‘Hijab troopers’ go nationwide

TAGUIG CITY, December 12, 2018 — The “Hijab Troopers” program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be implemented nationwide after the successful deployment during the Marawi siege last year.

Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., Head of the Civil Military Operations (CMO) Regiment, said the women in uniform will be deployed in core areas in the National Capital Region, namely CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela City) and Maharlika Village, to provide cultural and psychosocial services in urban communities.

Kung gusto niyong ipagpatuloy ang trabaho ninyo as Hijab Troopers, mayroon tayong isang kumpanya na organic sa CMO Regiment and we are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City,” Brawner told around 50 Hijab Troopers during the recognition program held for them on Monday.

(If you want to continue your tasks as Hijab Troopers, we have an organic company in the CMO Regiment available for you. We are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City.)

The Hijab Troopers were each given a Military Merit Medal by Philippine Army Commanding General Macairog Alberto.

In her keynote message, Undersecretary Diosita Andot from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process seconded Brawner’s encouragement.

“My bias ako towards women empowerment, so I encourage you to accept Colonel Brawner’s challenge,” she said.

“As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. At alam ko na with the job that you are doing within the internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps nagagawa niyo na rin ‘yong peacemaking and peacebuilding,” Andot added.

(As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. But I know that with the job you are doing in the IDP camps, you can also do peacemaking and peacebuilding as well.)

By | December 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|1 Comment

Thousands bat for “Yes” victory in Bangsamoro plebiscite

COTABATO CITY, December 10, 2018 — Tens of thousands of supporters all over Mindanao rallied behind the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) today during the kick-off assembly for the plebiscite campaign held at the Office of the Regional Governor Compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in this city.

Clad in shirts printed with “Yes to BOL,” supporters from eight different provinces flooded the streets of Cotabato City to call for a resounding victory in the upcoming plebiscite scheduled on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

In his message, Government Peace Implementing Panel Chair Undersecretary Nabil A. Tan emphasized the dividends of peace the law will bring to the region, which had been beset by decades of conflict.

Ito ay para sa kapayapaan, permanent peace na matagal na natin minimithi para sa Mindanao,” he said.

(This is for peace, permanent peace that we have been dreaming of for Mindanao).

His counterpart from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Chair Mohagher Iqbal, said the law’s inclusive provisions ensure that every sector will benefit in the Bangsamoro region.

Para ito sa lahat. Walang maiiwan, ito ay para sa ating lahat,” he said.

(This is for all. No one will be left behind. This is for all of us.)

The campaign period for the plebiscite started on December 7 with peace rallies from all over the country including here in Cotabato City and Manila. The campaign period will end on January 19, 2019.

MILF, MNLF unite for BOL

The leadership of both the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) vowed to campaign aggressively for the law in their respective communities.

In a message read by Bangsamoro National People’s Congress Chair Muslimin Sema, current MNLF Central Committee Chair Yusop Jikiri urged the Bangsamoro to continue their peaceful efforts towards realization of Bangsamoro aspirations.

“We rewrite the history books to instill in the minds of those that will come after us that the demand for a just, dignified, and lasting peace requires revisiting the past before facing the future,” he said. “We rewrite the history books to end centuries of hatred, mistrust, and injustice that caused and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos.”

MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, meanwhile, narrated the Bangsamoro’s struggle for peace and recognition of their identity as he urged everyone to give BOL a chance to succeed.

“I don’t think that there will be another law if BOL fails. (So) I appeal to everyone to be objective in evaluating BOL,” he said.

Overwhelming sectoral support seen for the plebiscite campaign

Various sectoral leaders pledged to support and campaign for the BOL to advance peace and development in the region

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman threw his full support for the campaign as he urged the Bangsamoro to participate in the campaign and the plebiscite.

Tandaan po natin, kayo ang makapangyarihan sa January 21. Hindi mabubuo ang BOL kung wala kayo,” he said.

(Let us remember that on January 21, the power is in your hands. The creation of BOL will not be possible without you).

Fr. Clifford Baira said Christian communities will support the new Bangsamoro region.

“Our simple formula is to engage the people of the Bangsamoro. Let them be part of the governance in the inclusive quest for peace in Mindanao,” he said.

Upi, Maguindanao Mayor and representative from the indigenous people Ramon Piang Sr. gave assurance that the Lumad will step up their campaign for the plebiscite.

