Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer expounded on GPH-MILF protocol as confrontation-avoidance measure amid Mamasapano discussions.

Amid continuing discussions over the Mamasapano incident, the UP CIDS hosted a forum on “The Mamasapano question and its implications and challenges to peace in the Bangsamoro” with Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer as the resource person. In a room-filled audience of approximately a hundred people, the forum held at the ERP room of the CIDS in the University of the Philippines Diliman, on the 26th February 2015, was meant to shed light on the discussion that grips the nation at this time.

Prof. Ferrer, the government’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), highlighted the role and structure of the protocol in situations of conflict including that of the Mamasapano incident.

UP CIDS Executive Director Dr. Edna E. A. Co opened the forum by reading out the statement made by the “Professors for Peace” urging sobriety and more evidence-based discussion and debate” in determining the next steps in promoting peace following the January 25th Mamasapano incident. She mentioned that a copy of the peace statement is also posted at the CIDS website.

As discussed in full details in Prof. Ferrer’s report, there were instances since 2009 of joint cooperation between the two parties, namely government and the MILF,in going after criminal elements, private armed groups, and extremists.

Ferrer also tackled the difficulties encountered in halting the January 25 incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that killed almost 70 people (police commandos, MILF rebels, and civilians). According to her, it was not easy to extract extremist elements from a community where people of differing ideologies and loyalties live alongside each other and where there seem to be no physical boundaries between or among them.

Following Prof. Ferrer’s discussion on the concerns over the Bangsamoro Basic Law’s provisions on local governance, funding for the block grant, and judicial system, a robust question and answer portion took place between the resource person and the audience, a good number of whom were Muslims.

The event was co-organized by the UP-CIDS and the UP-Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs.