Peace, Security, and Normalization Issues of Maguindanao

Written by Pro Politics for Peace.

The provincial government of Maguindanao convened the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), Peace and Development Council (PDC), and the Provincial Diasaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on 7 October 2015 in Buluan, Maguindanao. Presided by Governor Esmael G. Mangudadatu, the Maguindanao Peace and Security Conference was also attended by 24 of the 36 Mayors of the province.

Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, the presiding officer, stressed in his opening statements that the joint meeting aims to maximize the time and resources of the government, majority members of the local special bodies and to harmonize the discussion and possible resolutions of inter sectorial issues and problems related to peace, security, and development confronting the province.

“We all know that we need to work together. Unite and complement our efforts and resources in order to sustain this momentum by maintaining peace and order ensuring public safety and go on with the development initiatives amidst the political exercises.” Gov. Mangudadatu said.

Gov. Mangudadatu also acknowledged and thanked the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) as the province’s new partner on peace and development endeavours.

Public Order and Safety Updates

The Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division, through Lt Col Florencio P. Politud Jr., presented the scope of security issues as follows: security threat posed by the BIFF and other armed lawless groups, special concerns on the MILF and the MNLF, and aggravating violent and non-violent incidents occasionally occuring on the ground.

The provincial police headed by Provincial Director PSSUPT Nickson Muksan presented the crime statistics in Maguindanao. Overall a total crime volume of 1,932 was documented in the period January – September 2015. Of these, 396 were crimes against persons, 369 were crimes against properties, violation of special laws (185), reckless imprudence (414), and other non-index crimes (490).

In his press interview, it was Gov. Mangudadatu who stressed that the alarming security concerns for the province at present are the continuing rise of the prohibited drugs trade and the proliferation of illegal firearms. Specifically, it was mentioned that more or less a total of 3,300 firearms in the hands of civilians are either unlicensed or with expired licenses

Prof. ReyDan C. Lacson of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) outlined the Normalization agenda which the organization is facilitating to interface with the functions of the PPOC. He explained that part of the endeavour is to jumpstart the exploration of ways through which the normalization architecture of the peace process can collaborate with the mechanisms of the PPOC and LGUs to move the peace process forward.

Gen. Leo Cresente M. Ferrer (Ret), a member of the GPH Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), explained the details of the Normalization program. He provided the official definition of Normalization as ‘…the process whereby communities can achieve the desired quality of life which include the pursuit of sustainable livelihood and political participation within a peaceful and deliberative society. The aim and objective of normalization is to ensure human security in the bangsamoro and help build a society that is committed to basic human rights where individuals are free from fear, violence or crime to held tradition continued to be honoured.’ His substantive explanation of the decommissioning aspect gained the interest especially of the mayors present in the 1-day conference.

Atty. Mohammad Al-amin Julkipli, a member of the legal team of the GPH peace panel, discussed the prospects for local governance in the current versions of the BBL.

“Bagaman nawala yung last paragraph sa ating original proposal, dun sa BTC version, nandyan pa rin naman sa BBL in both the senate and the house substitute versions ... pero yung proseso at mekanismo nandyan pa naman. So nakalagay lang naman po dito na isa sa mga exclusive powers ng bangsamoro autonomous region ay yung tungkol sa local administration municipal corporation ... yan yung ating mga LGUs and other local authorities ... isa yan sa mga kapangyarihan na ibinibigay ng national government ... nakalagay dito na pagdating sa usapin ng local administration, pagdating sa usapin ng mga LGUs and municipal corporations, and other local authorities including the power to create local government, yan po ay pwedeng gawin at exclusive power yan ng autonomous region at gagawin niya ito through a particular agency.” Atty. Julkipli said.

Developmental Concerns

The policy updates on 2016 synchronized election was also discussed in the conference by Atty. Udtog M. Tago the PES, COMELEC-Maguindanao. According to him, the commission will be driven by their slogan, “Tamang Pagboto, Tamang Pagbilang”. Atty. Tago further said “If we can be given the right votes, we will assure you of the correct counting”.

DILG-ARMM Provincial Director Amina Dalandag led the presentation of the Seal of Good Local Governance declaring that Maguindanao bested other ARMM provinces for the seal of good governance. The award came as recognition for good governance for the province out of the 123 LGUs, 5 provinces, 2 cities and 116 municipalities which were subjected to rigorous evaluation for 2015.In addition, Maguindanao also led in business and competitiveness, as well as in environmental management. It ties with Lanao del Sur for the lead on peace and order category.

Other presenters include Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Cabayan Bacar (DAR Maguindanao), Sultan Anshary Maongco, General Manager of MAGELCO, and Ms. Zarinah Aligsao, the Senior Research Specialist of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The DILG-ARMM Secretary Atty. Anwar Malang commended the provincial government for surpassing all the provinces in its performance for the Seal of Good Local Governance.

“As you noticed, our provincial director have (sic) mentioned that in all aspects of the SGLG, the province of Maguindanao with some exceptional performances of our LGUs surpassed all others” Atty. Malang said.

He further disclosed that there would be two LGUs in the province which would be presidential awardees for being child-friendly municipalities.

The Maguindanao Peace and Security Conference was co-organized by the Maguindanao Provincial Government, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Pro PolitiCS for Peace project implemented by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) in partnership with the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF), Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA).