Terror group wants ‘I.S. recognition’
THE Maute terror group, which has drawn militants from Malaysia and other countries in the region, launched an all-out attack in a major Philippine city to build ‘a global reputation’. Meanwhile, fears are growing for 2,000 people who are desperate to leave the beleaguered city.
“This is the abnormal security situation in the country. As such, it is understandable that any group wanting to be recognised and heard uses violence.”
Ayesah said the conflict hurt the economy, wellbeing of the people and wasted the strength of defence forces.
“When a government fights non-state actors, this causes a long-term fracture in nation building. This is why peace processes are pursued.”
She, however, said peace processes were never easy, because there were those who had an interest in keeping conflicts alive.
Being a witness to the impact of armed conflicts in Mindanao, Ayesah, who is a Bangsamoro, is passionate about using development to bring about peace.
Her peacebuilding work has focused on the peace process between the Philippine government and MILF.
In her doctoral work, Ayesah has designed sustainable human development and peacebuilding frameworks, which are adopted by the Bangsamoro Development Agency as the core of the Bangsamoro Development Plan.
Asked whether she agreed with the use of martial law, she said: “He (Duterte) has imposed it. Our opinions do not matter at this point. But many people in Mindanao hope martial law will not be imposed for too long. People have a bad memory of martial law.”
Ayesah said people in Mindanao were hopeful that the armed forces would continue to be a credible enforcer of the law.
“It helps that the military leadership made a public statement that it will uphold human rights and international humanitarian law. This is a first in history.
“This military transformation is the result of decades of peace education by civil society groups in Mindanao and their cooperation in the peace process.”
Ayesah said governments must not work alone but engage with non-governmental organisations to build peace.
“In the experience of Mindanao civil society and the Philippine government in the peace process, their partnership contributed to its success.
“Perhaps it is time that governments consider this possibility of partnerships with the civil society groups.”
Page 1 pic: Philippine troops preparing to fight Maute group militants in Marawi yesterday.
Police are seen manning a checkpoint, through a window damaged by a sniper bullet, in Marawi, the Philippines, yesterday.