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GPH, MILF panel chairs to present Bangsamoro Organic Law to Moro people, Mindanao stakeholders

COTABATO CITY, August 7 – The respective chairs of the implementing panels of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will present the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM or Bangsamoro Organic Law) to the Moro people and other stakeholders in Mindanao in a symbolic celebration here tomorrow, August 8, 2018.

Nabil Tan, Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser and Chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF peace accord, and MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal will lead the ceremony at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) Office of the Regional Governor Compound.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had presented the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to the leadership of the Moro fronts in Malacañang on Monday. The ceremonial event signified the commitment of the government to the Bangsamoro peace process.

Expected to be present in today’s event are Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza, the leadership and members of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), top officials of the Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao, lawmakers, leaders of civil society groups, and representatives of all sectors in the region.

The BOL is a product of a series of peace agreements between the Philippine Government and various Moro fronts. While it is largely anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro – a peace deal between the Philippine Government and the MILF –  the new law for the Bangsamoro reflects and builds upon the gains of previous Moro peace agreements since the 1970s.

The BOL recognizes the aspirations and articulations of the Moros in the past peace agreements as well as those expressed during the series of public consultations.

The law provides exercise of meaningful autonomy for the Moro people by charting their own political future through a democratic process. This is an improvement of the ARMM law as it retains and recognizes the historical and geographical identity of the Bangsamoro people and allows the other inhabitants in the area the freedom of choice to retain their distinct and indigenous identity.

“We got the support of almost all sectors, especially support coming from the President, kaya I always say that we have reached a milestone. But remember, we still have a lot of challenges to work on. The job will not be easy but if everybody will stay the course then maybe we can reach yung ultimate dream natin – sustainable peace,” Dureza said.

For his part, USec Tan said the signing of the BOL “is a significant contribution to peace. This will hopefully usher in the dawn of progress in Muslim Mindanao.”

In his speech last Monday, President Duterte said he hoped the BOL would “serve as the final trajectory for the attainment of genuine peace, stability, and good governance in Muslim Mindanao.”

“I ask my Moro brothers and sisters as well as the indigenous communities, and settlers living within the Bangsamoro area to actively participate constructively about the law in your homes, in your villages, and communities. But more importantly I encourage to take part in the upcoming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot,” he added.

President Duterte acknowledged the people who rallied for the enactment of the law.

“Let me also express my gratitude to the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front for their unwavering commitment, determination, and perseverance in pursuing the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he said. ###

 

Photos by: Presidential Photographers Division

By | August 7th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

PRRD to Bangsamoro: Participate in the plebiscite

MANILA, August 6, 2018 – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte today urged the Bangsamoro people to participate in the upcoming plebiscite that will determine the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In his message during the presentation of Republic Act Number 11054 or the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” in Malacanang today, Duterte encouraged the stakeholders to campaign for the law in their own communities.

“I ask my Bangsamoro brothers and sisters as well as the indigenous communities and settlers living within the Bangsamoro area to actively participate in constructive discussions about the law in your homes, in your villages, and communities,” he said.

“But more importantly, I encourage you to take part in the upcoming plebiscite so that you may express your sovereign will through the ballot,” he added.

The territories that will be part of the BARMM will be determined in a plebiscite that will be held not earlier than 90 days or later than 150 days after the effectivity of the law.

Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on July 27, days after the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the measure.

According to the new law, the plebiscite will cover the provinces included under the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), six municipalities in the province of Lanao del Norte, 39 barangays in North Cotabato, the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in the province of Basilan, and those qualified for inclusion by way of petition or resolution.

A celebration of a milestone

In his speech, President Duterte also expressed his gratitude to those who contributed to the successful passage of the BOL.

“Let me also express my gratitude to the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro National Liberation Front for their unwavering commitment, determination, and perseverance in pursuing the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL),” he said.

For his part, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza lauded the collective efforts of all stakeholders for the passage of the measure.

“We got the support of almost all sectors, especially support coming from the President kaya I always say that we have reached a milestone,” he said.

Dureza also emphasized that the passage of BOL is not the end of the journey towards peace in the region.

“Remember, we still have a lot of challenges to work on. The job will not be easy but if everybody will stay the course then maybe we can reach our ultimate dream– sustainable peace,” he said.

Government Panel Implementing Chair Nabil A. Tan said he is optimistic of the prospects that the law will bring to the region.

