EU to train MILF officials in public administration

By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The European Union (EU) is set to train Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) officials working in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) of the just-created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to make them effective administrators.

Initially, 41 middle executives from the MILF will be trained on public policy, governance and management by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), and the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) “starting this summer,” an EU statement furnished Friday to the Manila Bulletin said.

First BARMM flag-raising rite – MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim as interim Chief Minister of BTA (center) leads hundreds of initial workers in BARMM in their first flag ceremony in Cotabato City on March 4. (BTA PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
First BARMM flag-raising rite – MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim as interim Chief Minister of BTA (center) leads hundreds of initial workers in BARMM in their first flag ceremony in Cotabato City on March 4. (BTA PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Out of the 41 (prospected trainees), six are members of the MILF central committee,” said Thelma Gecolea of the EU communications group.

“It is expected that the middle managers will be the gatekeepers for the BTA members and therefore will play a crucial role in providing technical support to the BTA members,” Gecolea said.

She said the EU has set a consultation among the CPCS, the BMLI and the MILF Peace Implementation Panel (PIP) to “align the design, content and timeline of the activities including the training program.”

“Part of the technical support is a seven-day study tour to a country or countries where peace processes allowed for revolutionary organization’s transition to political organization,” the EU statement said.

The CPCS is a Cambodian (non-government organization) NGO working in the field of peace building and conflict transformation in Asia while the BMLI is a product of the Mindanao process and is run by MILF to train its members to get adept with the challenges of transitioning from an armed revolutionary movement to the formal political arena.

The MILF’s PIP, chaired by front second Vice Chair Mohagher Igbal, is mandated to ensure efficient implementation of peace accords signed the government, especially the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB). CAB is the main basis of R.A. 11054 enacted in July last year for the creation of BARM.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said the current transition is “definitely critical” but “presents an opportunity for all actors to work in a harmonious spirit to lay down a solid foundation for political, economic and social stability in Mindanao.”

“The EU remains committed to support the need for a better future for Bangsamoro and its people- the aspirations and visions for the future of every well-meaning citizen, not only of Bangsamoro but outside of Bangsamoro,” Jessen said.

He added: “While there will be challenges along the way, there is so much hope and dynamism in the Bangsamoro region. This is extremely important because any peace process cannot be successful, if not supported by economic success, growing prosperity and inclusive growth.”

The EU is one of foreign entities long involved in the peace process between the MILF and the Philippine government.

Officials of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), both involved also in the peace process, sounded off commitments last week for separate assistance to the BTA-BARMM in other aspects of governance, including local revenue generation.

On Jan. 22, President Duterte constituted the 80-member BTA, naming MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim as interim Chief Minister. Ebrahim consequently initially named 10 ministries and their ministers.

Last March 4, Monday, Ebrahim led in Cotabato City the BARMM’s first flag raising ceremony, and appealed for public support in his three-year transitional administration that will end in June 2022 upon election of the first elected BARMM ministers.

In past media interviews, Ebrahim said he would not seek election in the new regional autonomy to remain as figure head of MILF. The MILF has created in own political party to field candidates in the 2022 elections and beyond.

 
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