Representatives from the youth, traditional leaders, women, and the business community also committed to campaign for the law in their respective communities.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019. ###


By | December 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

BOL campaign starts Dec 7

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — Officials of the government and the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) urged residents of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to take part in the plebiscites early next year as the official campaign period for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) starts on Friday, December 7.

This as Atty. Rey Sumalipao, Regional Director of the Commission on Elections, announced that the  COMELEC is now ready to “have honest and orderly” plebiscites on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

“We will work to have clean elections,” Sumalipao said during a media forum here organized by the Joint Communications Committee of the government and the MILF.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the towns and barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019.

If the BOL is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by the BARMM, giving more political power to the Bangsamoro people to govern their ancestral lands.

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 (CAB) – a peace deal between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – the new law for the Bangsamoro reflects and builds upon the gains of previous Moro peace agreements since the 1970s.

A major campaign rally will be launched in this city on Monday, with thousands expected to attend the first salvo of the campaign for the ratification of the BOL.

At the media forum, former Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza allayed the concerns of the people over the establishment of the new BARMM.

“The BOL is not only for the Moro fronts, it is for all and it is inclusive,” he said.

Dureza said he will actively campaign for the BOL and the peace processes in the country in his private capacity.

“We should continue to support this effort and if we don’t get this last chance with President (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) we may never have it again in the future,” he said.

He encouraged the supporters to “go to areas where we need strong voices.”

“I’ll be supporting my peace partners and the advocacy even in my personal capacity,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and member of BTC, called on the people to ratify the law, saying this will address the clamor of the Bangsamoro people for self-governance.

“The BOL is for the welfare not only of the Bangsamoro people but (also of) non-Muslims residing in the Bangsamoro areas,” he said. “The BOL is a formula for peace, development, and progress.”

The BTC commissioners were one in saying the people should give the BOL a chance.

Commissioner Jose Lorena said the people in the Bangsamoro area stand to benefit from security and economic development that will be fostered by the BOL.

“The BOL will put an end to the conflict dahil nagkasundo ang mga revolutionary movements. It will put an end to the marginalization that we have and it will provide an effective governance for the region,” he said.

Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said the BOL is not an ordinary legislation but “ a peace document.”

Commissioner Susana Anayatin said 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 idea is that the BOL embraces everyone and is inclusive to all,” she said.

The law provides exercise of meaningful autonomy for the Moro people by charting their own political future through a democratic process. It also guarantees fiscal autonomy to the Bangsamoro Government by the provision of a block grant, greater share in local taxes and revenues obtained from natural resources, and a special development fund to enable the region to catch up with neighboring regions in Mindanao.  ###


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

Peace Education among top priorities in the new Bangsamoro Government

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — “Kung gusto natin ng kapayapaan, simulan natin sa silid-aralan (If we want peace, let’s start in the classroom).”

This was emphasized by Commissioner Susana Anayatin of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) during the sectoral forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Wednesday here in this city.

Saying the education sector holds a vital role in shaping the minds of the youth, Anayatin urged school officials to support the advocacy for peace provided in the BOL.

“The Bangsamoro Government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels. Sa magiging curriculum natin, i-mainstream na iyong framework of peace such as respect for human rights, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental care,” Anayatin said.

In September 2006, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order 570 which requires elementary and secondary schools all over the country to include peace education in their curriculum.

Anayatin, however, said past administrations failed to fully implement the order especially in public schools.

Ang karamihan po sa sumunod doon ay private schools. Sa Bangsamoro, susundin po natin ang kautusan na iyon. Di po iyan bagong kautusan pero inilagay natin sa batas (It was mostly implemented by private schools. In the Bangsamoro, we will follow this order. It’s not a new order but it’s something we placed in the law),” she added.

Anayatin said this measure will prevent the recruitment of the youth to violent extremist groups.

Maraming kabataan ang di nakakapag-aral. Iyong iba naging rebelde, iyong iba naging terorista na ngayon. Iyong nangyari sa Marawi, mga professionals ang ibang nandoon. Bakit? Sapagkat nawawalan na sila ng tiwala sa gobyerno,” Anayatin said.

(A lot of young people are not able to go to school anymore. Some become rebels, others terrorists. Those who laid siege to Marawi included professionals. Why? Because they lost trust in government.)

