September 22, 2022 (4:37 PM)

5 min read


PEACE PROCESS. (MP) Atty. Laisa Alamia, one of the keynote speakers of the AdDU FOCUS: A Conversation on the BARMM Today, highlights the region’s governance and the BARMM political transition at the San Vitorres-Calungsod Center, 11th Floor CCFC Building, September 21. Photo by Jeni Anne Rosario

As the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was extended for another three years, the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) conducted the hybrid dialogue, “#33 months: Look Forward to the Gains of Peace: A Conversation on the BARMM Today.”

AdDU F.O.C.U.S. – Forging Onwards as a Catholic University in Service is a conversation series headed by The Al Qalam Institute of Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia at AdDU & the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council in partnership with the Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Agham Pampulitika ng Ateneo.

University President Rev. Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, opened the program in his welcome address, emphasizing the need to participate in the peace process to secure peace in Mindanao and contribute to it to the best of everyone’s ability.

The forum focused on updates on BARMM governance and codes, the role of Al-Qalam in peace engagement, and the directions of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU).

On BARMM Governance and Codes

First keynote speaker and member of the Parliament (MP) Atty. Laisa Alamia of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) presented a comprehensive report on the progress and prospects of the BARMM political transition.

Her report included the recent inauguration of the inclusive 80-member BTA Parliament last September 15, highlighting the unity of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leaders in the presence of the Philippine government (GPH).

She also discussed the emergence of more women leaders taking part in the Moro Government and the core legislation such as the Bangsamoro administrative, civil service, and educational code passed during the transitional period.

“For the second BTA parliament, there are other legislative measures that will be prioritized as identified by the Chief Minister in September 2022,” MP Alamia said, noting that other priority codes are now in the drafting process and will be passed by the end of the year. 

She also mentioned BARMM’s accomplishments in numbers, most importantly the decline in poverty and the huge investments accumulated during the initial transition period 2019-2022.

“Do not stop from engaging in the Bangsamoro Government; all of us have a stake in the whole peace process,” she concluded.

Role of Al-Qalam in the peace engagement

Founder and executive director of the Al Qalam Institute Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan discussed the framework and approaches of the institute to peace.

He shared their observations during the transition process, most importantly the rise of a new political landscape in the BARMM, in their study of the power play. 

“Ideas about peace what peace is should shape policy, build institutions, and informed decision-making,” Lidasan said.

Datu Lidasan closed by sharing his recommendations moving forward, including the review and improvement of the BTA, continued transitional justice and reconciliation efforts, and the strengthening of the role of OPAPRU.

OPAPRU Directions

The last discussant was the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.,  who tackled the directions of the Bangsamoro Peace Process (BPP) through the five-point PRU agenda and current situation of the  GPH and MILF/MNLF relations.

Galvez shared, in relation to MP Alamia’s earlier statement, that the unification of Bangsamoro Leaders is a historic milestone in the BPP, ensuring that BARMM is one step prepared for the 2025 election and completion process. 

 “After 46 years of separation, all Bangsamoro leaders are reunited,” Sec. Galvez Jr. said.

He also noted the ongoing information drive on the transformation program for MNLF combatants through the four-level normalization process, stating that the decommissioned men are now on the second level.

Moreover, the support to Madaris Education and strengthening of peace education (PE) integration in the education curriculum is also encouraged, by which Mindanao State University (MSU) Chair on Committee of Peace Education Dr. Samuel Anonas shared in the forum that it is now being institutionalized in all their campuses, following the Marawi Seige. 

An Executive Order was passed that all public and private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) must follow the mandate no later than 2024.

University Professor Hadji Balajadia of the Psychology Department reflected that despite the many gains of the BTA stated earlier, there are still threats come to the 2025 elections posed by the extended democratic transition.

“[This include] the resurgence of political warlords, hijacking of the national government through proxy candidates in the BARMM, and the unpreparedness of qualified, competent, and very promising leaders who may be marginalized and not elected in 2025,” she noted, probing how the academe can ensure that such constituency for peacebuilding is evident in the elections.

Lidasan expressed that the call for unity of all stakeholders must occur, and there must be a bridge for political leaders as early as now to avoid resistance and marginalization.

MP Alamia also concluded that the parliamentary form of government in the BARMM ensures that the power to govern is given to whom it is due.

Notable representatives from the regional and national government, AdDU, Davao Association of Catholic Schools (DACS), academic institutions, religious groups, civil society organizations, and youth sectors took part in the conversation.

The conversation series was held on September 21, at the San Vitorres-Calungsod Center, 11th Floor CCFC Building and via Zoom. The replay of the live stream can be viewed on the AdDU Facebook Official page.

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