These are the speeches given by the many presidents who passionately spoke regarding their support of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) and some of the important methods for its adoption to the UN at the 2018 HWPL World Peace Summit.
H.E. Samuel Sam Sumana, Former Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, said “Speaking out against inequality and social injustices during his Rivonia Trial on 20 April 1964, Nelson Mandela stated ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the “Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War‟ could not have come at a better time than this. Let me take this opportunity to thank Chairman Man Hee Lee for this brilliant, timely and history making initiative. The world will always remain grateful. Thank you Sir.
Your Excellencies, for this declaration to leave its footprints on the sands of time, make a positive difference in the lives of ordinary people, take hope where there is despair, promote love where there is hate, it has to be owned and led by national and local actors in every country across the world. A bottom-up approach has to be employed to get states and their citizens buy into, own and lead the process.
To ensure this, a set of people committed to global peace and security have to be mobilized to constructively engage members states in ensuring that this declaration is adopted by the United Nations. However, the essence of this declaration should not be limited to its adoption by the UN but rather to help transform mind-sets and change the conversations and narratives around global peace and security.
Countries adopting the declaration have the moral responsibility to engage its citizens and global actors on the inextricable links between global peace and security and the respect for human rights, the rule of law and human dignity. The secretariat of the DPCW should also establish platforms through which dialogue, synergy and harmonization of efforts would be promoted at the Inter-governmental, national and local levels.
We should not fail in this drive, we have to succeed and we must succeed. I therefore call on all global political and religious leaders across the world, to do their utmost to ensure the adoption of the 10 Articles and the 38 Clauses of the Declaration, at the United Nations.”
On January 21, 2019, the historic referendum was held. It was expected this BOL plebiscite could see peace come to the island group after 50 years of unrest. This vote asks the residents whether creating a new self-administered region known as Bangsamoro (BARMM) or not. The government thinks it could bring a peaceful resolution to the Mindanao conflict, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives since the 1970s.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who was mayor of the Mindanao city of Davao before he took office, formally signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law in July 2018. That is why a referendum is being held. Now, President Rodrigo R. Duterte considers Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari as someone who can help in resolving the conflict in Mindanao.
Once the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) takes effect, the island of Mindanao will have an autonomous Muslim government with legislation, administrative and fiscal power. However, the power of national defense, foreign affairs, and monetary policies is left to the central government. The Philippines government expects the establishment of a Bangsamoro self-governing region to maintain a peace regime while suppressing the expansion of Islamic extremists.
A total of 2.8 million registered for the Bangsamoro plebiscite, with 2.17 million in the provinces and cities covered by the January 21 polls. If the “yes” vote wins, then a second plebiscite is set on February 6 in six Lanao del Norte towns and in 67 villages in North Cotabato, where more than 600,000 voters registered.
Road to Peacebuilding in Philippine Mindanao : Past 4 years
Despite the opposition of one governor of the Sulu Islands, the BOL has been praised by the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. and Japan as “welcome” and “groundbreaking.”
The BOL’s momentum was created in March 2014 when the government and MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which serves as the basis of the draft BOL.
The MILF officially said “The BOL has been the fruit of peace negotiations for 17 years, and it is the result of efforts by various people and outstanding legal experts in the four-year term.”
It was signed by the President Rodrigo Duterte on 26 July 2018.
“Korean Peace Leader,” the hidden hero of peace in Mindanao
As the news of the end of the civil war spread, the Korean peace leader, Man hee Lee, who visited the scene of a dispute at the age of 84 four years ago, is drawing attention again.
On January 24, 2014, at the request of the Philippines` archbishop, Mr. Man hee Lee was visiting Mindanao to end the civil war. The Chairman Lee found that the cause of the Mindanao conflict was a religious conflict between Catholic and Islamic nations, and led a civilian peace agreement. This scene was reported through the Philippines’ state-run PTV and private media.
On June 25, the day after this peacebuilding news of HWPL was delivered to the Philippine government and the Islamic military. On this day, the Philippine government and the Mori-Slam Liberation Front have signed an annex document to recognize the Islamic autonomy of the Bangsamoro and to disarm up to 10,000 people. Accordingly, the two sides prepared detailed bills and signed an official peace agreement in March that year. In June 2015, the actual arms return of the MILF was carried out.
On 24 January 2016, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held an unveiling ceremony for the Monument to the Declaration of World Peace located in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province. To commemorate the historical Mindanao Peace Agreement mediated by Chairman Lee of HWPL, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of MILF also decided to designate January 24th of every year as ‘HWPL Day’.
Over 10,000 people from communities in Sultan Kudarat participated in the ceremony. Hon. Al haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of MILF said “Today, where people are suffering from wars and conflicts, all leaders of diverse sectors including politics and religions, are taking part in the peace movements of HWPL by implementing an international law on cessation of wars and world peace, and establishing the HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office, as a follow-up on the pledges they made before God and all people.
Peace is not a matter confined to a single person but to every individual. Therefore anyone who is part of this global family must all become messengers of peace. Let us all participate and become the messengers of peace to pass on peace as an eternal legacy for the future generations!”
Also, the 30th World Peace Tour of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light or HWPL, will be held in Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan on February 15, 2019. The 30,000 participants in Region 3 including social representatives in the Philippines and international peace activists will going to attend the peace summit.