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Nabil Tan urged the participants through a video message to maximize the opportunity as they play a vital role in passing on information about the landmark measure.

The same sentiment was shared by Edgar Sumapal, OIC Assistant of Cotabato City Schools Division.

“As an educator and school leader, it is incumbent upon us to provide accurate information about the BOL,” Sumapal said.

The forum, which was attended by around 100 officials and administrators from Cotabato City Schools Division, was held to provide updates on the conduct of the plebiscite and shed light on the pressing issues surrounding the BOL.

Among the resource speakers present during the forum were BTC Commissioners Mohagher Iqbal, Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph, Ibrahim Ali, and Atty. Lanang Ali.


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

Preparations underway for transition from ARMM to BARMM

SAN MATEO, RIZAL (November 9, 2018) – The core team for the transition of the Bangsamoro began formulating the proposed organizational structure of the Bangsamoro  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that will be part of the Transition Plan to be submitted to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The workshop, dubbed “Transitioning from ARMM to BARMM,” is the first of a three-part workshop designed to come up with the Transition Plan.

The three-day workshop aims to provide participants an overview of the organizational and administrative requirements of setting up the BTA and the transitional bureaucracy enshrined in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“Let us not allow challenges to dampen our spirits as we continue to work for peace and development for the Bangsamoro and the country,” Deputy Peace Adviser Undersecretary Nabil Tan told the members of the Coordination Team for the Transition (CT4T) for the Bangsamoro at the start of the workshop.

The CT4T is the body tasked to ensure the smooth transition from ARMM to BARMM once the BOL is ratified.

According to the terms of reference (TOR) signed by then GPH-MILF Peace Negotiating Panels on 23 November 2014, the CT4T serves as the “primary mechanism for coordination between Parties and concerned agencies to ensure that the necessary steps are undertaken in preparation for the transition leading to the installation of the BTA.”

The CT4T has five members each from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“With the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law fast approaching, extensive preparations are under way to facilitate smooth and efficient transition from the current ARMM until the installation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” Tan said.

Also present in the workshop to provide important inputs were representatives from the MILF, ARMM, Department of Budget and Management, and Civil Service Commission.

Bangsamoro Transition Commissioners Jose I. Lorena and Maisara Dandamun-Lapith were also provided inputs during the workshop.

Engr. Baintan Ampatuan of the ARMM-Regional Planning and Development Office gave updates on the current government structure of the ARMM.

Dr. Miyoko Tanaguchi, Senior Adviser on Peacebuilding of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), discussed the comparison between the existing ARMM structure and the BOL provisions on organizational structure.

Dr. Tanaguchi has been working with the MILF in the review of the organizational structure of the ARMM and the possible structure to be placed in the Bangsamoro.

JICA Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa expressed confidence the workshop will address the challenge faced by the MILF in transitioning from a revolutionary group to a government body as well as in the transition from ARMM to BARMM.

For his part, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) President and Chief Executive Officer Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan Jr. challenged the participants to fully engage in the discussion and contribute their ideas for the improvement of BARMM.

“We hope that you take full advantage of this opportunity by engaging each and every one in a constructive dialogue, and to always be patient and open to ideas with others, knowing fully well that we do this in the name of peace,” he said.

The workshop was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with the CT4T through the support of JICA and DAP. ###


By | November 9th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

MNLF pledges to carry out aggressive info campaign in support of BOL

DAVAO CITY (October 30, 2018) — Top officials of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) met with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza here to pledge their full support for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) through the implementation of a strategic information, education and communications (IEC) campaign in their communities.

“The MNLF is committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning for (its ratification in) the plebiscite,” MNLF Central Committee Chair Yusoph Jikiri told Dureza during the meeting yesterday.

In response, Dureza acknowledged the MNLF’s strong commitment to help the national government in creating a greater level of public awareness on the landmark measure.

“I am very pleased with the MNLF’s determined efforts to help the Duterte administration in generating a groundswell of support for BBL and ensure its ratification,” he said.

In particular, Dureza lauded the MNLF Central Committee for issuing a resolution declaring the organization’s unequivocal support for the BOL’s ratification and eventual implementation.

The resolution was issued during the MNLF’s General Assembly held last October 7 in Indanan, Sulu.

Monday’s dialogue was a follow up to a conversation between Dureza and members of the MNLF Central Committee held earlier this month in Davao City.

