UNDP, Japan, OPAPP inaugurate new 'security station' in Lanao del Norte

Published July 1, 2021, 12:12 PM

by Roy Mabasa

In order to maintain peace and stability in Mindanao, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), along with its institutional partners, led the turnover of a newly constructed Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) station in Barangay Panggao, Lanao del Norte.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP website)

The JPSTs are a peace-keeping force composed of contingents from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Philippine National Police (PNP) mobilized on the ground with a mission to maintain peace and order in Mindanao.

The UNDP, along with its partners from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Japanese government, handed over the ceremonial key to the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) on June 26, 2021.

The construction of JPST stations is supported and implemented through the OPAPP-UNDP “Support to Peacebuilding and Normalization” project and the Japan-UNDP “Assistance to Normalization” project.

To date, four barracks and six field stations have been turned over to the JPSTs, with 12 teams and 366 members now deployed across Mindanao and the Bangsamoro region.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the peacebuilding efforts in Mindanao, UNDP Cotabato Field Office Head Winston Camariñas said the JPSC has remained tireless in delivering its mandate for peace and security and has continuously pushed for the activation and deployment of joint peacekeeping teams across Mindanao.

“On our end, UNDP remains committed in its support to sustain the gains of the Bangsamoro Peace Process,” he said.

MILF-JPSC member Alim Isah Bato accepted the newly built JPST Station.

Japan, one of the key players in promoting peace and stability in Mindanao, has expressed its commitment to supporting the work of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the OPAPP for the attainment of sustainable development and lasting peace in Mindanao.

“As the peace process of Mindanao is developing, Japanese Government and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) will continue and further expand the cooperation for the transition to Bangsamoro Autonomous Government, the Normalization process and improvement of socio-economic infrastructures,” said Okada Fumiaki, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

The station in Brgy. Panggao will serve as barracks and command post of the JPST Munai—a 30-man operating unit composed of seven members from the AFP, eight members from the PNP, and 15 members from the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

The JPSTs have trained together to maintain transitional security in areas mutually selected by the Philippine government and the MILF to aid the interim period of the peace process in the Bangsamoro region.