Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. urges the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police officials to help in transformation of Moro combatants (Photo courtesy of OPAPP)

BARMM police urged to help in transformation of Moro combatants

PARANG, MAGUINDANAO — Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. urged top police officials of the newly-established Bangsamoro autonomous region to help create a more conducive environment for the smooth implementation of the normalization track of the Bangsamoro peace agreement.

This track, Galvez said, will primarily focus on the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants, and assist them and their families as they make the transition to becoming peaceful and productive members of society.

“With the successful ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the smooth transition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), there is a need to understand the critical role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the effective implementation of the normalization program in the Bangsamoro,” Galvez said.

He also explained the content of the proposed Executive Order (EO) on the Normalization Process to police officers in Maguindanao at the BARMM Police Regional Office on April 16, 2019.

The Normalization Process is one of the annexes of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

The CAB has two tracks: the Political Track, which pushed for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and the Normalization Track, which covers the decommissioning of MILF fighters and their weapons, as well as the transformation of several camps into progressive and resilient communities.

The EO on normalization is a comprehensive plan of the national government that is designed to aid former combatants as they undergo the delicate transition process.

In particular, the EO includes socio-economic interventions to be carried out specifically in conflict-affected areas, as well as guidelines for the implementation of a transitional justice system that aims to promote healing and reconciliation among the people.

The national government and the MILF are now drafting the implementing rules and regulations of the said EO.

Galvez said it is very important for the police, in particular, and the security sector, in general, to fully understand the intricacies of the Bangsamoro peace process.

He warned that a single miscalculation on their part could have a major impact on the region’s peace and security situation.

For this initiative to succeed, the chief peace adviser emphasized the importance of fostering stronger relationships with the MILF, especially with the ex-fighters.

“We should start to communicate and establish confidence–building measures, and good relationships with them,” Galvez said, adding that this process is very important in the successful mainstreaming of former combatants.

Galvez stressed that the Bangsamoro police will play a critical role in maintaining the peace and order in the region, especially in communities that will undergo the decommissioning process.

Under the EO, the PNP will be part of several transitional bodies. These include the Joint Peace and Security Teams, which will need at least 1,600 police personnel.

The teams will be tasked, among others, to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines.

Galvez said the police will also be part of the soon-to-be reactivated National Task Force for the Disbandment of the Private Armed Groups.

The BARMM regional police office, which is currently undergoing a transition, will soon cover the city of Cotabato, and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato that voted for their inclusion in the BARMM.

The conference attended by Galvez is among a series of strategic information campaigns intended for members of the security sector based in the Bangsamoro area.

Galvez was welcomed by BARMM police regional director, Brig. Gen. Graciano J. Mijares.

Also present in the activity were Assistant Secretary David Diciano, chief-of-staff of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU); OPAPRU Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso; and, OPAPRU Director Wendell Orbeso, head of the Joint Normalization Committee Secretariat. (PR)