Conference on Mindanao peace process closes with adoption of Hiroshima Declaration

by Naomi Suzunaka, Staff Writer

The Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao (COP6), an international conference designed to discuss the peace process on Mindanao, an island in the Philippines, held its closing session on June 25 at a hotel in Higashi Ward, Hiroshima. The three-day meeting concluded with the adoption of the Hiroshima Declaration, which resolves to establish an autonomous government on the island.

The preamble of the declaration celebrates the comprehensive peace agreement concluded between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) this past March and acknowledges the meeting between President Benigno S. Aquino III and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the first such meeting to take place since the peace agreement was made. The declaration also highlights, and welcomes, the fact that this statement was adopted in Hiroshima, a symbol of peace.

The Hiroshima Declaration lists 12 items to be addressed within three categories: Institutionalization of the Bangsamoro Government, Bangsamoro Socio-Economic Development, and Developments in Normalization. It calls for “inclusive development” through the proactive participation of all people, beyond religious and racial differences, and emphasizes the importance of upholding “basic Human Rights principles,” introducing “appropriate Policing” for security, and encouraging “the international community to support the normalization process.”

The COP6 conference was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other organizations. About 80 people took part in the closing session, including Teresita Quintos-Deles, presidential adviser from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and MILF Chairman Murad. They finalized the content of the declaration, which was unanimously adopted with a round of applause.

(Originally published on June 26, 2014)