The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) called on Congress to “seize the moment” and pass an “acceptable and meaningful” Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that will bring lasting peace not only in Mindanao but to the rest of the country.
A statement from the monitoring body said that by adopting the BBL, Congress “will have shown its leadership in promoting peace, security and prosperity for the benefit of the nation as a whole.”
“There is now an historic opportunity to complete the legislative process, and to build a new future of peace, security and prosperity for Mindanao and for the Philippines as a whole,” the TPMT said.
“We have all seen the wider impact of poverty and conflict around the world, at a time when criminality, radicalism and terrorism can easily leapfrog national borders. The prize of peace is within reach, and we believe that the political will and vision of Congress can indeed allow it to seize this historic moment,” it added.
The TPMT, an independent monitoring team, has five members–two nominated by the government, two by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and a jointly nominated chairman — Alistair MacDonald, a retired envoy and former EU ambassador to the Philippines. The members are Rahib Kudto of the United Youth for Peace and Development in Philippines, Huseyin Oruç of the IHH in Turkey, Steven Rood of The Asia Foundation in the US, and Karen Tañada of the Gaston Z Ortigas Peace Institute in Philippines.
The team monitors and assesses the implementation of all signed agreements in connection with the BBL between the MILF and the government.
The TPMT said the international community “has watched with admiration” as the Philippines worked to keep the peace process moving forward.
But although “expectations are running high,” the monitoring body said there are also “growing” fears of failure.
“No one ever said it would be easy to build a sustainable peace in Mindanao, and it has taken many years of effort, of setbacks as well as achievements, to build the foundations of this peace,” it said. “We are now at a critical juncture in the peace process, when a successful conclusion to 18 years of negotiations is almost within reach.”