MANILA (14 December 2020) — Despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Third Party Monitoring Team (TMPT) highlighted in its sixth report that the implementation process of the six-year-old peace agreement signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), “remains fundamentally on track and that both parties continue to be fully committed to the implementation of the signed agreements.”

The TPMT issued its Sixth Public Report on Tuesday containing an overall assessment of the implementation of the peace agreements between the government and MILF. The report covers the period March 2019 to October 2020.

During a virtual press briefing, Heino Marius, chair of the TPMT, affirmed that bothparties have shown a strong commitment in pushing forward the Bangsamoro peaceprocess.

“Based on what we have observed, we can say that both parties, the governmentand MILF, have demonstrated a very high level of commitment to the peaceprocess,” Marius said.

“We have no reason to believe that this will not be the case in the years to come,” he added.

The TPMT is an independent body created by the government of the Philippinesand the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It willcontinue to function until an Exit Agreement is signed by both parties.

The body is mandated to review, assess, evaluate and monitor the implementationof the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes.

Significant progress in the political track

As stated in its report, the party also welcomed positive developments on thepolitical track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) despitethe limitations the pandemic continues to pose among the parties.

“The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Miuslim Mindanao (BARMM) has beenestablished as an autonomous political entity and the foundation for meaningful self- governance under a parliamentary form of government has been put in place andthis in itself a very big achievement,” Marius noted.

The BARMM was created following the success passage of the BangsamoroOrganic Law (BOL) which was subsequently ratified by the Bansgamoro people.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which acts as the interim government of the region, is mandated to enact seven priority legislations that shall complete the governance structure of the BARMM.

These include the Bangsamoro Administrative Code, Bangsamoro Revenue Code, Bangsamoro Electoral Code, Bangsamoro Local Government Code, BangsamoroEducation Code, Bangsamoro Civil Service Code, and Bangsamoro Law forIndigenous Peoples.

The BTA passed the Administrative Code on October 28, 2020. On the same day, Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal also filed the proposed Bangsamoro EducationCode (BEC) with the Parliament.

“The legislative work continues at a steady pace even though restrictions on travelas a result of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the BARMM have impacted onthe timeline of the passage of priority legislations,” the report said.

Moving forward the normalization track 

On the normalization track, the TMPT report lauded the parties for peacefully handling the decommissioning of at least 12,000 former MILF combatants in its phase 2 of the decommissioning process.

“In parallel to the orderly process of establishment of a new regional government thenormalization process has also continued peacefully. Completing the first steps of decommissioning 12,000 BIAF combatants and 2,100 weapons is a major success,” the report said.

The third party, however, noted some delays of the implementation of other securityaspects in the normalization track. This includes, “disbandment of Private ArmedGroups (PAGs) within BARMM and neighboring areas, transformation of MILF camps, amnesty for MILF members, redeployment of the AFP, and transitional justice and reconciliation measures.”

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary David B. Diciano, chair of the Government Peace ImplementingPanel, welcomed the report of the TMPT.

“This report bolsters our conviction to fully implement the peace agreement betweenthe government and the MILF,” he said.

Diciano emphasized that the government remains committed despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The strong partnership between the government and the MILF proves that any challenges in the implementation process can be surmountable.”

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said that this report only validatedthe peace agenda of the Duterte administration to the Bangsamoro people inMindanao.

“The Duterte administration remains sincere and committed to fully realize theaspirations of the Bangsamoro people as contained in the CAB as reflected in thereport,” he said.

“We sincerely thank the third party monitoring team in keeping track with the implementation of our peace agreements. Your mandate is important to ensure transparency and accountability from the government as well as from the MILF, our partners in peace,” Galvez said. ###