Co-operation Ireland CEO shares learning from Northern Ireland with the Philippines
Peter Sheridan Chief Executive has recently returned from a VSO voluntary placement to The Philippines.
Peter was with the Civil Military element of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), advising them on best practice in dealing with the post conflict situation following the truce between the Filipino Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
During the placement, Peter did a number of press briefings and you can read some of the press articles here:
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The southern regions of the Philippines have been ravaged by internal strife since the 1960’s with the MILF seeking greater autonomy from the federal government in Manilla. Only in recent times has significant progress been made which saw an agreement signed between the Filipino Government and MILF which establishes an autonomous region to be known as Bangsamoro.
VSO Ireland has been working with VSO in the Philippines for many years on this peace programme and was grateful to Dominic Hannigan TD, as Chair of the Good Friday Agreement Committee, who undertook a very successful and highly regarded trip in 2011 which brought increased impetus, from all sides in the conflict, to find a way forward.
This short term, high impact placement is part of a series of placements of eminent volunteers from Ireland to countries across the developing world. Peter will take part in five meetings with civil military officials, address three groups of students on their role in building peace and take part in many one-on-one meetings with peace partners across the region.
There is an ongoing debate within the Armed Forces of the Philippines regarding their role within community policy and in particular their role in peace building. This debate and its final outcome will have significant implications for the bedding down of the peace process in the region. Peter used his experience gained from Northern Ireland to change attitudes within the AFP.
As part of his placement, Peter delivered a series of addresses to military and police academy students about the importance of policing in resolving internal conflicts in countries such as The Philippines and how the conflict in Northern Ireland and the cross community nature of the PSNI can be used as a template for countries emerging from internal conflict.