THE INDEPENDENT Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) of the Bangsamoro peace process, in its 5th Public Report released on Tuesday, said the “immediate rehabilitation” of war-torn Marawi City is one of the crucial components in the region’s transition under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
In a statement, the TPMT said it is “imperative” for the stakeholders to “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.”
It added, “Programs that will holistically and proactively prevent violent extremism should also be developed.”
Last week, the military announced that the last remaining leader of the Maute group that laid siege to Marawi, identified as Owardah Marohombsar alias Abu Dar, was killed in an encounter in Tuburan, Lanao del Sur on March 14.
“Right now, they are already leaderless. Although we are still closely monitoring through our intel in the communities if the ideology of Dawlah Islamiyah will still remain,” Lt. Col. Gerry M. Besana, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said in an interview.
Colonel Romeo S. Brawner Jr., 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, said in a statement, “We will not rest until we neutralize all the other remnants of this terrorist group.”
Another recommendations of the TPMT in its latest report covering the period July 2017 to February 2019 is for the government “to implement a viable plan on the disbandment of private armed groups, as this will greatly impact the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) decommissioning process and the security situation in the region during the transition.”
The decommissioning of MILF combatants is part of the Normalization Track under the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). An Executive Order that will serve as a framework for the normalization and its timeline is now being drafted, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. announced last month.
Last April 23, top military and police officials, and front and base commanders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the MILF met in Maguindanao in a security and socio-economic forum for the implementation of the Normalization Track.
In a statement, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said Mr. Galvez stressed during the forum “the need to strengthen relationships among the parties for the successful implementation of the Normalization track, which deals largely on the decommissioning of the MILF combatants and their weapons, and the transformation of their camps into peaceful communities.”
The other recommendations of the TPMT are:
• 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;
• 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 (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to Bangsamoro ARMM, including priority parliamentary actions and development programs for the BTA (Bangsamoro Transition Authority) 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; and
• 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.
“The collective commitment of all parties to continue to strive for peace has been impressive,” the TPMT said, “with continued diligence in implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro the foundations of a peaceful future for Mindanao will strengthen.”
The TPMT — established in 2013 as part of the peace process between the Philippine government and the MILF — is currently chaired by former European Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald with the following members: Karen Tañada of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, Rahib Kudto of the United Youth for Peace and Development, Huseyin Oruc of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, and Sam Chittick of Asia Foundation. — Marifi S. Jara with a report from Tajallih S. Basman