We, the undersigned academics, teachers, public intellectuals, policy analysts and researchers are issuing this joint statement to call for sobriety and more evidence-based discussion and debate to inform the country’s next steps on the peace process in Mindanao.
We join many others in demanding justice for our fellow Filipinos who died on 25 January in Mamasapano — not just the 44 men of the PNP-Special Action Force (including 2 Muslim officers), but also the 18 men from the MILF, and the 5 civilians living in the area.
We commend the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for their professionalism and sacrifice in defending the Constitution, protecting all Filipinos, and preserving the peace agreement.
We are alarmed by the hatred and bigotry surfacing in both traditional and social media; and we call on all media to pursue more stringent fact-based reporting at this critical point in the peace process and in the nation’s history.
We call on all our citizens to learn more about the challenges faced by our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, the peace agreement and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and the ways we can all contribute to a lasting peace and inclusive development throughout the country. All of us citizens should engage in order to improve our understanding of the peace process, and better appreciate the difficult steps necessary to sustain and strengthen that peace over time.
We urge the youth, notably Christians and Muslims, to work together in building stronger solidarity and a shared vision of nationhood.We urge them to voice their opinions on the peace process in which they have the biggest stake. It is for the youth that we offer a continuing quest for peace because peace is a legacy that we, adult Filipinos hope to bequeath to the succeeding generations.
Rather than divide the country, the tragedy in Mamasapano should strengthen our resolve to continue on the path to peace, building on the over 3 years of no armed incidents between the MILF and government, prior to Mamasapano, and starting in 2012 when the peace talks between the government and the MILF resumed. Even this brief period has allowed incipient development to occur in formerly troubled areas, and the country has been able to focus its attention on larger external threats to its security and territory, rather than waging war on itself.
An inclusive, fair and just society can only be achieved with peace. The history of all successfully negotiated peace settlements elsewhere, from Northern Ireland to South Africa, tells us that it is impossible to right all the wrongs committed in the past by both sides. Yet it is still possible to end the vicious cycle of conflict, by sparing future generations from war, and by immediately addressing the wide social, economic and other divides that feed the cycle of conflict and underdevelopment so poignantly revealed by the Mamasapano tragedy.
We believe that the true path to national unity lies not in retribution and vengeance, rather in the greater understanding that we are raising a future generation that will grow up in an environment of peace and inclusive development. We urge our leaders especially in government – from across all branches – to continue to strengthen the peace process.
Let us redouble our efforts to give our youth a chance one day to build that cohesive and united society that we all aspire for.
The views and opinions expressed by the signatories do not necessary reflect the views and opinions of the institutions with which they are affiliated. They have all signed this statement in their individual capacity as citizens engaged in the education, research, and policy fields.
For those who are interested in joining this effort, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The list of signatories will be updated every Friday until March 06, 2015.
- Michael Alba, PhD, President, Far Eastern University
- Fernando Aldaba, PhD, Ateneo de Manila University
- Jose Ramon Albert, PhD, President, Philippine Statistical Association; Professorial Lecturer, De La Salle University and Holy Angel University
- Eduardo Araral, PhD, Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
- Corazon G. Anzano, PhD, Chair, Department of Economics, University of San Carlos, Cebu City
- Romeo Bernardo, former Undersecretary of Finance (in the Aquino 1 and Ramos Administrations)
- Horacio Borromeo, PhD, Dean, W SyCip Graduate School of Business, Asian Institute of Management
- Calixto Chikiamco, Economist and Entrepreneur
- Edna E.A. Co, PhD, Director, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, University of the Philippines
- Nieves Confessor, Professor, Asian Institute of Management
- Clarissa David, PhD, Assistant Professor, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines
- Emmanuel de Dios, PhD, Professor, UP School of Economics
- Edilberto de Jesus, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Asian Institute of Management
- Manuel de Vera, Professor, Asian Institute of Management
- Kenneth Hartigan-Go, MD, Professor, Asian Institute of Management
- Antonio La Vina, PhD, Dean, Ateneo School of Government
- Nora L. Licup, PhD, Dean, Graduate School, Bicol University
- Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan, Director of Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, Ateneo de Davao
- Mario Antonio Lopez, Professor, Asian Institute of Management
- Juan Miguel Luz, Dean, Zuellig School of Development Management, Asian Institute of Management
- Mahar Mangahas, PhD, President, Social Weather Stations
- Ronald U. Mendoza, PhD, Executive Director, AIM Policy Center
- Gladys Navarro, School of Accountancy and Business Management, Saint Louis University, Baguio City
- Stella Luz Quimbo, PhD, Professor, UP School of Economics
- Eduardo Roberto, PhD
- Filomeno Sta. Ana III, Action for Economic Reforms
- Joel E.Tabora, SJ, President, Ateneo de Davao University
- Julio Teehankee, PhD, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University
- Erwin Tiongson, PhD, Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
- Bruce J. Tolentino, PhD, Deputy Director-General and Secretary, IRRI Board of Trustees
- Benjamin Tolosa, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University
- Wilfrido V. Villacorta, PhD, Professor Emeritus, De La Salle University