PASIG CITY, 13 July 2019 — Representatives of civil society organizations and political parties from Myanmar visited the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) here to learn about the Philippine peace process, specifically the security sector mechanism and reforms being carried out by the national government.

The delegation was composed of members of the Ta’ang (Palaung) National Party, Kayin People’s Party, Tai-Leng (Red Shan) Nationalities Development Party, and Tagaung Institute of Political Studies (TIPS).

The group showed great interest in the implementation of the Normalization Phase under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

On July 27, 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Bangsomoro Organic Law which was ratified on January 25, 2019 which paved the way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Normalization Track, on the other hand, will include the decommissioning of around 30,000 to 40,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants and their weapons.

During the discussion, OPAPP Director Scheherazade Ruivivar explained that the Political and Normalization Tracks, specifically the latter’s security components, are being implemented simultaneously.

According to Ruivivar, all of these mechanisms are designed to complement each other and build trust between both parties.

“Remember that all our mechanisms are jointly implemented so confidence-building for both parties is actually high. So, they (government and MILF) are at ease with each other,”.

For their part, members of the delegation extended their gratitude to the OPAPP executives for sharing their knowledge, experiences and expertise.

“Thank you because we have learned a lot from your experience and how we can also contribute to the peace process in our country,” said U Ye Myo Hein, executive director of TIPS.

The Myanmar government’s armed conflict with various ethnic groups in the country was known to be the world’s longest running civil war which lasted for 70 years.

In October 2015, the Myanmar leadership signed the National Ceasefire Agreement with ethnic rebel groups including the Karen National Union and Restoration Council of Shan State which finally brought peace to the country.

In his remarks, OPAPP Assistant Secretary David Diciano said he was hopeful the Burmese representatives learned from the Philippine peace process experience and apply these takeaways to their own peace process.

“Thank you for being with us today and we hope that our experience with various armed groups would help you with your endeavor towards a just and lasting peace,” Diciano said.

The field study tour was organized by the Ateneo Initiative for Southeast Asian Studies in partnership with the Human Security Advocates. ###