors leading to TIP.
Marawi City is the capital of Lano del Sur. Based on the 2010 National
Census, the city registered an 187,106 total population. The estimated number of
women is equivalent to 101,037, which constitute 51.86% of the total population
while men represent 48.14% or 86,068.
When the all out war was declared by Pres. Estrada last 2000, Marawi City
became the refuge of IDPs.
The major concern of the women in this area is the incidence of rido.
Women are forced to leave their homes to protect themselves and their families
The foundation of peace building can be summed up as follows:
Peace building operates in the framework of
international treaty, customary law and general
principles of law. These include the principles and
rules deriving from human rights law; international
humanitarian law; international criminal law;
prohibition of the use of force in international
relations; the right to economic and social rights
and to sustainable development; the obligation for
the peaceful settlement of disputes; the emerging
law of transitional justice; refugee law; and the
principles on internal displacement.37
It was only recently though that the womens agenda has taken the center
The process began in Beijing in 1995 at the Fourth
consideration that the subject of women and armed
conflict was an area of particular concern within

Chinkin and Charlesworth, Building Women into Peace, Third World Quaterly, Vol. 27, No.5, p.952


the framework of the Platform for Action. Since

then, different women's organizations have worked
to promote a process that culminated with the
approval of Resolution 1325 by the Security
The United States Institute of Peace explains UNSCR 1325 as follows:
In 2000, the United Nations Security Council
formally acknowledged through the creation of
Resolution 1325 the changing nature of warfare, in
which civilians are increasingly targeted, and women
continue to be excluded from participation in peace
processes. UNSCR 1325 addresses not only the
inordinate impact of war on women, but also the
pivotal role women should and do play in conflict
management, conflict resolution, and sustainable
UNSCR 1325
UNSCR 1325 is a landmark international legal framework that addresses
not only the inordinate impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women
should and do play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable
Further, UNSCR 1325 refers to two important issues: On one hand, it
acknowledges the specific gender impact of armed conflicts on women and young
girls; On the other, it alludes to the role women and young girls can play in peace
building, understood in its broadest sense.40
In 2005, the Security Council called upon U.N. Member States to continue
to implement Resolution 1325 through the development of National Action Plans
(NAP) or other national level strategies.41 This NAP process assists countries in
identifying priorities and resources, determining their responsibilities, and
committing to action.42
In March 2010, the Philippines became the 18th nation, and the first in
Asia, to authorize a National Action Plan (NAP) in response to United Nations
Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, the landmark resolutions calling for
womens full participation in peace-building activities and the protection of


Maria Villellas, The Role of Women in Peacebuilding: Proposals for the Implementation of 1325
Resolution, p5, 2010
United States Institute of Peace, available at www.usip.org/gender_peacebuilding/about_UNSCR_1325

Supra note 40 at p.2


Statement of Security Council available at

See supra note 41 www.usip.org/gender_peacebuilding/about_UNSCR_1325


women during armed conflict.43

Although the Philippines social and political context remains
patriarchal and traditional, the Government has made important
efforts to mainstream gender throughout its laws, institutions and
programs. Starting with the Philippines Constitution, legislation
explicitly promotes gender equality and the protection of human
rights, particularly the rights of women and children. Moreover,
national, regional, and local government units have specific focal
points and people who are tasked with coordinating and monitoring
gender mainstreaming activities in their respective areas of
Women from Mindanao-based organizations -- including the Bangsamoro
Women Solidarity Forum, the Federation of United Mindanawon Bangsamoro
Women Multi-Purpose Cooperatives, Inc., the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, and
the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society -- joined with womens groups
from elsewhere in the country for the consultations that led to the National
Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security45
The OPAPP is the government agency that formulates and coordinates the
implementation of the National Action Plan. The administration of President
Aquino has made strides in increasing womens influence by appointing Teresita
Ging Deles as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP), in charge of
creating frameworks for re-energizing negotiations with the MILF.46 Now, for the
first time, in almost seventeen (17) years of negotiations, Professor Miriam
Coronel-Ferrer heads the Government Panel for Talks with the MILF.
Philippine National Action Plan
The National Economic Development Authority released the Philippine
Development Plan for 2011-2016, which includes the implementation of UNSCR
1325, to wit:
Support the implementation of UN Security Council
Resolution 1325, which entails close collaboration
with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to fully
comply with the governments commitment to
increase participation of women in peace processes
and address sexual violence against women in armed
conflict situations. More specifically, efforts shall be
exerted to: (1) ensure the protection of womens
rights and prevent violation of these rights in armed