During that meeting, it was agreed that the MNLF, in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), will develop and implement a multi-stakeholder IEC campaign within the organization’s areas of coverage.   

“The MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Jikiri, has over the years been a reliable partner of the national government in sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao,” Dureza said.

“We hope to continue strengthening this partnership in the coming years,” he added.

Dureza said the BOL will not favor any particular group or organization, emphasizing that it is the embodiment of all signed agreements between the Philippine Government and the various Moro fronts in Mindanao.

“The BOL’s main feature is its inclusiveness in which everyone is part of the peace and development process,” he said.

“No one should be left behind,” he added.

Dureza said the BOL is envisioned to be “a platform for convergence” in which all stakeholders – regardless of tribe, ideology, or religion – will partake of the benefits of economic development.

The Government of the Philippines and the MNLF signed a final peace agreement on September 2, 1996 putting an end to the 24-year armed struggle of the rebel organization.

On March 27, 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was forged between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), bringing closure to decades of armed hostilities in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the BOL into law on July 27, 2018, a realization of his commitment to finally address the historical injustices against the Bangsamoro people.

Meanwhile, in Zamboanga City, representatives of the MNLF and OPAPP sat side by side as they participated in a training workshop dubbed “Speakers Training on the BOL.”

Organized by OPAPP, the workshop is part of the series of activities under the Joint GPH-MNLF IEC campaign which aims to capacitate members of the MNLF as key resource persons on the law.

During the training, MNLF Secretary General Abdul Kong Sahrin urged his comrades in the MNLF to help redefine the organization’s vision in relation to the BOL.

“We need to redefine our vision and (determine) how to pursue it,” Sahrin said.

The top MNLF leader said the MNLF and the MILF share a common vision for the Bangsamoro and should look at each other as partners.

“This partnership is established on the principle of convergence. It is the preferred political option,” Sahrin said.

He said the BOL is “a superior version” of all previous peace agreements signed.

“The BOL is ARMM-plus-plus. There is no reason for you not to support it,” Sahrin said.

For his part, MNLF deputy secretary general Rasul Rasdi said the peace process “does not only mean the signing of peace agreements” but also “the building of a socio-economic structure.”

“The Moros have suffered for many years. We therefore need to focus on economic development so that everyone enjoys (the benefits of growth),” Rasdi said. ###


By | October 30th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|Comments Off on MNLF pledges to carry out aggressive info campaign in support of BOL

Dureza lauds Mindanao business community for economic progress in the region

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 25, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza lauded the Mindanao business community for its role in the island region’s “amazing transformation.”

In a letter read for him by OPAPP’s Conflict Prevention and Management Unit Director Ferdinand Jovita on Wednesday at the 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards here in this city, Dureza said the economic progress that Mindanao is experiencing now is due to the major contributions made by the business community.

“You are the force behind the island region’s amazing transformation. You are among the reasons Mindanao is no longer considered the hotbed of a raging, decades-old insurgency but a land of vast opportunity and promise,” Dureza said.

Saying peace and development must be pursued simultaneously, Dureza underscored the programs and initiatives that the government is undertaking to move peace forward especially in conflict-affected areas across the southern region.

“This is exactly what we are trying to do in Mindanao, particularly in the implementation of programs and projects in conflict-affected communities. None of these development initiatives will succeed unless they are anchored on the principles of peace, cooperation, and solidarity,” he said.

Ending his message, Dureza urged the business leaders to take a proactive role in peace building.

“May all of you continue to carry out your mission of not only helping create more economic opportunities for our fellow Mindanaoans but, more importantly, take part in the collective effort to bring just and enduring peace in our island-region,” he said.


The 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards was held to recognize entrepreneurs who made valuable contributions in fostering economic growth in the region. ###

By | October 25th, 2018|CPP-NPA-NDF, MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

International donor community reaffirms support for GPH-MILF peace process

DAVAO CITY, October 12, 2018 — Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the international donor community converged yesterday in this city to declare their unwavering support for the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In his opening remarks during the “Conversation Between MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim and Development Partners” organized by the United Nations in the Philippines, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza underscored the invaluable role of foreign partners in pushing the GPH-MILF peace process forward.

Umbilical cord of peace process

“We appreciate that you are all here to lend your support. You are the umbilical cord that kept us from walking away,” Dureza said.

