Bangsamoro’s policing options studied-A A +A
Thursday, September 19, 2013
ILIGAN CITY -- The peace panels of government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have organized the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), a body tasked to come up with proposals on establishing the police force of the future Bangsamoro.
Five ICP members graced the opening of the 40th round of talks in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday last week upon invitation of the panels, an MILF news release said.
They are Randall Beck, Von Al-Haq, Amerodin Hamdag, Ricardo de Leon, and lawyer Jesus Doque.
Based on the consensus of the parties, the seven-member ICP will be headed by Canada.
Beck is an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He is the Canadian government’s nominee to represent it in the ICP.
Al-Haq is erstwhile spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the MILF’s armed wing. A senior military commander, he also served as chair of the MILF’s contingent to the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.
Hamdag, an MILF nominee to the ICP, is a retired official of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Another PNP retiree, Dr. Ricardo de Leon, has been nominated by government to the ICP along with Doque who was head of the Legal Bureau of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
After his PNP service, De Leon had a short stint as president of the Mindanao State University System. He is currently the vice-president of the Centro Escolar University.
Two more members of the ICP are expected to respectively come from Australia and an Asian country, the MILF news release said.
In constituting the ICP, the parties each nominate a local expert, an international expert and its representative. Both agree on the appointment of the body’s chair.
The ICP is slated to wind down its work within six months.
‘Civilian in character’
As envisioned in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), 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...,” the ICP’s terms of reference read.
The Bangsamoro police force is also hoped to be capable of addressing “the different security issues facing women, men, children and minority groups.”
The ICP is expected to make recommendation on the various aspects of the Bangsamoro police force like “name, structures, forms, functions, educational and professional development, recruitment, relationships, budget, and a roadmap for implementation.”
It is also expected to “consult widely” with relevant government agencies like the National Police Commission, the BIAF, and civil society.
Meanwhile, the peace panels have invited, during the recent round of talks, the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio to be part of the International Contact Group (ICG) to replace The Asia Foundation which has moved to the Third Party Monitoring Team.
The Community of Sant'Egidio is a Catholic lay association established in 1968 following the Second Vatican Council that is dedicated to evangelisation and charity.
Today, the movement has more than 60,000 members in more than 73 countries throughout the world.
The ICG has eight members; four states-- Turkey, United Kingdom, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, and four international non-government organizations (NGOs). The other NGOs are Muhammadiyah, Conciliation Resources and Center for Humanitarian Dialogue.
The ICG was created in 2009, after the failed homeland deal in 2008 that led to a yearlong war in Central Mindanao. It was designed to exert leverage on the parties to keep their commitment to the peace process.
During the recent round, two representatives from civil society in Mindanao served as observers of the peace negotiations. They are Analiza Ugay of the Balay Rehabilitation Center Inc., and Mahdie Amella of the United Youth for Peace and Development. Both leaders are council members of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus.
The presence of civil society observers during the talks, which is on the homestretch, started during the 39th round last August this year.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 19, 2013.