Gender and Conflict in Mindanao, Asia Foundation


Margallo, Addressing Gender in Conflict and Post Conflict Situation in the Philippines, p2-3, 2005


Dwyer and Cagoca-Guiam, see Supra note 29 at p.9


Id at p24


conflict and post-conflict situations; (2) empower

women and ensure their active and meaningful
participation in areas of peace building, peace
keeping, conflict prevention and post conflict
reconstruction; (3) promote and mainstream the
gender perspective in all aspects of conflict
prevention, conflict resolution and peace building;
and (4) institute a system to monitor, evaluate and
report the implementation of the national action
plan to enhance accountability for successful
implementation and achievement of its goals.
The NAP aims to protect womens rights and prevent violations to it;
empower women for their active and meaningful participation; promote and
mainstream gender perspective in all aspects; and institutionalize a system to
monitor, evaluate and report on its implementation.47
In the Philippine National Action Plan the following deliverables were
identified as targets and certain activities were laid out to accomplish such targets.
NAP is illustrated by OPAPP as follows:


Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, available at http//opapp.gov.ph/


National Action Plan Results Framework

Women in conflict and post-conflict situations are protected,
empowered, and play a decisive role in peace and security

Protection and Prevention

Gender-responsive and conflictsensitive policies, programs, support
services for women and children in
conflict situations mainstreamed in
government and other actors work

Policies that protect women in conflict and

post-conflict situations are developed,
enacted and institutionalized.

Comprehensive support programs and

services that address the needs of women in
conflict-affected and post-conflict areas
such as immediate/sustained protection,
increased access to justice, and healing,
rehabilitation and development created,
implemented and/or strengthened

Mechanisms in delivering programs and

services of national government agencies
(NGAs) and local government units
(LGUs) in conflict and post-conflict areas
are in place and operational.

particularly women in conflict-affected
areas, on UNSCRs 1325 and 1820,
CEDAW, Magna Carta of Women and
other relevant laws on women, peace
and security.
Peace, non-violence and gendersensitivity education mainstreamed in
formal curriculum.

2. Empowerment and Participation

Enhanced capacities of government
agencies and other actors in
implementing PAPs on women,
peace, and security

Policy reforms and programs

developed, instituted and
implemented to address the
situation and concerns of women
in the security sector

Strengthened capacities of national

government agencies (NGAs) and
local government units (LGUs) in
women in conflict affected and
post-conflict areas.

mechanisms at the national, local and
grassroots levels.

Capacity-building for teachers on

peace, non-violence and gender


3. Monitoring
Monitoring and
and Evaluation
Sustained system
system for
for monitoring
monitoring and
assessing NAP
NAP implementation
implementation and
attainment of
of results.

3.1. Efficient and participatory

monitoring and reporting of Philippine
compliance in the implementation of
UNSCRs 1325 and 1820.


Meanwhile, the Philippines adopted Resolution 212248 Presidential

Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Deles was quoted saying:
The Philippine government welcomes and supports
the adoption of Resolution 2122 which highlights the
role of women as pivotal actors and allows for their
greater participation in the peace process, she said.
UNSCR 2122 aims to strengthen the current
normative framework for the participation of women
in all stages of the peace process. It acknowledges
the unique contributions of women in conflict and
post-conflict situations both on the ground and on
the negotiating table.
commitments our government has made to raise the
status of women from victims to invaluable agents
and builders of peace, as contained in our National
Action Plan to implement UN Resolution 1325 on
Women, Peace and Security, added Deles.
In the peace table with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front, the panel is led by a woman, Professor
Undersecretary Yasmin Busran-Lao. The Technical
Working Groups on Normalization and Wealthsharing, the GPH Secretariat, and the GPH Legal
Team is also headed by and mostly composed of
The significant participation of women in the peace
negotiations has borne fruit in the Framework
Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). The FAB,
which was signed in October 2012, has a section that
promotes the rights of women to meaningful
political participation and protection from all forms
of violence.
Challenges to the Implementation of UNSCR 1325:
A study identified the challenges 49 to the implementation of the UNSCR

Resolution 2122(2013), Aiming to strengthen women;s role in all stages of conflict prevention, resolution


Cabrera-Balleza, M 2011, 'It Is Time to Walk the Talk and Fulfill the Promise of UNSCR 1325', PalestineIsrael Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture, 17, 3/4, pp. 16-24.


