President Duterte’s 6 years: Achieving peace and sustainable development in Bangsamoro

“My administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.”

President Duterte (Malacañang photo)

This was President Duterte’s vow in his inaugural speech in June 2016. Six years later, as he prepares for the end of his administration on June 30, he has fulfilled that promise.

Acting Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag said achieving peace and development in Mindanao was possible because of Duterte’s political will.

“Because of the strong will and clear desire of the government under President Duterte to realize genuine peace and sustainable progress in the Bangsamoro, genuine responses and clear dialogues between stakeholders have become possible,” he said during the eighth Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism for Normalization (ICCMN) meeting in Malacañang on June 22.

According to the ICCMN, there are now 19,345 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants decommissioned and processed for general intake under Phase 1 to 3 of the program for normalization in the Bangsamoro. This is a staggering growth from the baseline of 145 decommissioned combatants in 2016.

File photo of President Duterte inspecting the decommissioned firearms from the former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front during their decommissioning at the Old Provincial Capitol Compound in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on September 7, 2019. (Malacañang photo)

As a member of the Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and Communities (TFDCC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) facilitated the basic profiling of the turned-over forces to assess their socioeconomic situation. It referred them to appropriate government agencies for interventions.

A total amount of P2.6 billion has been allocated and utilized to execute projects for the socioeconomic of the decommissioned combatants, their communities, and the six camps.

Through Executive Order 79, the ICCMN Socioeconomic Development Subcluster mobilized and engaged 15 national government agencies that implemented identified programs on social protection, capacity development, livelihood, and infrastructure.

Last June 15, ICCMN launched two projects: the Access to Legal Identity and Social Services for Decommissioned Combatants (ALIAS DC) and the Program on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention, and Economic Empowerment (PROACTIVE). The projects were funded by the European Union (EU), the government of Australia, The Asian Foundation, UNDP, and MISEREOR.

Matibag said that the ICCMN’s milestones, especially the consistent, deliberate efforts towards developing strong cooperation between the Bangsamoro and the National Government, have undoubtedly strengthened the foundation to rebuild the country’s fragile peace in the past six years.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was created after President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law on July 26, 2018.

According to Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., the Duterte Administration has focused on the meaningful implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the landmark peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF.

The creation of the BARMM and BTA are under the political track of the CAB. President Duterte threw his full support behind the Bangsamoro government anew when he signed Republic Act No. 11593, which extended the transition period of the BTA until 2025.

Meanwhile, as the Duterte government comes to a close on June 30, Matibag hoped that the incoming administration would consider expanding the gains of ICCMN to ensure peace, security, and the protection of every Filipino.

President Duterte (Malacañang photo)

“For the remaining days under President Duterte’s term, we must continue to work and ensure proper turnover so that the remaining activities for the rest of 2022 may be implemented smoothly under the direction of the new leadership,” Matibag said.

“Even beyond June 30, I am sure we will not mind offering our helping hands,” he added.

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