Updates Per Peace Table

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Independent policing body for Bangsamoro meets to begin work

Manila – The Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) constituted by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday, October 21, held its first meeting with the GPH Negotiating Panel in preparation for its task of submitting recommendations to the peace panels on the appropriate form, structures, and relationships of the police force for the envisioned Bangsamoro region.

“This is a getting-to-know-you session and we hope to provide you with some overview of the institutional context of the task on hand” said GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer who presided over the meeting held at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process headquarters in Pasig City.

In attendance were the members of the ICP, namely,  Randall Beck as Chairperson (from Canada); retired Police Director Ricardo De Leon (GPH selected local expert); retired Police Chief Superintendent Amerodin Hamdag (MILF selected local expert); Police Dir. Lina Sarmiento (GPH appointed representative); Von Al Haq (MILF appointed representative); and Cedric Netto (international expert from Australia). Another international expert who will be nominated by the Japan government has yet to be named. Hirotaka Ono, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines and member of the International Contact Group (ICG), attended in the meantime.

During the meeting, Sarmiento discussed the structure, history, and constitutional mandate of the Philippine National Police while Coronel-Ferrer presented the legal framework relevant to policing in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

After the meeting with the Panel, the ICP led by its chairperson proceeded to the Canadian Embassy to hold their organizational meeting. They arranged to continue discussions until Wednesday.

The ICP was convened for the first time in September during the 40th round of talks wherein the parties, in a joint statement, said that “the ICP shall commence its work by mid-October.” The ICP's Terms of Reference was signed by the parties on February 27, 2013 during the 36th GPH-MILF exploratory talks.

As stated in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the commission “shall recommend appropriate policing within the Bangsamoro which is civilian in character and responsible both to the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and to the communities it serves.”

Also present in the said meeting were GPH panel member Undersecretary Yasmin Busran-Lao; Atty. Jesus Doque IV, member of the GPH Technical Working Group on Normalization; and officials of the Canadian Embassy to the Philippines, namely Benoit Girouard and James Christoff. Rasid Ladiasan, Head of Secretariat of the MILF ceasefire committee, also came as notetaker for the MILF representative.