1325. The general findings were as follows:

1. There is in general a limited understanding of the
gender dimensions of conflict and of the need for a gender
perspective in peace and security processes.
2. Despite impressive progress in some cases, women are
still struggling to participate in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and governance processes, particularly at formal
and official levels.
3. While the development of gender-sensitive policies
especially national action plans (NAPs) on UNSCR 1325
and legislationconstitute a major achievement, their
implementation remains a significant challenge.
4. Rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are
often extremely high both during and after conflict, and
impunity remains.
5. Major data gaps on women and peace and security
(WPS) issues persist across all areas, especially with
regards to SGBV.
6. There is a lack of adequate funding for the
implementation of UNSCR 1325 by governments and
especially by civil society organizations (CSOs).
7. Women's civil society organizations play a key role in
virtually every aspect of the implementation of UNSCR
1325, often through informal channels.
Despite the struggles of women, it is recognized that womens
participation in processes of negotiated settlements is important because it
transgresses the matter of putting rights on paper, and enables practical actions
to be taken50
14 years after the birth of UNSCR 1325: The Philippine Experience
Women still make up a small minority of participants in the peace process,
despite evidence of the broad range of benefits that accrues from including women
in negotiations.51
From 1997 to mid-2011, male representation in the GPHs panel for
negotiation with the MILF was 82.6 percent, with two women (Miriam CoronelFerrer and Yasmin Busan Lao) currently of the five on the governments panel.
Partly because of civil societys call to include women in the peace panel, the
MILF for the first time in 2011 enlisted the services of Moro women in the
ongoing negotiations including Muslim lawyer Raissa Jajurie as a legal
In an article entitled Left Out53, author Maryann Cusimano Love described
the ordeal of Ms Millet Mendoza who was abducted by members of the Abu

Id at 10
See Supra Note 29 at 32


Asia Foundation, With Framework Agreement Signed, Women Walk Road to Peace in Southern
Philippines, October 31 2012
Maryann Cusimano Love, 'Left Out', America, p. 9 (2010)


Sayyaf Group. The author stressed: This culture of impunity invites more
violence against women and girls. Several U.N. Security Council
resolutions were supposed to change this, but too little
implementation has been done.
The Civil Society Monitoring Report echoed this sentiment and
emphasized that the implementation is slow and that there is a lack of a unified
monitoring mechanism that could document successful programs and measure
their impact.54
UNSCR 1325 is not an end, but the beginning of the processes that will
gradually help reduce the gap in inequalities. 55 Below is a discussion of the
experiences of the provinces and how they attend to the needs of the women who
are affected by conflict. The discussion is categorized per province to show the
commitments of each in addressing problems faced by the women in their
communities. These commitments were documented by OPAPP during one of
their meetings.
The Province of Basilan has committed the establishment of the Basilan
Women and Peace Center. The Center will focus on the training women in various
livelihood opportunities, trauma recovery and conduct of functional literacy
For 2013, the province will pilot one (1) barangay per municipality in the
province. The GAD focal point system will identify the target priority barangays.
The province of Sulu has identified four major projects to address
womens needs in their area:
Operationalization of the Womens Center
In a press release from OPAPP, Sulu Provincial Women and
Childrens Center as a special guest of honor in a ceremony led by Sulu
Governor Abdusakur Tan, Jolo Mayor Hussein Amin, and Sulu Provincial
Womens Council (SPWC) chairperson Nurunisah Tan. The construction
of the Center is in line with the governments program on Localizing the
National Action Plan (LNAP) on Women, Peace and Security in the
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The center will serve
as a one-stop shop providing services and programs for women such as
livelihood, skills training, and health services, critical incidence stress debriefing and other related services
2. Livelihood Program for Women
The skills training will focus on Pis Syabit Weaving and Mat
Weaving. These are home-based industries so that women will not have to
leave their children to earn a living.