“The signing of the BOL is a significant contribution to peace. This will hopefully usher in the dawn of progress in Muslim Mindanao,” he said. ###

By | August 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

BARMM is ‘better than ARMM’

DAVAO CITY, August 3, 2018 — Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan today emphasized that the recently approved Organic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is better than the ARMM Organic Law or RA 9054.

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Media Forum on the Bangsamoro Peace Process organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with Mindanews and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11, Tan said the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 27, will grant the BARMM government more funds that would enable the region to chart the course of its economic development.

Ngayon, [magkakaroon na ng] mas maraming pondo (Now, there will be more funds),” he said.

Tan noted that for years, the ARMM government has practically “begged Congress” to release funds for its operations. The fresh resources will give the BARMM “greater fiscal autonomy,” which the ARMM government does not enjoy under the current setup.

He said under the BARMM, an annual block grant is automatically appropriated in the General Appropriation Act (GAA) to the Bangsamoro government specifically for the rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas.

Aside from the Block Grant, a Special Development Fund will also be provided to the BARMM government that will allow it to accelerate its economic progress.

He said together, the Block Grant and the Special Development Fund will give the Bangsamoro people “the wherewithal to move forward and achieve peace and development.”

“It will improve the present ARMM. It will empower [the BARMM government]. It will accord [the Bangsamoro people] greater participation by the national government in terms of governance,” he said.

Tan said more importantly, the passage of the BOL is in step with President Duterte’s directive to implement all signed peace agreements, particularly the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the national government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

At the same time, Tan said the passage of the BOL will effectively counter the narrative of extremist groups that claim the national government has been remiss in providing the needs of the people.

Kaya nagiging fertile ground ng recruitment ng terrorists — Abu sayaff, Maute — dahil yung frustration ng tao, madaling i-feed. So, kapag frustrated ang tao, madaling mahatak sa kung ano-anong illegal na activity (These becomes a fertile ground for terrorists – Abu Sayaff, Maute – to recruit. If the people are frustrated, they are easily lured into joining elicit activities.),” he said.

“This (BOL) is one effective ‘vaccine’ against terrorism,” Tan said.

The day-long forum was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), in partnership with Mindanews and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11. ###

By | August 3rd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

BOL passage seen to pave way for Cordillera autonomy

SAN FERNANDO, La Union, August 1, 2018 — The leadership of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is hopeful that the successful passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will pave the way for the region’s own autonomy as provided for by the 1987 Constitution.

“Learning from the past failures, we want to achieve our autonomy by seeing to it that it is an improvement of our present situation,” Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.

Domogan made the comments at the “Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program Partners’ Workshop” where CAR officials reported on the status of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) roadmap and communications plan to around 70 participants hailing from various government agencies, media outlets, academe, and civil society organizations.

The workshop also gave participants an in-depth look on federalism and the regions’ fiscal powers under it.

House Bill 5343 and Senate Bill 1678 seek to establish the ARC, recognizing that the region is now stable and will continue to be sustainable.

Domogan said currently, CAR provinces are autonomous from each other, “with Congressional districts represented by elected officials and local government administrators exercising powers under existing laws.”

Each CAR province also receives a share from the national government’s Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA).

Domogan said what the CAR provinces want is a regional government “that has a legal personality with no diminution of our present powers and benefits that will assume certain powers, functions, and duties of the national government.”

He said this will enable the region “to formulate its own policies for development using its own resources with additional allocations and share from national taxes from the national government.”

“We will continue to exercise the powers that were granted to us and continue to receive benefits even if we will become autonomous in status,” he added.

The three-day workshop also honed the resource speakers who will be added to the region’s roster of champions for ARC.

The participants also crafted information, education, and communication (IEC) proposals and communications plans for their respective areas of influence.

The event was organized by the RDC-CAR and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office. ###

By | August 1st, 2018|CBA-CPLA, Indigenous Peoples, MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Dureza: Bigger work lies ahead with BOL

Makati City, July 30, 2018 — “There is a bigger work to be done with the passage of the BOL.”

This was reiterated by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza on Monday, days after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) into law.

“Milestones have been reached, pero marami pa tayong gagawin (there is still much to do) in our work for peace,” Dureza said in his message at the first Stakeholders’ Conference of the United Nations Association of the Philippines on Monday at the University of Makati.

He said in spite of this, he remains optimistic the landmark measure will address the grievances of the Bangsamoro people.

“Hopefully, the Bangsamoro Organic Law will address the grievances of the Bangsamoro (people). Will everything be well and OK? No, sir. We may have reached a milestone but it still has to be worked out,” he said.

Dureza said he has confidence in the leadership of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim over the Bangsamoro people.

