DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Women leaders from various provinces in Mindanao are here to train on how to build “peace tables” in a bid to ensure the women’s voice is included in the peace process.

GPH Implementing Panel for the Bangsamoro Peace Accords Irene Santiago said the two-day training will teach the women on how to conduct public consultations.

“We want to make sure that people are well-informed, people have a chance to understand each other,” Santiago told reporters in an interview during the launching of the Mindanao Women’s Peace Tables at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Monday.

“How do you conduct public consultations so people understand? I will talk to you so I can understand you,” she said.

Santiago said there is a process where “you bring down the hatred” level. The training she said will help the public understand each other.

The training will be handled by experts from the Conflict Resolution Group Foundation (CoRe) which was founded by former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle Tecson-Abaya.

Santiago said the trainors are experts in training on values-based approach to negotiations and dialogue.

“There is a way, there are methods to use so the people do not have to convince each other, they have to understand each other,” she said.

Meanwhile, Patricia Ruivivar, head of the communications team of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the event will also teach women on how to conduct peace tables “where the people gets heard.”

Ruivivar told Davao Today that this is not the first time that the Mindanao Women’s Peace Table is launched.

“It started here in Mindanao in 2011 and it was initiated by Mam Inday (Irene Santiago) when she was still working with the non-government organization,” she said.

Ruivivar added there are 125 women’s peace tables all over the world in 45 countries.

“It first started in Mindanao and we would like to replicate this more that’s why we are conducting this training,” she said.

Ruivivar said the output of the peace tables will be submitted to the negotiating panels.

Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza said while the government negotiates in the “formal peace tables” with different revolutionary groups, it is important that the Filipino people is engaged “in the bigger peace table”.

“We want that bigger table to be part of the process so that everybody will have ownership of the outcomes,” said Dureza during the closing ceremony of the National Peace Consciousness Month last month.(

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