We Count, Security Council Resolution 1325: Civil Society Monitoring Report, 2011




3. Strengthening the WCPD

This involves the conduct of capacity building activities for police
officers handling the WCPD particularly on the conduct of Investigation,
Gender-based Violence Sensitivity, Documentations and Filing of cases
against perpetrators.
4. Creation of Municipal Womens Council
Municipal Women Council will be organized in the three
municipalities to address gender related concerns in the municipal level.
Tawi-tawi identified human trafficking as the foremost problem
confronted by women. In this regard, the following programs are proposed:
1. One-Stop Shop Mobile Passport Processing Center
Since the lack of documentation is a major reason for
deportation of Filipinos from Sandakan Malaysia, the provision of OneStop Shop Passport Processing Center is being proposed in Tawi- Tawi.
will enormously help the passport applicants from this
proposed that the DFA will facilitate the
establishment of this Center in the
2. Construction of bigger Deportees Holding Center in Bongao,
Tawi-Tawi is a major receiver of arriving Filipino deportees from
Sabah, Malaysia. At the height of the Mindanao Conflict in 1970s the
deportees were once refugees from Sulu and Mindanao who sought
refuge in Sabah. They have opted to stay in Sabah due to job
opportunities, cheap food and fuel despite the off and on crackdown on
illegal immigrants. Most often, victims were accosted while doing
marketing chores or during raids on suspected companies harbouring
undocumented workers.
Over the years, the lack of a bigger holding area for Filipino
halaws from Sabah, Malaysia has been a perennial problem. Hence, the
Provincial Government is proposing for a bigger holding center for
The needs to coordinate and provide a holistic solution to this
recurring problem requires a massive and concerted inter-agency efforts
with combined sustainable financial and human resources on the ground
with the involvement and support of DBM, DPWH, ORG, DSWD, and
3. Creation of an Inter-Agency Task Force on Deportees
The creation of an Inter-Agency ARMM Task Force on Deportees
to dialogue with Sabah, Malaysian immigration authorities with UNHR
representatives regarding the humanitarian treatment of deportees is
being proposed.


4. Provision of work permits and Livelihood and Technical

Capability Building Program for returning deportees
Most often, returning deportees become competitors in the local
jobs available. The provision for livelihood and technical capability
program for deportees and locals in Tawi-Tawi are needed such as:
baking and bakery management, dressmaking, fruit preservation,
cooking automotive on the part of the local men and women, a stiffer
competition for scarce jobs that are by itself with stiffer competition
already scarce; mechanic training, photography, diving, tour guiding.
Tawi-Tawi is a major player in the seafood industry. The increase
in air flights to and from Tawi-Tawi can attest to this, as most seafood
products are transported by air. The sustainability of the marine
products and the protection of the ecosystem requires a holistic
approach, in addition to the provision for hatchery, nursery and fattening
of a wide variety of export quality fishers, crabs and etc. requires
technical assistance.
If the steady supply of the seafood is to be ascertained from this
part of the country, a concerted effort of the DA, DOST, DTI and
TESDA is a must to address this concern. DAF shall spearhead the
provision of livelihood capacity training on fisheries and marine
products together with Basic Business Management Skills training.
5. Advocacy Campaigns
The strategic location of Tawi-Tawi as a gateway to Malaysia
makes it veritable hub for travellers and undocumented workers as any
island in the province is a jumping point for departing passengers.
As a result, there has been a steady stream of outgoing passengers.
It is not uncommon to see young women passengers trying to go via the
back door. Hence, advocacy campaign against trafficking in persons will
be done to prevent young girls and boys from being forced into white
slavery or from simply scrupulous recruiters in dire assistance from the
local tri-media and with the exuberant campaign of a functional interagency committee on anti-trafficking. There is no substitute to a
vigilant, well-informed community on anti-trafficking and with the
combined efforts of the duty bearers, law enforcers and the community.
Tawi-Tawi- can change the stigma of being a hub for trafficked victims.
The Province of Lanao del Sur highlighted the socio-economic problems
faced by women in their area.
1. Livelihood Assistance
This involves the conduct of skill training for families who are
affected by the conflict. The training will include the following:
Home-based Livelihood Activities
Women who were affected by the conflict will be
trained on Dressmaking, Cooking and Baking, Bag


