Third Party Monitoring Team for the Bangsamoro peace process releases 7th public report

PASIG CITY – The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) for the Bangsamoro Peace Process released its 7th public report in a press conference on Thursday (March 3, 2021) noting that there is steady progress in advancing the peace process in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during the reporting period November 2020 to January 2022
The independent monitoring body noted several development that include the foundations for effective institutional and legislative structure have been laid by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the adoption of two more priority codes, the Civil Service Code and Education Code, the transfer of Cotabato City into BARMM administrative structures, regular interaction between the National Government and Bangsamoro Government through the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) and ceasefire mechanism remains intact.

TPMT Chair Heimo Marius, a German national, cited in their report, “Key achievements include the adoption of the 3rd round of decommissioning of MILF combatants last November, preparing the ground for granting amnesty towards the members of the MILF and operationalization of the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund.”

He said the implementation of the peace process was slowed down by two factors which are Covid-19 pandemic that delayed the consultative processes and program delivery and the debate over the extension of the transition period that absorbed much the attention of the Parties.

Marius said, “It had become apparent that the allotted 3-year timeframe in the Organic Law for establishing a new autonomous political entity was very ambitious from the start given the complexity of the task.”

The TPMT chair added, “As we move towards the extension we as TPMT believe that this is the right time to look at the peace agreements from a broader perspective, to assess what has been achieved and what remains to be done.” 

He also underscored the importance to understand that the peace accords combine and counterbalance two fundamental ideas which are meaningful self-governance for the Bangsamoro and gradual normalization of the conflict-affected areas and their transformation to peaceful and progressive communities.

The monitoring body encourages steps to consolidate the implementation of the peace process such as adopting priority legislation ideally within the originally defined timeframe prior to June 2022, using the IGRB to methodically address pending issues and proceed with the operationalization of remaining IGR mechanisms, and addressing normalization on the basis of synchronized actions combining all its different elements.
The TPMT said with the extension now in place the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) has more time to accomplish its priority tasks and the Parties to the peace agreements have the opportunity to focus on completing what they agreed with renewed vigor.
The monitoring body further suggests to the concerned parties to ensure that the National Amnesty Commission can begin operations as soon as possible and strive for greater security and prevention of violent incidents, whether involving rido (clan war), resource conflicts or extremism, through holistic and strategic measures.
The TPMT was set up by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to monitor the implementation of the GPH-MILF peace agreement, as provided for in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed on 15 October 2012 and its Annexes.
Huseyin Oruc, a Turkish and one of the founding members of the Union of NGOs in the Islamic World, and Sam Chittick, an Australian and the Philippines Country Representative of The Asia Foundation are the two other foreigner TPMT members.
Rebecca Tañada Executive Director of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute and Dr. Rahib Kudto, Chairman of the United Youth for Peace and Development are the local TPMT members.