By INS Contributors

SEOUL, South Korea--Malaysia is a relatively stable country with many cultures, religions, and ethnic backgrounds, and is approaching developed-country status after decades of rapid growth. However Malaysia has undergone a range of internal threats from a communist uprising, ethnic tensions to political instability since independence in 1957.

The country has upheld uneasy relations among ethnic and religious groups and across political struggles, with few significant incidents or violent conflicts. Government had come out with a few public policies to overcome the ethnic issue but it was found that the policies are not enough to resolve these matters.

This might affect the country by triggering an economic downturn; threaten national security and the country's reputation. Nevertheless, there is an example and solution for us to learn from our neighbour country, Philippines.

In the Philippines, Mindanao is also facing a similar issue with Malaysia. While these are armed conflicts, unlike in Malaysia, there are similar underlying tensions among the various groups in the country.

Armed groups have been formed since the 1960s due to accumulated political, economic, and cultural discrimination and contradictions since the colonial period of Spain and the United States.

Regardless of how the issue is going, the long run historical conflict in Mindanao is ending through the DPCW (Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War) and a new era of peace approaches.

The representative achievement of the peace steps HWPL have made is the fruit of contributing to peace in Mindanao, the Philippines, which is ending its 50-year history of conflict.

The MILF, which has been based in Mindanao, was the largest armed force in Southeast Asia as well as the Philippines. In the 2010s, the Philippine government declared an all-out war with the MILF, which resulted in 120,000 casualties.

The Mindanao conflict clearly shows the crisis faced by the global community of the spread of conflict based on ethnic/religious identity that emerged in the 21st century.

Mindanao's peace was a matter of direct connection to global security issues beyond the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Efforts have emerged to resolve the dispute after it caused massive casualties.

The Mindanao peace process has emerged. International private organizations, along with the governments of Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Kingdom, supported the peace process, including Malaysia, the mediator of the official peace agreement between the government and the MILF. In addition to the official process, international organizations such as the European Union and the Islamic Cooperation Organization and various private organizations have begun to establish peace by supporting peace and providing humanitarian aid.

The signing of a peace treaty never ended the conflict. Mindanao's peace demonstrated the need for a fundamental and long-term approach across politics, economy, society, and culture to prevent a recurrence of war. HWPL, based in Korea, is directly connected to world peace.

Mindanao Peace Declaration, HWPL Mindanao Peace Agreement

In 2013, HWPL chairman Lee Man-hee visited Mindanao, where tensions were rampant due to military conflicts until then. His efforts, which he has visited around the world to build international solidarity for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world, and to appeal for cooperation and support for it, have been put to the test. It was a new approach at the civilian level, signing a peace agreement between Mindanao's local leaders and non-governmental organizations.

At the time of the agreement, Lee asked participants if they wanted peace or war, and when all participants raised their hands, Lee called in a Catholic-Muslim figure who attended the site, saying: "Then sign a peace agreement," and urged them to stop the dispute and do their best to reconcile and cooperate for peace. After signing the agreement, two leaders representing local Islam and Catholicism, the government and the private sector, politics and religion joined hands.

This was a declaration that the road to peace in Mindanao began, and a signal that went beyond religion and the state and entered a world of peace. Since then, January 24th every year has been the anniversary of Mindanao's peace agreement and the day of festivals and events commemorating Mindanao's peace.

The civilian peace agreement mediated by the HWPL was Mindanao's declaration of permanent peace. Since then, HWPL and all involved, including local politics, religion, and civil society, have begun cooperation for peace. 

At the regional level, major cities in Mindanao, including Kotabato City and Davao City, voted to support and implement the Global War End Peace Declaration (DPCW) issued by HWPL from 2019 to 2020, which is particularly meaningful in that it is the political base of former President Rodrigo Duterte and current Vice President Sarah Duterte.

The DPCW was written by HWPL and world experts on international law, focusing on the basic principles for the prohibition, prevention, and resolution of conflicts and wars that arise and the dissemination of a peaceful culture. 
The DPCW is developed and functioning as an international legal document with legal, institutional, and normative functions by international organizations, central and local governments, and civil society.

In the Philippines, an MOU was signed with the Presidential Committee on Higher Education (CHED) in 2018, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the curriculum on peace education is being developed and implemented nationwide. 
Through this cooperation, 2,551 teachers from 557 educational institutions in the Philippines alone are trained, contributing to peace education for up to 23,000 students (200 teachers from Mindanao and 5,000 students).

"Mindanao has become a global model of peace and the whole world is looking to you, not as a region once marked by relentless conflict, but as a place where peace blossoms," said HWPL Chairman Lee on the occasion of the HWPL Day of Peace. HWPL's common goal is to bring all people worldwide together to make this world a peaceful place without war and as a lasting legacy for future generations.

The conflict based on religious identity in the Philippines is clear evidence that DPCW is a practical tool that has proven itself in practice and can be a solution to many other conflicts including the ethnic issue in Malaysia.