In photo Dr. Rahib Kudto, President of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) and member of the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT)

TPMT releases its Fifth Public Report

COTABATO CITY - The Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) has released its fifth public report, and says that it has reviewed the final text of the BOL in detail, and it is our assessment that the Law passed by Congress and approved by the President reflects the spirit and intent of the Parties as outlined in their Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and serves to enact the key provisions of the CAB. 

However, R.A. 11054 falls short of fully implementing the CAB as it leaves out several important provisions of the CAB, and it also introduced some revisions to provisions in the CAB, the report added. 

TPMT said, maintaining scrutiny of the implementation of the peace agreement is important – although the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is the enabling legislation to implement the peace agreement, it does not replace nor substitute that agreement. Both are now in force, the CAB as an executive commitment between the Filipino people (represented by the President) and the MILF, and the BOL as a law of the Republic of the Philippines. 

TPMT scores that any variances between the BOL and the CAB as these are important for the national journey towards peace, and these are noted in the report, including: The majority of the core elements of the CAB, particularly the ministerial form of government and some provisions on fiscal autonomy, are fully reflected in the BOL; There are also some amendments that expanded the powers of the BARMM, such as the revenue sharing and revenues related to natural resources. 

In addition, the BOL clarified certain elements of the CAB, such as the formula for the block grant and Special Development Fund. Some key CAB provisions have been left out of the law, particularly the “opt-in” clause, delineation of powers, and policing; There are also several amendments which depart significantly from the CAB, such as the consent of respective “mother units” for inclusion of North Cotabato barangays and Lanao del Norte municipalities, as well as changes to the proposed exclusive powers over energy-providing inland waters. 

TMPT lauded the parties’ continuing strong commitment to the peace process serves as the best guarantee of success. 

For the next phase of the peace process, now that the BARMM is established and the BTA in place, “the TPMT is of the view that it will be imperative for the Parties to: 

Discuss and agree on the way forward so that the CAB provisions that have been deleted or amended in the BOL may still be implemented. There is a need to clarify the timeframe and the process on how the recommended constitutional amendments of the BTC will be translated to a piece of legislation, whether as part of the federalism project or a separate set of constitutional amendments;

Finalize and implement an overall transition plan. It should lay down the primary and essential steps to be undertaken to ensure a smooth administrative and bureaucratic transition from ARMM to BARMM, including priority parliamentary actions and development programs for the BTA as well as the necessary trainings for BTA officials and staff; 

Revisit the Normalization Program and if necessary make amendments to the CAB in terms of policing as this may entail changes to the schedule of the various normalization components; 

Start implementing key recommendations of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission; 

For the GPH to implement a viable plan on the disbandment of private armed groups, as this will greatly impact the MILF decommissioning process and the security situation in the region during the transition; 

Further strengthen efforts to make the process more inclusive, and particularly for the MILF-led BTA to demonstrate their sincerity and willingness to partner with all groups in the region; and 

Monitor and support efforts to ensure the immediate rehabilitation of Marawi City that respects and responds to the proposals of the local residents especially of the most affected area. Programs that will holistically and proactively prevent violent extremism should also be developed.”

The TPMT said that “collective commitment of all parties to continue to strive for peace has been impressive. With continued diligence in implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro the foundations of a peaceful future for Mindanao will strengthen.” 

The TPMT was formally established in 2013 as part of the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with a mandate to monitor and review the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace process.