This project, and this publication that recounts the milestones of the project, helps strengthen the participation of women in peace and security efforts all over the Philippines. Congratulations to the project team of the Miriam College’s Centre for Peace Education.
As Ambassador to the Philippines, I spend a lot of my time traveling in the country, both in relation to the Bangsamoro process and to Norway’s role as the third-party facilitator for the talks between the NDFP and the government.
In this work I have realised that the Philippines is replete of examples of Filipino women in leadership positions, involved in issues related to peace and security. There´s former Undersecretary Gloria Mercado, Executive Director at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) who asserted: ‘There is no structural or legal impediment to women participation in peace and security’.
There´s Irene Santiago, who continues her peace work with the local communities and the barangays of Davao, working alongside Mayor Sarah Duterte. There´s the first captain of a frigate in the Philippine Navy, Captain Luzviminda Camacho, who also became the first Philippine female officer to lead a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. There is Delia Albert, the former Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
For Miriam College you have Dr Loreta Castro and Dr Jasmin Galace – as part of the team that received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Today, I have also met the community peacewomen: Erlinda Lunag, Sandra Ducan, Emma Battawang, Lea Coronacion and Susan Rivas.
Dear friends, Norway is working closely on the women, peace and security agenda with the Philippines. Your country has an impressive track-record. In the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranked 8th in the gender gap index, ranking first in the Asian region.
I am pleased to inform you that the Philippines is one of Norway’s priority countries for our National Action Plan in support of the United Security Council Resolution 1325. This entails support and funding to Philippine peace processes and women participation in peace and security.
Ultimately, for Norway, our global goal is to ensure that the rights, needs and priorities of both men and women are safeguarded throughout all our efforts aimed at peace and security.
Here in the Philippines we have an excellent partner in this endeavor in Miriam College. Again, thank you for this partnership and congratulations.