Making, Loam/Malong & Langkit Waving, Wood

Curving and other Household Dcors preparation.
Farm-based interventions
Low-income families who were affected by the
conflict will be provided skills training on bio-intensive
and backyard gardening, planting of fruit-bearing and
other root crops. As such, necessary seedlings, fertilizers
and pesticides will be provided to beneficiaries of the
Farm-based intervention will also include training
on Livestock production. Along this line, the provincial
government through the Department of Agriculture will
lead the conduct of the skills training and the provision
of livestock and animal feeds for poultry, duck raising
and other type of livestock production.
2. Strengthening GAD Mechanism
There is a need to strengthen the Gender and Development Committee
of the province to effectively coordinate and monitor implementation of
peace conflict and gender related programs and projects.
As such, the GAD Committee shall develop its Comprehensive Plan of
Action to ensure that the gender and peace conflict issues identified
would be incorporated in the program designs and plan. It shall
facilitate the conduct of different capability building activities to
capacitate the members of the committee on their mandated functions
and responsibilities and in monitoring gender results.
The GAD Committee shall also spearhead the conduct of orientation,
advocacies, dialogues, seminars, and other IEC-GAD related activities
to empower women and ensure their participation in development
The Provincial Government will also provide administrative and
management support to the Committee for them to effectively
implement the conduct of the different activities of the Committee
members particularly on legal representation, trauma, peer counselling
and other education services to women, children and adolescents
especially in ethnic and remote communities. Sex-desegregation of
baseline data and preparation of all program documents and reports will
also be a priority.
1. Creation of GAD Focal Point System
The provincial government will create and institutionalize a GAD
Focal Point System (GFPS). This system will be guided by the provision
stipulated in the Memorandum Circular 2010-01 of the Philippine
Commission on Women.


On its horizontal linkage, it will fuse all initiatives of the different

provincial departments, line agencies and state universities and colleges
related on the implementation of the Gender and Development. In same
manner, any existing council, organization or committee created and will
operate utilizing the 5% allocated GAD budget will be under the umbrella
of the GFPS. All of these bodies will submit their plan and
accomplishment report to the secretariat of the GFPS for recording,
monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Likewise, on the vertical linkage, the provincial GFPS will create a
clear coordinating mechanism with the existing GAD council in the
different municipalities. These GAD councils shall submit their plans and
accomplishment reports to the GFPS secretariat.
2. Strengthening of LCAT
Local Committee on Anti-trafficking (LCAT) will be reconstituted
to all local government units from provincial up to the barangay level.
LCATs already organized will be strengthened and re-oriented with
existing relevant laws to make them functional.
3. Development of Comprehensive Database
For the purpose of a realistic, doable and effective planning and
budgeting, the provincial government will strengthen its database. It will
utilize existing system incorporating all relevant indicators of all
department and line agencies. A separate system will be created for human
trafficking adopting the national system. But some of the demographic
data will be integrated also to the main database. The database will be
disaggregated hopefully up to the municipal level.
4. Conduct of capacity building for frontline workers
In order to effectively implement the law on human trafficking and
other related issuances, all frontline workers handling cases on trafficking
will be capacitated and empowered to prevent cases of human trafficking.
5. Intensified IEC
The provincial government will conduct a massive information
campaign on Human Trafficking utilizing the tri-media or other means that
will inform the marginalized members of the community. The campaign
generally aims to increase awareness and understanding about TIP. It is
expected that constituents will be aware and report cases of trafficking
after the information campaign.
6. Adoption of Local Ordinances for Mandatory Registration of Birth,
Marriages and Death
Through the Sanggunian, the local government unit from provincial
to municipal shall adopt local ordinances that will prevent the incidence of
human trafficking. The passage of ordinance may include the mandatory
registration of birth, marriages and death. Strict implementation shall be
observed especially in areas with high data on human trafficking.

7. Strengthen Prosecution and Enforcement Agencies

The Governor through the PCAT will bridge with the national level
the gaps and issues of the Office of the Prosecutor. On the other hand, the
enforcement agencies will undergo capacity building especially in crafting
case build up.
8. Establishment of Women Centre
The provincial government will establish a women centre. This
centre will serve as the physical representation of the programs in order to
realize its purpose. The structure will house the office of the GFPS. All of
the works related to the operation of the GFPS like meetings, planning and
preparation of accomplishment reports would be done in the center. All
documents will be safe keep in the office of the Head Secretariat.
Congruent to the operation of the GFPS, an operation manual will
be prepared clearly identifying structures and job specifications to
operationalize the women centre. The centre will be the safe house of the
victims of gender based violence and shall facilitate the provision of
comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking through proper
referral to concerned agencies. Thru the GFPS, the centre will also act as
the leading institution in promoting the women empowerment and gender
It was only the province of Maguindanao, which submitted a
budget allocation for their program on human trafficking. Below is their
Comprehensive Program to Stop Human Trafficking, Expected Output,
Budget Allocation
being PPAs

