World Bank Representatives visit Camp Darapanan

CAMP DARAPANAN/ June 9, 2018 – A delegation from the World Bank visited Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) main Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. 

The delegation was composed of Mr. Marcelo Jorge Fabre, Ms. Pia Peters, Michael Frank Alar and Roberto Tordecilla.

Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim welcomed the visitors, and conveyed his gratitude for the World Bank’s untiring support to the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF). 

Although this is not the first time that they met with the MILF chair, but still the WB officials were delighted of getting in touch again with the charismatic Moro leader. 

The World Bank support for peace processes is not new. Delegate member Marcelo Fabre for example is a veteran peace worker spending thirty (30) years of his career in accompanying more than twenty (20) peace agreement across the globe. Marcelo was a former Columbian combatant turned into an expert on transforming former combatants into productive civilians.

This well-known bank has been supporting the GPH-MILF Peace Process, and vowed to continue its commitments until the “Normalization” process is completed. 

An update on the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF), an allocation focusing on transition schemes transforming combatants into a productive constituency was discussed. It also seeks to form a development paradigm for the six (6) Major Camps of the MILF.  

The World Bank has its formal agreement with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), a government body mandated to oversee peace processes.

There is a mutual decision between the World Bank and OPAPP to extend the MTF for another two years, after it term expires in 2019, meaning it will continue its mandate until 2021 as regards the peace process in Mindanao.

Al Haj Murad on the other hand expressed his gladness about the good tract of their conversations while he shares his uncertainties about the current state of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and waiting for the outcome of the bicameral conference of the House of Congress to harmonize their differing versions slated on July 9 to 13, 2018. 

Al Haj Murad clarified however, that in the signed peace agreements, the term Normalization does not refer to Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DRR).    

Al Haj Murad added that, “While we are now facing more challenges, especially on Normalization aspect, we will see to it that a good normalization plan shall be in-placed, and not a DDR strategy.” 

“After the peace agreement, everybody is expecting and optimistic that something good will happen. We have agreed that the Normalization Process shall be parallel to the political process. It shall be parallel and commensurate process that the people will feel that the benefits are really for them,” he added.

At the end of their meeting, Chairman Al Haj Murad expressed his optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign an acceptable BBL that would comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) before his State of the Nation Address(SONA) on July 23, 2018. 

The CAB is a peace deal between the Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed on August 27, 2014.