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Modus Operandi


Brussels, November 2007

The strategy of NP in the Philippines

The goals, objectives and structure for the project in Mindanao.

NP has been invited to send a small international team to provide support and protective presence in Mindanao to enhance and enable the expansion of existing civil society initiatives and prevent violence. Beneficiaries of the project will be vulnerable communities, individuals and civil society groups whose lives and work are threatened by the continuing violence or threat of violence.

The major goals of the NP Mindanao project are to protect and support local civil society as they promote reconciliation and build a strong foundation for a lasting peace. Additional goals are the protection of vulnerable groups and aid deliverers so as to increase the development chances of the local populations.

The project in Mindanao aims to support a sustainable peace in Mindanao through:

  • Enhancing the work of local peace teams through the presence of an international early warning team, and reporting to the world about what happens on the ground.

  • To contribute to the maintenance of the ceasefire(s) and to prevent the outbreak of, or to mitigate new violence through unarmed civilian peacekeeping.

The NP Philippines Programme has the following objectives determined in consultation with all the stakeholders in Mindanao.

  • 1. To enhance the scope and quality of locally based people’s organisations and peace/human rights advocates.

  • 2. To reduce the incidences of violence in the vicinity of NP field sites through means of unarmed international civilian peacekeeping and thereby aiding in the maintenance of the ceasefire(s).

  • 3. To support human rights reporting mechanisms in remote conflict areas and assist/connect local and international advocacy groups that work for peace with justice by responding to people’s grievances.

  • 4. To localise grassroots conflicts so that they are resolved through dialogue at the lowest level and do not snowball into larger crises.

The mandate of the International Civilian Peacekeepers team (ICPs) lists:

  • 1. Exploration with the partners for possible scenarios and needs for larger-scale nonviolent intervention, including the Sulu Islands, Basilan and Sultan Kudarat.

  • 2. Working from a specific base with local communities on issues of violence prevention; supporting community members through training to be ready for nonviolent intervention in case of a looming crisis, and if requested linking them to other local or international agencies for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development needs.

  • 3. Placement with, and accompaniment of the partners or their affiliates to support them in their work.

  • 4. Development of formal relations with key actors in the conflict as part of potential official peace agreements.

Nonviolent Peaceforce has been invited to Mindanao by a number of local organisations that are working for peace and justice. Some of them are formally involved in monitoring the cease-fire between the government and the MILF.

NP will support their work by sending internationals to work hand in hand with the local peace-keepers, and thereby contribute to their safety, and together with them to the maintenance of the ceasefire and the furthering of the peace process in the rather volatile situation.

NP ICPs will consult with the local partners in deciding priorities and activities as per the evolving conflict situation on the ground.

To ensure legitimacy and accountability of the NP project to local civil society, an Advisory Board of prominent peace activists has been formed. The first meeting of the Advisory Board took place in May 2007 and the following functions were agreed.

  • to give advise on plans and strategies

  • to get feed-back on actual activity

  • to be a consultative body

  • to act as a conferential or collegial body

  • to recommend new issues and areas to cover.

  • to review activities.

  • to operate on the basis of consensus in giving recommendations

  • to give mutual moral support

The NP Main Office in Cotabato city comprises the Project Director, a Communications Officer and an Administrative and Finance Officer. The office regularly shares updates from the field with the ceasefire coordinating mechanisms of the Government of Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the International Monitoring Team. The purpose of these interactions is to further strengthen the working relationships, both at headquarters level and the field level. At the same time, the NP Main Office is also in constant touch with political leaders of the main parties to the conflict in Central and Western Mindanao, including the Moro National Liberation Front and Local Government Units.

To deepen the legitimacy and acceptability of NP, the Main Office is also liaising with different arms of the Philippine government such as the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Department of National Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The NP Main Office is supporting the developing field offices in Central Mindanao and Sulu through training of International Civilian Peacekeepers (ICT), direct participation in the field, logistical back-up, negotiating with key actors relevant to the field sites, devising a communication strategy and guiding the overall progress of the field offices in accordance with NP’s mandate, working procedures and code of conduct. The Main Office is acting as a link between the Advisory Board, its offshoot organisations and NP field offices. It is also the link between the NP Mindanao Project and NP International.

The Main Office is in itself doubling up as a field office by means of collaborating with all the civil society organisations based in Cotabato city and participating in their forums. It also visits conflict-prone areas in the vicinity of the Main Office and receives a lot of complaints of human rights violations and other violent acts. The volume of such cases is increasing as more people get to know about NP and its mission. Requests for NP to cover more areas are also pouring in from civil society actors, ceasefire monitors and communities.

The Main Office is pursuing follow-ups with key potential donors within and outside the Philippines. Several proposals and regular updates from the field are being submitted to them alongside occasional personal meetings to raise their interest in NP.