Pilippines’ Bangsamoro gov’t holds 1st peace, security summit

ANKARA (AA) – The autonomous Bangsamoro government in the southern Philippines on Monday kicked off its first Peace and Security Summit for Sustainable Local Development in the region.

Murad Ebrahim, chief minister of the region, told Anadolu Agency that the summit will bring together “all the leaders, the local governments, the security, and the private sector in order to be able to work out together.”

“The summit is being held to strengthen our cooperation in line with peace operations in Mindanao and in neighboring provinces,” Ebrahim said.

The Social Services and Development Ministry of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is hosting the summit in the capital Cotabato with the attendance of various civil society organizations (CSOs), NGOs, and other humanitarian groups.

Social Services and Development Minister Raissa H. Jajurie said in an earlier statement that it is important to identify “more coherent strategies and areas for cooperation between the Bangsamoro government and other development partners towards durable solutions to displacements and sustainable development.”

“The regional government and the ministry itself will seek solutions to protect Bangsamoro constituents in order to attain and achieve lasting peace in the region,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, the basic, higher and technical education minister, said that the CSOs and private sector can contribute to the various priority programs of the region, including education, social services, health, and the economic development of the Bangsamoro people, and ensure that collaboration between the public and private sectors is efficient.

“We need to have a mechanism in place that would define the CSOs’ participation in achieving Bangsamoro development goals. This mechanism, or set of protocols, will also prevent the duplication of roles and the effective use of resources,” he added.

– Extending transition until 2025 lies with Congress

In a separate statement, the Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) on the region’s transition said it is closely following the ongoing deliberations in the Philippine Congress on extending its transition period by seeking to amend the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro [CAB] and the Organic Law share the same objectives of achieving lasting peace on the basis of justice, as well as genuine and meaningful self-governance for the Bangsamoro,” the team said.

The team said whether or not an extension of the transition period is justified is a “decision up to the elected representatives of the Filipino people.”

It said Philippines Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte on the peace process, and Chief Minister Ebrahim have both “made clear their strong advocacy for an extension of the period of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), before a regional election in 2025 in line with the majority of the bills filed in Congress.”

“We further note the active discussion among the public and civil society in Bangsamoro on the extension, including the petition of more than 1 million signatures in support of the extension,” the statement added.

After forming the transitional government in February 2018, whose mandate ends in 2022, voices in and outside Bangsamoro have grown stronger to extend the transition period until 2025.

The officials and civil society in the Bangsamoro autonomous region say the normalization process demands more time to finally pave the way for elections in 2025.

They argue that many important goals in an agreed peace plan have yet to be realized.

Several bills have been submitted in Philippines Congress to extend the period until 2025.

“Now, after more than a year in office, we see that time until 2022 will not be enough in implementing the provisions of the agreement,” Ebrahim told Anadolu Agency in a recent interview.

Calling the timeframe “very ambitious from the start, especially when taking into account comparable international experience for transitions to peace,” the monitoring team said the region faces “a complex task of establishing an autonomous political entity which should not be underestimated. The constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic have considerably added to the challenges.”

“Realizing those dreams will require all partners to the peace process to continue to demonstrate the commitment, perseverance and patience which has achieved so much to this point.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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