“I trust that this mechanism will bring a better Bangsamoro area. Dahil I know the leader of the MILF – and I trust that knowing him as a person – he will be up to the requirement of how we could move the Bangsamoro Law for the benefit of everyone,” he said.

Dureza also extended his gratitude to the United Nations (UN) and its agencies for being “one of the strong allies in the work for peace.”

“The UN agencies have been very helpful in our work to where we are today. May mga problema tayo during the course of negotiations, pero hindi sila natinag (There have been problems during the course of negotiations, but they did not falter.)  They continue to work for peace,” he said.

Dureza also urged the UN to stay the course in moving peace forward.

“We need your support, assistance, knowledge, and continuous faith that we can work together on this,” he said.

Joining Dureza in the conference were Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Higher Education Commissioner Ronald Aldamat, and United Nations (UN) Rapporteur Ambassador Rosario Manalo.

The activity was attended by more than 100 representatives from various sectors.

By | July 30th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

Sorsogon’s seaweed farming industry on verge of revival

SORSOGON CITY, July 28, 2018 — Cherry Legaspi can vividly recall when the Province of Sorsogon made a name for itself as one of the biggest seaweed producers in the region back in the day.

Working at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist for decades, Cherry saw how hard the province worked to meet the demand for raw dried seaweed in other parts of the Bicol Region and even Cebu.

“Noong 1990s ang seaweed sa probinsya, napakaganda. Pumupunta pa rito ang mga barko galing Cebu, halos lahat dito kumukuha sa province (The seaweed production in the province was very good back in the 1990s. Ships from as far away as Cebu would come here to get their supply),” Cherry said in an interview.

But in early 2000s, the seaweed industry in the province faced a gradual decline. Local fisherfolk had to depend solely on fishing to make ends meet.

In 2017, the provincial government learned of the 2017 PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and decided to seize the opportunity it presented.

“Noong 2017, humingi ang PAMANA ng proposal. So kami naman sa fisheries division gumawa ng proposal to intensify and revive the seaweed production (PAMANA asked for proposals in 2017. So we in the fisheries division submitted a proposal to intensify and revive seaweed production),” Cherry said.

Through the 2017 PAMANA Program, OPAPP worked hand-in-hand with the provincial government to give the seaweed industry a brand new start.

A total of P22 million was allocated for the province. Of this amount, P17 million was spent for the construction of post-harvest facilities while P5 million was allotted for the production of a 16-hectare seaweed farm.

Fourteen fisherfolk organizations with more than 300 individual members across the province went through extensive training for skills that would help them sustain their own seaweed farms.

Rica Abla, an officer of one the organizations, said the project is an alternative livelihood to fishing especially now that there has been a significant decline in fish catch.

“Kasi ngayon ramdam ang hirap, ramdam din ang kakulangan. Dumami na rin iyong mga mangingisda, may time talaga na kulang (iyong huli). So iyong seaweed na iyon, magiging alternative para papahingahin muna ang karagatan (These days we really feel the hardship. And because the number of fishermen has increased, there are times when the catch is really small. Seaweed production will be a good alternative as we let the waters recover),” Rica said.

“So itong programa ng OPAPP ay makakadagdag sa hanapbuhay para sa aming mga pamilya, at para sa pagpapa-aral ng mga anak. Kumbaga maitatawid namin iyong buhay sa ganitong paraan (This OPAPP program will add income to our families and allow us to continue sending our children to school. We can make ends meet through this),” she added.

For his part, Provincial Governor Robert Rodrigueza urged the communist rebels in the province to return and live a civilian life, saying this project will give them opportunities to live decent lives.

“Malaking tulong talaga sa mga mangingisda kaya sa nakikita ko, iyong ating mga kaibigan o kababayan dyan sa taas, mas mae-engganyo silang bumaba na dahil nandito ang gobyerno — nakabukas ang kamay handang tumulong sa kanila (This is a big help to fisherfolk, and I also see that our friends in the mountains can be enticed to come down as they realize that government is here and ready to help them),” Rodrigueza said.

As for Cherry, her hope remains that it will not be long before the Province of Sorsogon carves out its name again as one of the biggest players in the seaweed industry.

“With this project na funded ng OPAPP, baka ito na iyong susi na mabuhay ulit iyong industriya ng seaweed sa buong probinsya na makakatulong talaga sa fishing communities (This OPAPP-funded project can be the key to reviving the seaweed industry in the whole province and help the fishing communities),” she said. ###

By | July 28th, 2018|CPP-NPA-NDF, News, PAMANA|0 Comments

Dureza: Bangsamoro Organic Law was ‘collateral damage’

July 23, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today lamented the Lower House’s non-ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) but said it had nothing to do with the law itself.

