“Inclusive enough” is not my term but from the World Bank’s Development Report (WDR) 2011. The report posits that the political process of forming broad –based “inclusive enough” coalitions is absolutely necessary in addressing protracted cycles of violence.
The experiences in resolving internal conflicts around the world reveal that while peace agreements are instrumental in immediately reducing violence, they should not be regarded as the magical solution that will bring instant long-term security and prosperity.
How the pact has served the diverse and opposing interests of stakeholders will spell the success or failure of the agreement.
A peace agreement is essentially a product of negotiations where parties compromise on their respective opposing positions. No party fully gets its way or position in negotiations. In the give and take of negotiations, it is tempting for the parties to see only their own parochial interests at the expense of the broader constituencies that have an equal or bigger role which can make or break the peace agreement.
The Tripoli Agreement of 1997 was not inclusive enough that it did not only fail to unite the inhabitants of the autonomous region towards a common roadmap to peace, it divided the MNLF and caused the formation of the MILF.
The implementation of the 1996 final Peace Agreement was not inclusive enough that the MNLF complained that it had no part in in crafting the ARMM Organic Law which was supposed to implement the agreement. The MNLF was eventually voted out from the autonomous region that to date, it still demands the full implementation of the FPA in letter and spirit.
The ongoing GPH-MILF peace process is another opportunity to find a sustainable solution to the long and protracted Mindanao conflict. It is the most informed peace process from lessons learned from the MNLF peace process and international experiences with the participation of well-meaning foreign governments and international organizations.
The MOA-AD was an attempt to sell the peace formula where the Philippine government acknowledges parts of Mindanao as belonging to the ancestral domain of the Moro people.
The Supreme Court found the agreement and the process by which it was forged to be unconstitutional because not only did the Philippine government make concessions that were against the constitution, no adequate consultations with the stakeholders were conducted. The Supreme Court in effect said that the process that led to the MOA-AD was not inclusive enough.
The challenge is to forge a peace agreement that is inclusive enough in substance, process, and stakeholders.
The pact hopefully will create an effective self-governance structure not just to empower or provide livelihood to a select few but vested with powers and resources to raise the quality of life of all peoples regardless of ethnic, religious and political affiliations in the new autonomous political entity.
The negotiations must consider the other political processes past and present that pushed even to a small degree the cause of self-governance in the region. While the GPH-MILF peace process has its own history and dynamics, it must not ignore other political processes such as the negotiations on the implementation of the GRP- MNLF agreement and the ongoing reforms in the ARMM. To do so will constrict the process to solve problems only of a particular group. Other power holders left out in the process can derail the implementation of any agreement.
The new autonomous political entity cannot be formed out of a vacuum and will be viable and effective when its new found powers and resources are used to steer opposing interests towards the common good.