To highlight the role of women in the peace process, the Women Alliance for True Change (WATCH) and Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (APILA) Center in coordination with other feminist groups and NGOs held the forum entitled “A Journey to Peace, from Davao to Oslo and Back” yesterday afternoon, Sept. 13 at the Xavier Hall, Ateneo de Davao University.
More than one hundred fifty participants were present during the event. The forum was in coordination with Luna Legal Resource Center for Women and Children. Atty. Angela Librado-Trinidad, a member of the GRP Peace Panel, and Hon. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela party list were the two main speakers for the said talk.
In behalf of the university president, Atty. Romeo Cabarde, director of the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), formally opened the program. He pointed out some reasons why women engagement is important in achieving progress in the peace process.
“Dunay espesyal na luna ang kababaihan sa peace process. Women are best at working across divides whether in religion, political, or social-economic aspects. They have the access that men don’t have,” Cabarde said.
For the first talk, Luzviminda Ilagan discussed the implication of ‘unpeace’ to women wherein she also enumerated some issues that greatly concerns the minority and calls for women empowerment. Ilagan also condemned the recent Roxas Night Market Bombing and described it as a form of sabotage to the peace process.
On the other hand, Atty. Angela Librado-Trinidad talked about the significance of the Oslo peace talk to women. She expressed her high hopes for an improved system of discussions between the government and militant groups.
Moreover, Librado mentioned some important updates regarding the ongoing Oslo peace talks. According to her, they are now on the second level of the peace process. In fact, another peace conversation will be held in Oslo on the second week of October.
The panel of reactors for the forum composed of individuals from the different sectors of the community including Bai Ali Indayla of the Moro Women, Karen Munasque of EJP/UCCP, and Ma. Victoria Maglana of Konsensya Davao.
“We all want this peace process to succeed. But we also recognize that this successful implementation will require more than the strength of our president. It will require the involvement of everyone especially the women,” Maglana said.
The said program was concluded through a pledge of commitment by the participants to their own Panaw sa Kalinaw. It was then followed by a procession and candle-lighting ceremony at the bombing site near AdDU- Jacinto campus.