“It was due to some leadership issues internal to the House of Representatives,” Dureza said in an interview with Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) hours after the House adjourned abruptly without ratifying the BOL.

“Everybody was expecting BOL signing, but due to leadership issues, BOL became collateral damage,” he added.

The Senate had earlier in the day ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee version of the Bangsamoro law, known as the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.”

It was supposed to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte before his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) but this was derailed when the Lower House failed to ratify it.

Despite the debacle, Dureza said he remains hopeful that the law will soon be ratified. “We expect that eventually, BOL will be ratified and signed by the President.”

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is part of the political track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – a peace deal that was signed between the government and the MILF in 2014.

The law will strengthen the current autonomy set-up for the Moros in Mindanao, giving them more control over their resources and political power over the new Bangsamoro region in Mindanao. ###

By | July 23rd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Dureza: Mindanaoans hold the key to their own future

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (July 21, 2018) — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza believes the people of Mindanao themselves hold the key to bringing long-lasting peace and sustainable development in the island-region.

“You are the best talents that we need to transform society,” Dureza told a gathering here of alumni of the Mindanao State University (MSU) on Saturday.

Noting that many of those in attendance are now based in different parts of the country and abroad, Dureza said: “Some of you are looking at Mindanao from a distance. You have the talent, capability and strong desire to [carry out] transformation here in Mindanao,” he said.

Excellent human resources pool

According to Dureza, Mindanao has an “excellent pool of human resources” that can be marshalled to address the many challenges the island-region is facing, particularly in the peace and development front.

“You are in the best position to help. The work for peace is something you can do in many ways,” he said.

Dureza said the contribution of Mindanaoans will be crucial especially in combating the rise of violent extremism (VE), which reared its ugly head during the Marawi crisis last year.

“VE is already here in our shores. I know that your hearts are now bleeding with what has happened to the city,” he said.

Dureza said this is the reason the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is carrying out initiatives designed to repair the “social fabric” that was torn apart during the five-month siege.

Social healing

These efforts include social healing activities that have allowed victims of the conflict to openly express their sorrow, anger, and other grievances.

“When there is conflict, people have pain in their hearts. We need to bring back social cohesion in the community,” he said.

Dureza, however, said genuine transformation cannot happen unless the issues of corruption and rido (clan war) are also decisively addressed by all stakeholders.

Based on a needs assessment undertaken by OPAPP, residents identified the culture of rido and alleged corrupt practices as major stumbling blocks to the area’s rehabilitation.

“For instance, when a local official only attends to members of his clan, you are depriving others of opportunities,” he said. “And when you take the law into your own hands…That is not a standard value.”

Dureza said these issues are now being utilized by violent extremists to justify their actions and obtain support from people for their twisted cause.

“These are among the many triggers of violent extremism. And mainly because the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people have not been adequately addressed,” he said.

Bangsamoro Organic Law

Dureza is confident these key concerns will be addressed once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which has been renamed as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He said when the President delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, “he will announce a new Bangsamoro unit. It will be called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).”

Dureza said the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “was very pleased” with the BOL, describing it as an “enhanced version of the ARMM.”

He explained that when the proposed law is signed by President Duterte, there will be a plebiscite in October this year, to be followed by a transition period.

“If the majority of the Bangsamoro people agree (through the plebiscite), that is the time the law will take effect,” he said.

Thereafter, the President will constitute a Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that will be composed of 80 members – 40 coming from the MILF and the rest from the other sectors of society.

Dureza said the BTA will adopt a parliamentary form of government and will be headed by a chief minister.

He gave assurance that the term of office of current ARMM officials will not be cut short with the establishment of the BTA and will still be able to serve out their terms until June 2019.

“The BARMM will transcend the concerns of the Bangsamoro,” Dureza said.

In closing, the peace adviser called on the MSU alumni to find inner peace within themselves and become agents of peace and development.

“If you want peace, you have to be peaceful person first.  You cannot give what you do not have,” he said. ###

 

 

By | July 22nd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Bangsamoro Organic Law seen to bring lasting peace

JULY 22, 2018 –  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman welcomed the historic approval of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro by the Bicameral Committee, saying it moves the Bangsamoro people “closer to having a regional government that is reflective of our the times and is responsive to the most urgent needs of the Bangsamoro.”