He noted how the country’s international partners had helped sustain the peace negotiations between the national government and the rebel group particularly during periods of uncertainty and armed conflict.

He said with the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he is looking forward to seeing the continued assistance coming from foreign partners, especially the implementation of initiatives that would help create a groundswell of support for the landmark measure.

“Expectations from the people are very high. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Dureza said.

He also emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the many challenges confronting the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in a plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

According to the peace adviser, high poverty incidence, a dearth of job opportunities, and the lack of adequate infrastructure are among the major concerns confronting the region.

“We have to address these problems together,” he said, adding that finding solutions to these pressing issues “is only solving half of the problem.”

Dureza said in order to bring about sustainable development in communities, stakeholders should focus their efforts on improving the lives of people on the ground.

He said due to the much-improved peace and security conditions in the region, genuine economic growth can now take root wherein the Bangsamoro people can partake of its benefits.

Dureza stressed the need for everyone to “learn from the lessons of the past.”

“Let us not squander this golden opportunity,” her said,

From fighters to leaders

For his part, MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim said the MILF is fully aware of the many challenges confronting his organization, particularly the forthcoming shift from the ARMM to the BARMM.

Murad said the upcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL is “a major hurdle” for the MILF, which is the main proponent of the law and is expected to assume top leadership positions once the BARMM is set up.

He said the establishment of the Bangsamoro region and government requires the enactment of the law, which, he pointed out, “is the product of more than 40 years of negotiations.“

Murad admitted that the MILF members’ transition from being combatants to leaders in the community will not be easy and will require a lot of effort on their part.

“We are revolutionaries who have been trained in warfare but nil in terms of experience in electoral processes,” he said.

Murad said there are two crucial transitions that must happen to ensure the MILF completes its transformation as an organization.

The first transition is the implementation of timely programs and projects for the 30,000 to 40,000 MILF fighters who will undergo the delicate process of decommissioning.

“These combatants need to be transformed into productive members of the population,” Murad said.

The second transition would be providing the MILF members with the necessary capacity-building interventions that will make them capable and effective leaders.

“We need to understand the intricacies of government. We are neophytes [in this field] and we need to learn,” Murad said.

Greater synergy among donors

At the same event, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren lauded the MILF leadership for working hard to turn their vision into reality.

“Your (MILF) vision is very clear. You laid out a central pathway that would give us the ability to engage,” Almgren said.

He stressed the need for greater synergy among international donor agencies, particularly in the implementation of programs and projects in the region.

“There must be an alignment of our plans with those of the Bangsamoro,” Almgren said as he reaffirmed his agency’s commitment to undertake initiatives that would help bring long-lasting peace and genuine development in the region.

“We are happy to play that role. We stand ready to help you,” he said. ###

By | October 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

BOL will end Moro people’s ‘narrative of isolation’ – BTC commissioner

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 11, 2018 — The passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is a major victory not only for the Moro people but for the Filipino nation as a whole.

This was declared by Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Commissioner Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph during the seminar workshop dubbed “Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context” held October 9 at the VIP Hotel in this city.

“The [BOL] will result in unity and social cohesion,” Latiph said, noting that there are still “a lot of misconceptions” about the Moro people.

She said she is hopeful that through the landmark measure, there will be a better understanding of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations, particularly their decades-long struggle for self-governance.

Latiph, who was among those who drafted the BOL, said the law is one of the major pillars of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed in 2014 between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

She said the CAB is “a comprehensive solution” which, through the BOL, “will be the legal framework that will set the stage” towards realizing the dreams of the Moros.

In order to ensure the successful implementation of the BOL, Latiph re-echoed Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza’s recommendation to carry out a multi-stakeholder effort that would help capacitate the future leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM government.

The BARMM will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in the plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

“We need leaders who will do their best and be capacitated,” Latiph said.

She said this capacity-building process was requested by the MILF leadership itself, which recognized the need to equip its members with the necessary skills that would enable them to become effective leaders.

She said the upcoming plebiscite to ratify the BOL is very crucial.

“This (plebiscite) is a recognition of the legitimacy of the [future] BARMM government,” Latiph said. “It is the people [themselves] who will say yes or no to the law.”

Latiph said she is confident that once the BOL is implemented properly, the people will throw their full support behind it.  

“We need a foundation where we can stand on,” she said, referring to the BOL.

