Crowdsourced, 'hacked' ideas for peace coming to NDF negos

MANILA, Philippines – For the government panel handling peace negotiations with Asia’s longest-running insurgency, achieving lasting peace and pinpointing the “root causes of conflict” means having a process that’s “inclusive and transparent.”

When the second round of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) resumes in October, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) will bring along and present “creative ideas and hacks” from Filipinos of all backgrounds.

“Now, President Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust is a more inclusive process and a more transparent one. We make sure that all voices are heard," OPAPP Communications Director Patmei Bello Ruivivar told Rappler on the sidelines of the Philippines Social Good Summit’s peace and development “ideathon” on Saturday, September 24.

"It's not just a negotiation between the NDF and the government... it's a negotiation where all people are involved. So we need their inputs,” she added. 

Formal talks between the Philippine government and the NDF resumed in August this year, after years of impasse.

Ruivivar noted how peace talks under the Duterte administration have taken on a blistering pace. Talks on socio-economic reforms, political and economic reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces are happening simultaneously unlike before when they would be discussed one step at a time. (READ: PH hopes for peace deal in a year as NDF talks resume

Peace talks with the communist rebels was among the campaign promises of Duterte, a self-described “leftist and socialist."

Ideas that emerged during the summit's “ideathon” included using sports as a means of “diplomacy through social inclusion,” a youth peace camp and caravan, and highlighting service to country through a communications campaign.

“We need a lot of creative ideas and hacks to input to the panel especially now that we're going to talk about the root causes of conflict to address that through social economic reforms,” added Ruivivar.

A mobile application also allows citizens to send in their ideas for peace. The best ideas will be presented to both the government and NDF panel is Oslo, said Ruivivar.

“Maybe they can have creative ideas on how they can integrate that,” she said.

“It’s actually solving the root causes of the problem. Usually, the default mode is violence. Now we want to say: how do we problem-solve? And that is why [OPPAP] participated in this because we want fresh ideas from different [groups],” said Ruivivar.

Crowdsourcing efforts are nothing new to the Duterte campaign.

The former Davao City mayor, who barely had any concrete political network at the start of his campaign, was swept into power through a mix of political smarts, social media savvy, and a strong grassroots campaign.

“Change is coming,” Duterte’s campaign tagline, was crowdsourced as well.

“We're changing the paradigm now; everyone is involved, everybody is a stakeholder,” she said. –