Social Accountability in the MILF Negotiations

Eagle Eyes

This is the second of a series of columns I am writing on an emerging and powerful tool for good governance called social accountability. Originally, I planned in this column to discuss how we, as a society and as a body politic, can mainstream social accountability into our governance processes. I will still do that but, to illustrate the points I want to make, I decided to use as a jumping point two events this week that reminded me of how important social accountability is for good governance. Last Sunday, we celebrated the 28th anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Since yesterday and continuing today, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are meeting in Kuala Lumpur to negotiate a peace agreement. In both cases, the aftermath of Aquino's assassination and the conduct of peace negotiations, the mainstreaming of social accountability would have (in the investigation of the former) and will (in how the outcome of the MILF peace negotiations will be accepted) make a difference.

I am particularly concerned that there is speculation that there is already a done, secret deal on Mindanao peace, one that has not been consulted with the people, especially the stakeholders from Mindanao. As a former participant in the peace negotiations and as someone who has observed these processes for a long time, I am confident that there is no such secret  agreement, the Tokyo meeting of President Aquino with MILF Chairman Murad notwithstanding. There is a long way to go before the peace negotiations reaches the final stages and I am sure the government and the MILF panels, who are trustworthy and experienced people, will be consulting with their respective constituencies at the appropriate time. However, if we have mainstreamed social accountability in our governance processes, there won't be as much speculation and unfounded fears as we are seeing now.

Read More

Google+