• Bangsamoro policing body starts consultations on peace process

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    The Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) has started conducting consultations related to finding the appropriate form, structures and relationships of the police force for the future Bangsamoro autonomous entity.

    The ICP is the seven-member body created by the peace panels of government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to come up with proposals on how to establish the Bangsamoro police force.

    It was headed by Randall Beck, the assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The other commissioners are Australian international expert Cedrick Netto, retired Police Director Ricardo de Leon, Police Dir. Lina Sarmiento, MILF military spokesperson Von Al Haq, retired Police Chief Superintendent Amerodin Hamdag, and Japanese international expert Yuji Eusugi.

    In a statement, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said that the ICP’s main function is to conduct studies and produce a set of recommendations on the appropriate policing for the Bangsamoro, the entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government in 2016.

    “The recommendations will be based on a needs-assessment that will reflect public’s perception of the police, the needs and demands of communities in the Bangsamoro and the human rights situation, among others,” she said

    “The ICP’s task is aligned with the work to settle the annex on Normalization, which is still being negotiated by the peace panels, along with the annex on Power Sharing,” Deles added.

    Earlier this year, both peace panels signed the annexes on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, and Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing.

    On Monday, Deles said that the ICP commissioners paid a courtesy call to MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim at the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

    They conducted a meeting with MILF commanders also at Camp Darapanan Tuesday morning and in the evening with police officials from the ARMM and Region 12 in Cotabato City.

    On Wednesday, she said that the ICP commissioners held a community consultation, also attended by leaders from the academe and religious sectors, at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute at Crossing Simuay in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

    The ICP commissioners also set consultation with stakeholders from the academe, religious and civil society organizations recommended by the government peace panel on Thursday in Cotabato City.

    The creation of the ICP is contained under the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF on October 15, 2012.

    Based on the Framework Agreement, the Bangsamoro police force will be “civilian in character” and “professional and free from partisan political control.” Such police force is also hoped to be “responsible to the central government, the Bangsamoro government, and to the communities it serves.”

    In exploring ideas for the establishment of the police force, the ICP will be guided by the principles of “equal access to justice and security for all members of society” and inclusiveness “to reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity in the Bangsamoro…” read the ICP’s terms of reference, which was firmed up last February.

    The Bangsamoro police force is also hoped to be capable of addressing “the different security issues facing women, men, children and minority groups.” CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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