The National Electoral Women’s Agenda, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on May 1, includes the equal participation of women in all levels of the peace process and the immediate resumption of the GPH-NDF formal peace negotiations.
I believe that my entry as one of the newest members of the Government Peace Panel is an affirmation of President Duterte’s commitment. The inclusion of women in the peace process is also in compliance with our obligation as a state party to the 1995 Beijing Declaration.
Pursuant to such declaration, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1325 in 2000 urging Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.
In the next few weeks, as the members of the Panel prepare for the resumption of the peace talks, I, specifically, shall lobby for the inclusion and participation of women in all reciprocal working groups or committees at all levels and in every opportunity to ensure that our insights and our experiences as women are considered and reflected.
For one woman is never enough.
I am humbled by the favorable remarks regarding my inclusion. Lives of too many women and children have been lost and wasted due to the failure of past governments to address the root causes of this armed conflict.
While I pledged to bow out of public office as soon as President Duterte won, “we” surely could not miss this opportunity to journey with the people and women, most particularly, in our quest for a just and lasting peace.