g Office

Expected Output

and P1,800,000.00

-Creation of GAD
Focal Point System

GAD focal point
system established



functional LCAT at
all levels

Database system




b)Prevention and
-Conduct of capacity
building for frontline

-capacitated frontline P1,300,000.00


-Intensified IEC

c)Prosecution and
-Adoption of local
registration of birth,
marriages and death





enforcement agencies
womens center

-protective care for

survivors provided


1. Women as Peacemakers in Conflict Situations
Women are now perceived as active participants in dispute
resolution. They are engaged as mediators and peacemakers to settle
disputes within the communities.
2. Post-Conflict Rehabilitation
The local government shall ensure better livelihood for women
affected after the war and family feud to alleviate poverty. Women will be
provided training on malong weaving, dressmaking, baking and cooking.
3. Creation of Gender and Development Council
The Gender and Development Council shall be organized and
institutionalized as an advisory council to the LCE. The said Council shall
be responsible for the organization of different Committees attending to
the needs of the IDPs. Capability Building for the GAD Council and its
Sub-Committees will also be undertaken.
Challenges to the implementation of the NAP: The Philippine Context
It was through the efforts of OPAPP, that ARMM provinces were
convened middle of 2012, for a workshop to educate representatives and leaders
from the provincial governments as to the implementation of UNSCR 1325


through the National Action Plan (NAP). This effort is aimed at localizing
Localized National Action Plan (LNAP).
OPAPP, in carrying out its mandate to implement the National Action
Plan, organized a workshop designed to train and familiarize the provincial
governments of their roles to ensure the protection of the rights of women. Last
26-27 November 2013, the representatives from the ARMM provinces were
convened and participated in the workshop.
Moreover, the governments socio-economic program for combatants and
communities deliberately targets the inclusion of women and girls such that
under its education component, college scholarships were awarded mostly to
female high school graduates.
The action points of the NAP is summarized as follows:
1. Develop, enact and implement policies to ensure protection and
2. Support programs and capability of Local Government Units
(LGUs), other agencies and CSOs in providing legal, economic,
educational, psychosocial support and spiritual services for women
and girl survivors of armed conflict;
3. Strengthen the criminal justice system in accordance with HR and
IHL and enabling laws to address violence against women especially
in the context of armed conflict
4. Promotion of UNSCRs 1325 and 1829, gender sensitivity,
CEDAW and national laws and policies related to women, peace and
security among state and non-state actors, especially, but not limited
to: a) parties or frontline agencies involved in armed conflict; b)
actors in peace-building, conflict resolution and post conflict
reconstruction; c) government agencies involved in the protection
and fulfillment of womens human rights; and d) civil society groups
particularly those engaged in the promotion of womens rights, peace
and international humanitarian law
5. Sustain the peace negotiations, work towards more gender
responsive peace agreements and strengthen the implementation of
mechanisms of peace agreements especially ceasefires and those
relating to the protection of HR and IHL of women
6. Develop non-discriminatory policies that address the situation of
women in the security sector.
7. Involve the women community members as stakeholders in
programs that address the impact of armed conflict, ensuring the
participation, influence and benefits of community women and
especially IP and Moro women
8. Increase the number of women peace and womens rights
advocates in peace panels and other peace mechanisms at local and
national levels.
In the context of the Mindanao peace process, the implementation of
UNSCR 1325 is not confined to the deliverables and timelines stated in the NAP.
Instead of aiming to accomplish the deliverables as stated in the NAP, OPAPP has


