WestMinCom Security Forces clarify their role on Bangsamoro Organic Law

About a hundred participants from the Western Mindanao Command and the PNP Regional Office 9 gathered at the Eisenhower hall of WestMinCom for a forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), to address the concerns of the security sector before the BOL will be implemented after its ratification on 21 January 2019.

Under Secretary Nabil Tan, Chair of the Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF Peace Accord, presented the overview on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). Underlying the CAB is the recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for meaningful self-governance.

“The BOL is a clear manifestation of the administration’s commitment to put into concrete action what the previous peace agreements has laid down, thereby providing a viable solution to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro.” Usec. Tan said.

Lieutenant Colonel Merrill Sumalinog from the AFP Peace and Development Office explained the role of the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) and the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) in the normalization process.

The primary functions of JPST are: to oversee the work on the Security Aspect; to coordinate the two parties’ command structures on security arrangements and other security support for activities related to the implementation of the CAB; and to develop policies and operational guidelines for effective partnership of the JPSTs.

The JPSC, on the other hand, will be under the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) which is tasked to undertake the primary function of coordinating the process of normalization.

Assistant Secretary Dickson P. Hermoso, Co-chair for Joint Normalization Committee, explained that the normalization is the process whereby communities can achieve their desired quality of life, which includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihood and political participation within a peaceful deliberative society.

Bangsamoro Transition Commissioner Atty. Jose I. Lorena emphasized to the troops that there will be no new set of armed forces for the Bangsamoro. The same current set up will be used although the integration of former MILF armed groups which are the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) is on progress to comprise the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST).

It is clearly stated in the BOL that the defense and security of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall be the responsibility of the National Government.

The JPST is a 30-man Composite Team which will be comprised of Seven (7) AFP Personnel, Eight (8) PNP Personnel and Fifteen (15) MILF (BIAF) Personnel.

The PNP shall be creating the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) which shall be organized, maintained, supervised and utilized for the primary purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order in the Bangsamoro.

LTC Abdurasad Sirajan, Action Officer WMA, GPH AHJAG emphasized on the importance of the process of coordination with CCCH and AHJAG especially in imposing the law within the Bangsamoro area.

In order to understand the Bangsamoro concerns, one has to identify the root causes of decades of hostilities in the Bangsamoro area. “These can be attributed to ignorance, poverty and injustice. You cannot solve these three concerns by shooting them.” ASec. Hermoso said during the open forum.

“Our task is onerous but this can only be realized through our collaborative effort to be agents of reconciliation and development in the Bangsamoro which for years have suffered from the protracted hostilities. It is no longer wise to simply resort to guns, for it is our best interest to find pragmatic peaceful solutions,” Chairman Nabil Tan stressed.

In attendance during the forum mostly came from the Zamboanga City Police Stations 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, Zamboanga City Force Company, PNP SAF, PNP Civil Relations Battalion, AFP JTF Zamboanga, MBLT-11, 18IB, 11IB, MBLT-6, 4SFBn, 3SRBn, 1CMOBn, various units and Offices of Headquarters WestMinCom and those from the International Monitoring Team-3 based in Zamboanga City.

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