“(The law) is now a piece of our history — one that speaks of our struggle as we assert our rights as a people, and of the sacrifices we share together with the Filipino people who were unwavering in their belief and commitment to meaningful development, lasting peace and justice for all,” Hataman added.

The governor’s sentiments were shared by various groups and individuals who said the organic law is a big step in achieving peace in Mindanao.

“(The organic law) will usher in genuine autonomy for the attainment of lasting peace and sustainable development in Mindanao and the whole country,” National Ulama Council of the Philippines Secretary-general Alih Aiyub said.

The Bicameral Committee worked to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from July 9 to 18. Its approval came four years after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The organic law is the political track of the CAB and is expected to bring genuine and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro

Now known as the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” it is expected to be ratified by both houses of Congress on Monday, July 23, and then signed by President Rodrigo Duterte before he gives his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the same day.

Students from Cotabato City expressed their joy and support after the approval of the organic law.

Masaya po sa pakiramdam dahil matagal na po itong inaasam ng Bangsamoro dito sa aming lugar (We are happy because the Bangsamoro in our place has been anticipating this for a long time),” said Moazd Guiamal, a student of Cotabato City National High School.

Norhamina Andil, a student of Cotabato City Polytechnic College, called on Mindanaons to support the law. “Sana po, supportahan natin ang pagpirma ng ating Pangulo. Ito ang solusyon sa gulo dito sa Mindanao (I hope we support the signing of this law by the President. This is the solution to the conflict here in Mindanao).”

Reuben Lastimoso, a Christian living in Midsayap, North Cotabato, said he is happy at the progress of the organic law. “Masaya ako na naipapasa na ang BBL para magkaroon na tayo ng kapayapaan dito sa Mindanao (I am glad the BBL has been passed. Now we will have peace here in Mindanao).”

In a statement, the League of Bangsamoro Organizations said the organic law “could help build the trust of our people in fighting for their rights through a democratic and universally accepted solution of conflict instead of prolonging the war as an option.” ###

By | July 22nd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

GPH-MILF peace mechanisms: Key to sustaining the gains of peace

DAVAO CITY, July 18, 2018 — The existing peace mechanisms have been instrumental in sustaining the gains of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

This was the consensus of participants of the joint meeting of the GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) held at the Linmarr Apartelle here on Wednesday.

Brigadier General Cirilo Thomas Donato Jr., chair of the government’s Ceasefire Committee, underscored the importance of the gathering, saying it was “very timely” in light of recent developments in the peace and security front.

“What is important for us is to keep on talking and keep on engaging each other,” Donato told the more than 70 government and MILF members of the CCCH and AHJAG coming from conflict-affected areas throughout Mindanao.

“All our efforts will be put to waste if no one is working on the ground,” he said, acknowledging the outstanding work of the CCCH and the AHJAG in the field.

Donato explained that through the CCCH and AHJAG, which are among the main peace or ceasefire mechanisms, potential situations of conflict between government troops and MILF forces are immediately resolved.

In fact, he said, over the years a number of possible armed encounters have been averted due to the timely intervention of the CCCH and AHJAG.

“We therefore need to strengthen our cooperation and collaboration,” he said, adding this strong partnership between the government and MILF will be crucial particularly in the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The landmark measure, which aims to finally address the perceived historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people, is expected to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 23, the day he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In the same meeting, Professor Aboud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, said the ongoing GPH-MILF peace process does not only aim to address situations of conflict but, more importantly, to leave a lasting legacy of peace to the Filipino people.

“This (peace process) is our great contribution. We have maintained the peace process because of its primacy,” he said.

“You shoot at each other during battle. But when you try to resolve conflict, you sit in the negotiation table,” he added, recalling how the government and MILF were able to find a peaceful settlement to the armed conflict that led to the passage of the final GPH-MILF peace agreement.

Lingga said there were differences in how the government and MILF conducted their operations, but due to the presence of various peace mechanisms, contentious issues were immediately resolved and the outbreak of armed confrontations were prevented.

“Instead of shouting, you talk to each other. You don’t put fuel to the fire,” he said.

Lingga commended members of the CCCH and AHJAG for their crucial role in maintaining the gains of the GPH-MILF peace process.

“The peace process has provided a model, an example, of how two (different) fighting units can work together. You have demonstrated how you can all work together, to adjust to situations,” he said.

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso emphasized the importance of the peace mechanisms and how they have helped in creating a groundswell of support for the BBL.

“Had it not been for these peace mechanisms, this (BBL) would not have been possible,” he said. “We have gone far. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” ###

By | July 18th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments
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