Latiph said she anticipates that upon the ratification and full implementation of the law, “the narrative of isolation [of the Bangsamoro people] will come to an end.” ###

By | October 11th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

OPAPP urges civil society: Read the BOL

CAGAYAN DE ORO, October 10, 2018  – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has urged members of civil society to go over the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in its entirety as this will be the key in developing a better appreciation of the landmark measure.

“Please read it. This is the best way to understand it,” OPAPP Undersecretary and GPH Implementing Panel Chair Nabil Tan said in his remarks at the “Civil Society Organization’s Assessment and Planning Workshop” held last October 8 at the New Dawn Plus Hotel in this city.

The two-day forum was organized by the Initiatives for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) and supported by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

Tan said there are still apprehensions regarding the law because many still have not seen its actual content.

“Get hold of the law. So there will be no misconceptions about it,” he said as he highlighted key provisions of the BOL covering the areas of governance, employment, resource-sharing, revenue collections, and peace and security.

Block Grant and Special Development Fund

Tan said among the major economic features of the BOL is the Block Grant, a 5 percent share of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from the total national revenue collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The fund, he said, will be automatically appropriated to the Bangsamoro government and will be reflected in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“This will address underdevelopment in the region,” Tan said, emphasizing that under the new setup, the BARMM leadership “will no longer need to beg for funds from Congress” as what had happened during the past administrations.

Tan said aside from the Block Grant, the region will also be given a Special Development Fund that will enable conflict-affected communities in the area to catch up with their more progressive counterparts and partake of the benefits of economic growth.


On the concern of what will happen to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Tan said once the BOL is ratified by residents during the plebiscite in January 21, 2019, the ARMM will be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.

“If they vote for yes, the ARMM will be abolished and become the BARMM,” he said, explaining the yes vote will have to be made by the region as whole. “But if they vote no, they will remain in the ARMM.”

The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

With regards to the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte — Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagaloan, and Tangkal — which voted for their inclusion during the 2001 ARMM plebiscite, Tan said a majority “yes” vote to be cast by residents across the province is needed for these municipalities to become part of the BARMM.

A social contract

On the status of ARMM personnel, Tan gave assurance that current employees who will not be absorbed under the new government will be given the chance to re-apply.

Tan, however, stressed that these workers must be able to meet certain qualification standards for them to be considered for the position.

“We must remember that the BOL is not only a legal document but also a social contract as well,” he said.


On the issue of revenue sharing between the BARMM and national government for taxes collected in the region, Tan said it is going to be “70-30” arrangement in favor of the former.

But he said  for the next 10 years, the BARMM government will receive 100 percent of the region’s overall revenue collections.

In terms of revenue sharing from taxes collected on natural resources such as fossil fuels, it will be a “50-50” arrangement for both parties, he said.

Concerns on police, armed forces and Shariah courts

Contrary to some misconceptions, the BARMM government will not establish its own police and armed forces, Tan clarified.

“The defense of the state is lodged with the national government. The 1987 Philippine Constitution says that there will only be one national police and one armed forces,” he said.

With regards to fears that the Shariah Law will be strictly implemented across the region, Tan said the law will only apply to those who belong to the Muslim faith.

“This law (Shariah) only holds for offenses committed by members of the (Muslim) community,” he said. “Regular courts will continue to function.”

Managing expectations

For his part, Haron Meling, a commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said the people will have to manage their expectations because the BOL will not provide an all-encompassing solution to all the challenges confronting the region.

“It (BOL) will not be a panacea even if implemented in the fullest. The (BARMM) government is not a magic wand,” Meling said.

He said over the years, the MILF leadership has focused on one primary goal and that is “to address the Moro problem.”

The passage of the BOL, Meling said, was therefore a major victory for the Bangsamoro people because it was a realization of their decades-long struggle to be recognized as a people.

In order for the region to achieve its full potential, he said people must unite and translate their aspirations into action.

“We have to plan and work hard to realize these dreams,” Meling said.

The “Columbian Experience”

At the same forum, Dr. Chetan Kumar, Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding to the UN and resident coordinator to UNDP-Philippines, said the “Colombian experience” offers a lot of insights on how peace agreements can be implemented and succeed.

“Many did not understand why the law was important to them,” he said.

“All the work you are doing should therefore inspire, make people better understand (the law),” he added. ###

By | October 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments