EDITORIAL| Building peace tables

TALKING about peace is no longer in the realm of government officials and leaders. It has, as it should be, an issue discussed, dissected and debated  by every sector in society.

Irene Santiago, GPH chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said that peace should take on an inclusive frame and that involves the governed who may not have been consulted on matters that are close to their hearts and who are most affected by conflict.

The peace table or sitting at a peace table  is a metaphor for people’s participation in decision making and in charting their own destiny. Santiago said when we think of the negotiating table what comes to mind is that this is where the decisions are made in ending war and building peace. This perspective should be expanded and more tables should be built so that there will be more ideas flowing, allowing for more creativity in problem solving to flourish.

She said exclusion creates resentment and feelings of powerlessness while inclusion leads to trust, a value that is  sorely depleted in times of war and destructive conflict.

Santiago and her team is going around building peace tables which will be the venue for public participation in peacemaking and peacebuilding.  It will be a platform for dialogue, creating consensus on issues, appreciating diversity of identities as well as views, healing and reconciliation, and planning and undertaking collaborative action.

She said that through the People’s Peace Tables,  people will become “citizen peacemakers”.  Ordinary and extraordinary people will “own” the social change process toward peace.  In the end, the objective is social change.

Posted in Opinion