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Saturday, February 27, 2016

TPMT; Bangsamoro Basic Law failure may fuel extremism

THE failure of Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) could attract youth to extremism, an international group monitoring the peace process said.

The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), a body jointly created and tasked by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), issued Friday its third annual Public Report highlighting “the need to sustain public confidence in the peace process during the governmental transition.”

In a statement, TPMT Chairman Alistair MacDonald admitted difficulty for the peace process after the failure of Congress to pass the BBL because of the killing of 44 policemen in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.

“The past year has been a difficult one, with the tragic events at Mamasapano casting a dark shadow over the peace process throughout the year, and with Congress being unable to complete its deliberations on the BBL,” MacDonald said.

Congress has adjourned for the national campaign on February 3 without enacting the BBL. It will resume session on May 23 up to June 10, largely for the canvass of votes and proclamation of winners in the presidential and vice-presidential races, leaving little leeway for legislative action on the proposed measure.

“The failure of this Congress to complete its deliberations on the BBL has meant that confidence in the peace process among the wider Moro community has taken a knock,” said MacDonald, who used to be European Union (EU) ambassador to the Philippines.

He added, “This setback, with its attendant frustration, could increase the risk that some young people may become more attracted to violent extremism…”

MacDonald stressed the need to sustain public confidence in the peace process, noting that successful conclusion to the peace process is “the most effective vaccination” against the risk of violent extremism.

“Transitional justice and reconciliation is an important part of the CAB,” he said. “The anger and hatred borne of the Mamasapano incident played into the deep-rooted prejudices among the peoples of the Philippines. It is therefore imperative that this be carried forward as a national effort.”

MacDonald said the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will remain as the cornerstone of peace.

“Looking forward, it will be essential to build a path forward… so that the next administration can hit the ground running, to work to sustain public confidence in the process during this period of uncertainty, and to reaffirm the commitment of all stakeholders to winning the prize of peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer thanked the TPMT for its invaluable role ‘in ensuring that both the government and the MILF adhere to the signed documents.”

She said, “The TPMT’s third annual report and the recommendations therein will be taken with utmost consideration in line with our shared desire to sustain and nurture the Bangsamoro peace process and finish in due time the implementation of the CAB which includes the passage and ratification of a CAB-based Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

Established in 2013, the TPMT has the mandate to monitor, review, and assess the implementation of all signed agreements between the government and the MILF.

By Catherine S Valente

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