“CAB- compliant BBL reflects the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people” – TPMT local member

COTABATO City – The Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) members significantly discussed the transition, a new peace roadmap in the Duterte administration and the activities of the peace panels; it includes BTC work, MNLF convergence, normalization aspects of the peace process, federalism, and concern over the security situations in Marawi as well as socio-economic development in a press conference held in Astoria Plaza, Ortigas, Pasig City on Friday, July 28 during their fourth annual public report presentation.

The report covers the developments in the implementation of the agreements between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF).

Dr Rahib Kudto, local TPMT member, and President of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) stressed that there is the need to pass a CAB-compliant BBL that will reflect the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. He believed that failure to pass a CAB-compliant BBL will not address the clamor for Right to self-determination of the Moros.

Kudto remembered the failure of previous administration to pass the BBL that has deepened the frustration among the people of Mindanao and youths that led to violent extremism.

“They (youth) became attracted to violent extremism, leading to the rise of terrorist groups like the Maute group,” Kudto pointed out.
“Another failure to pass this important legislation (during this current administration) could mean worse for the peace process and the already volatile situation in Mindanao,” he lamented.

Karen Tañada, also a local member of the TPMT, and Chair of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute however said that with positive development and some threat to peace confronted by the Duterte administration would allow positive and negative effects on the GPH-MILF peace process. “With the positive developments as well as threats, the peace process could be on the verge of a breakthrough, on condition that the twin challenges of completing BBL legislation, and combating violent extremism, can be effectively addressed,” she said.

Although Marawi crisis happened, Tañada said that the TPMT remains confident that peace can be attained.

“As the fighting subsides, it should be clear that a comprehensive approach that addresses the Bangsamoro aspirations by installing a Bangsamoro government exercising the fullest autonomy is the path to sustainable peace,” she pointed out.

The TPMT was formally established in 2013 as part of the peace process between the Philippine government and the MILF as provided for in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed on 15 October 2012.

The TMPT is supposed to have at least five members (two nominated by the GPH, two by the MILF, and a jointly-nominated Chair). Currently, there are four members: the local members are Tañada and Kudto, the international member is Huseyin Oruc (IHH) and the Chair is Alistair MacDonald (former EU Ambassador to the Philippines, now retired). Former international member Steven Rood (The Asia Foundation) left the TPMT in February 2017, and the Government Panel has yet to nominate his replacement (to be agreed by the MILF).