TAF-DFAT and PNP PRO-ARMM Launch Partnership for Outreach Activities on the Peace Process

COTABATO CITY, MAY 08, 2018- The Asia Foundation (TAF) funded by Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) launched the partnership for outreach activities on the peace process together with Philippine National Police - Police Regional Office Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP PRO-ARMM) held at Camp Salipada K. Pendatun, Parang, Maguindanao last May 8, 2018.

The launching was attended by PNP Personnel, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bangsamoro Multimedia Network (BMN), Moro Islamic Liberation Front - Peace Implementing Panel (MILF-PIP), International Decommissioning Body (IDB), Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), International Monitoring Team (IMT), Coordination Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), Adhoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) and some Non-Government Organization such as Mindanao Action for Peace and Development (MAPAD), Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MWDECC), and Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress (MOSEP) under the CARE for Peace Project by the TAF.

PSupt. Esmail P. Ali, Chief of Regional Police Community Relation Division, PRO-ARMM delivered the welcome address and emphasized that the PRO-ARMM will continue supporting the Peace Process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

The briefing on the project was given by Mrs. Noraida S. Chio, Senior Program Officer of TAF. 

She mentioned that “The Asia Foundation has been partnering with the GPH, CSO, Private Sectors, and Armed Groups that have signed peace agreements with the government such as Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to support economic growth, manage conflicts, strengthen rule of law and promote better governance in the Philippines.”  

She also said that “TAF is implementing a 3-year CARE for Peace Project which carefully considers mechanism and transitional institution established through the peace agreements, the channels available to work with, the differing information and advocacy needs of geographical areas and sectors.”  

She also added that, “This initiative of partnering with the PNP is to support strong mechanism to avert escalation of violence and to resolve conflict”. 

It was expected that the launching will raise awareness among PNP members especially about the established security mechanism, the AHJAG, and the CCCH, and to provide inputs on the BBL on the provision on the Bangsamoro police.

Ms. Geraldine Inocencio, CCCH GPH Representative, discussed about the CCCH mandates and power, followed by Mr. Anwar Alamada, AHJAG MILF Representative, on AHJAG mandates and power.

Commissioner Atty. Omar Yasser C. Sema of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) talked about the provision on Public Order and Safety and emphasized the salient points of the provision. 

He emphasized that “the Bangsamoro Police shall be part of the PNP and it shall be professional”. 

He further emphasized “The Bangsamoro Police will be the Regional Police same as the PRO-ARMM of the ARMM Office and it is still under the Philippine National Police”. 

Atty. Sema stressed that “the Bangsamoro will not have a separate police. and there is no automatic wide scale integration of the MILF combatants to the PNP or to the AFP.” 

“There is no religious test, whether a Muslim or a Christian you can be a member of the Bangsamoro Police”, he added.

PRO-ARMM Deputy Regional Director on Operation PSSUPT. Madid M. Paitao read the Statement of Commitment on behalf of Regional Director PRO-ARMM PCSUPT. Graciano J. Mijares who was not around for another equally important matter.

In his message, PC/Supt. Mijares said that the PNP under his command commits their service to support the police for a lasting peace in Mindanao. 

He also said “To our brothers from GPH and MILF your patience, fortitude, and resilience in this pursuit of peace by the best intention for the entire country and to a great possibility of lasting peace and harmony here in our land. With that, we in the Philippine National Police Regional Office – ARMM are always ready to extend our support in every significant step you will take to push further the political roadmap for the Bangsamoro. Rest assured that every action you take in this journey we will be with you.”

Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and Asec. Dickson Hermoso, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process of the OPPAP on behalf of Secretary Jesus Dureza, delivered their respective statements of support.

Chairman Iqbal in his message of support said that “The Police force stipulated in the BBL remains under the auspices of the PNP and the National Police Commission, Nevertheless, the Police Force would also recognize the authority of the Bangsamoro Government and informed of the cultural and social nuances in their Bangsamoro communities it is mandated to serve.” 

He said “I applaud both TAF and Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade both long time partners with the peace process for this endeavor, any initiative that will help Mindanao achieved in Peace, Justice and Sustainable development are most welcome. The MILF PIP and the BTC are more than willing to engage a constructive dialogue and provide background information on the peace process mechanism and the BBL”. 

He also mentioned that “Despite the challenges that lie ahead let us continue working together for the sake of peace in the Philippines. Rest assured of our unwavering commitment in peace.”

Maj. General Datuk Mohd Nazir Mami, Head Mission, International Monitoring Team (IMT) delivered his message expressing the gratitude to the PNP for supporting the IMT to carry out its duties in accordance to the mandates.

Country Representative of The Asia Foundation Mr. Sam Chittick in his Closing Remarks said “The important thing is that there is a commitment across all of this institution and across all of these parties and across all the world, hardworking committed people for many many decades to make that happen.

Mr. Chittick ended his message by saying “That’s the reason why we as The Asia Foundation remains committed to these process; that’s the reason why we are able to play very small part in the process, and we look forward to continuing that work with all of you.”