Last October 27, 2009, the peace panels in the GRP-MILF talks have agreed on a Framework on Civilian Protection which they have signed in Kuala Lumpur. In a follow-up meeting on December 8-9, both panels agreed to add on the mandate of the International Monitoring Team the Civil Protection Component (CPC), which is basically aimed at restraining the combatants from any act that will undermine the safety and security of the civilians.
To help fulfill this mandate, the peace panels have invited the Mindanao Peoples Caucus together with the Non-Violent Peace Force to become part of the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the IMT. While protection work is not new with MPC, doing the work as IMT is definitely an altogether different function. The opportunity to help alleviate the sufferings of the civilians by doing protection work within a recognized formal mechanism of the government and MILF, however, opens a lot of possibilities to be able to institutionalize protection work. Thus, the MPC accepted the invitation to join the IMT, mindful of the fact that such decision will have to require program adjustments and realignment of some MPC members to join the IMT.
A significant achievement of MPC’s for this period is the evolution of its women program which will primarily focus in operationalizing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Philippine context of the peace and security processes. This will entail mobilizing women leaders in the peace talks, ceasefire monitoring, disaster response, early warning, civilian protection, peacekeeping and security sector reform. Building on the Women Framework on Civilian Protection which was submitted by MPC to the peace panels in September 2009, the women program will pursue the protection work as outlined in that framework parallel to the operations International Monitoring Team.