devised a scheme that would provide optimum results. The concept is to focus on
the key issues confronted by the provinces. According to OPAPP Undersecretary
Gettie Sandoval, this strategy aims to be responsive to the verifiable needs of the
affected women. The approach does away with providing pre-identified solutions
to address pre-identified needs. OPAPP recognizes the magnitude of the
deliverables enunciated in UNSCR 1325 and NAP.
The approach looks at localizing the deliverables of the NAP. The said
approach allows the provinces concerned to identify the key issues confronted by
the women in the communities. In identifying the needs, a needs assessment study
is launched. Once issues are identified, the concerned provincial agency will come
up with a program/activity to address the same. This cycle started 2012, and no
assessment has been made until 2013, the assessment for the year was supposed
to take place this December 2013. However due to some constraints, the
assessment was moved to January of 2014.
The strength in localizing the NAP lies in the principle of empowering the
women and the institutions that will truly make a difference. However, as in every
process, the implementers face particular challenges. The conclusions in the next
chapter goes beyond NAP by exploring the potential role of women in the new
Women are rarely part of formal decision-making in a peace process.56
This is why the appointment of Professor Miriam Coronel Ferrer as chair of the
government panel is a breakthrough in itself. Since negotiations began in the
Philippines in January 1997, Professor Ferrer is the first woman chair of the
negotiating panel for the government. She is joined by Undersecretary Yasmin
Busran Lao from Lanao del Sur, as part of the Panel. The Government secretariat,
legal team, and technical working groups on the Annexes are headed by and
composed mostly of women. Three out of seven members designated by the
government in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) are women. The
MILF likewise recognizes the need to engage women in the discussion that they
brought in Atty Raissa Jajurie from Sulu .
Further, womens role in the grassroots level now has been eminent as
documented by Christian Herbolzheimer in his paper on Muslim women in peace
Mediation. Numerous women play leading roles in settling family and
clan feuds and in preventing new episodes of violence (Magungaya
Center, Midsayap).
Study groups on Islam to seek strength and guidance in the Holy Book
(Nisa Ul Haq).
Supporting victims of violence (Ittihadun Nisa Foundation,INFo)
Livelihood projects (Federation of Muslim Womens Cooperatives).
Enrolling youth (UNYPAD, Young Moro Professional Network,

Bell, Christine and Catherine ORourke. Peace Agreements or Pieces of Paper? The Impact of UNSC
Resolution 1325 on peace processes and their agreements. International and Comparative Law Quarterly
(2010), 59: 941-980. as cited in


Bangsamoro Youth).
Raising [international] awareness (Saligan).
Peacekeeping (MPCs all-women contingent of the International
Monitoring Team).
Documenting human rights abuses (MinHRAC, Saligan).
Participating in peace talks (in GPH, MILF and MNLF peace panels and
support structures).
Training and capacity-building (Moro Women Development and Cultural
Protection against violence (Unyphil-Women; Lupah Sug Bangsamoro
Preventing discrimination (Bangsamoro Women Solidarity Forum).
Engagement with religious leaders (Philippine Council for Islam and
Democracy; Al Mujadillah Development Foundation).
Research. For example: Rufa Guiam (Research and Development
Center, Mindanao State University-General Santos); Ayesah Abubakar
(Research and Education for Peace, University of Sains Malaysia);
Carmen Abubakar (Institute of Islamic Studies, UP), amongst others.57
During the consultations in the provinces, the women in the communities
identified their concerns and needs. What is more notable is that they formulated
With regard the implementation of NAP, the following recommendations
are proposed:
1. The establishment of a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the current
programs proposed and implemented in the Bangsamoro are
effective and
responsive to the needs of women. This entails assessment of the programs by the
women affected and a formal reporting of the
agencies involved in the
An effective monitoring should include determinable and quantifiable
targets. As of the moment, there is no existing monitoring mechanism
that can gauge the success of any of the projects implemented.
2. Extend the implementation of NAP to include long term goals for the
women in the communities. Although the current programs are
commendable, the livelihood projects and womens center must have
___ to be sustainable.
3. Strengthen the link between the National agencies and the
grassroots. The approach of the NAP is to localize implementation.
Although this method puts a context to the requirements of the women
in the community, there is a gap in the
Beyond the implementation of NAP, women in the Bangsamoro can now
realize greater participation in decision making. Now that the Bangsamoro Basic

Helbolzheimer, Kristian Muslim women in peace processes Reflections for dialogue in Mindanao, July


Law is about to enacted by Congress, one key issue affecting the representation of
women may be addressed. The basic law will provide for a ministerial form of
government with at least fifty (50) legislative, sectoral and party list
representatives. The annex on power sharing also provides that there will be
reserved seats. It is proposed that a reserved seat should be allotted to women
In this emerging structure, womens organizations can establish strong
alliances to ensure that they can either win a seat in the Bangsamoro government.
In preparation, organizations may organize trainings and capacity-building