PASIG CITY, August 23, 2018 – Around 40 peace stakeholders gathered here today to participate in a writeshop aimed at producing the program document for the Normalization Program in the Bangsamoro.

“Crafting this program document will hopefully set the modalities and parameters in executing the programs, thus providing us with uniformity, consistency, and timeliness in our actions,” Government of the Philippines (GPH) Implementing Panel Chair Nabil Tan said.

Among those in attendance in the writeshop were representatives from the GPH-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panels, GPH-MILF peace mechanisms, Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS), Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and World Bank (WB), Institute for Bangsamoro Studies (IBS), Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), and the Bangsamoro Development Academy (BDA).

Tan also extended his gratitude to the international partners that supported the Normalization process.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm and the assistance of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Development Academy of the Philippines, World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme for their assistance,” he said.

WB consultant Marcelo Fabre commended the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for their commitment to pursue peace and development.

“This is the chance of a lifetime to address poverty and injustice. A chance to break that cycle and to make a difference,” Fabre said.

Normalization as defined in the agreement is the process whereby “conflict-affected communities can return to the condition where they can achieve their desired quality of life which includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihood and political participation within a peaceful deliberative society”.

The Normalization program is under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed in 2014 where the GPH and MILF were transformed from parties in negotiation to partners in implementation of the agreement.

The CAB specifies the creation of a trust fund that allows international donor agencies and their partners to provide urgent support to the Bangsamoro’s needs.

A workshop was conducted last month to discuss the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF), a multi-donor funding facility envisioned to support the process of normalization for the Bangsamoro.

The BNTF’s primary objective is to finance and oversee the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and development of Bangsamoro communities.

It also aims to provide assistance to former combatants and develop the six previously-acknowledged MILF camps. ###