Gov’t panel fosters coordination, inclusivity among law enforcers

GENERAL SANTOS CITY Coordination and inclusivity will be the key in the successful implementation of the security aspect of the normalization phase under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

This was emphasized by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security Dickson P. Hermoso to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) based in Region 12.

Always remember that 'partner tayo (we are partners),' we can do this together. That is precisely the very reason why we are here, ine-explain namin sa inyo (kung) ano 'yung mekanismo, and the mechanism is not a stumbling block sa performance ng duty ninyo, kundi solution sila (we are explaining the mechanisms to you, which are not hindrances but rather solutions to the performance of your duty), Hermoso said.

Hermoso, a member of the Government of Philippines Implementing Panel, said close coordination among members of the security sector will ensure the primacy of the Bangsamoro peace process, particularly during the conduct of police and military operations within Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps.

We don't want a repeat of (the) Mamasapano (incident), Hermoso told 200 members from the PNP and the AFP who attended the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) session at the Mt. Sabrina Panoramic View and Resort held here.

The IEC campaign was organized by OPAPP in partnership with the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Social Development Office, United Nations Development Program and the PNP.

The activity is the last leg of a four-part campaign under Project Ugnayan: Sagot sa Pagkakaisa or Project USAP.

In his remarks, PNP PRO 12 regional director, Brig. Gen. Eliseo T. Rasco highlighted the need for greater sensitivity and awareness in carrying out law enforcement duties among men and women in uniform.

Our peace process remains a delicate issue we have to be cautious in our enforcement actions; we have to be fully informed of our operational guidelines, especially the security task that we are sent to do pursuant to the transitional justice and reconciliation aspect of the normalization track, Rasco said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Merrill Sumalinog, chief of the Bangsamoro Peace Division, AFP Peace and Development Office, provided an overview of the role of the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) and the Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPSTs) under the normalization track, as well as the protocol of cooperation on anti-illegal drug operations and other-related security activities in MILF communities.

The Government of the Philippines' Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), represented by its chair, Brig. Gen. Madid M. Paitao, and staff member Reshiel V. Sombrio explained that the body's role is to coordinate law enforcement operations within the jurisdiction of MILF camps.

For his part, Lt. Col. Joel Mamon, head of the GPH Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH)/ AHJAG/ International Monitoring Team (IMT) combined secretariat, emphasized to attendees the mandate of the CCCH.

Mamon said the CCCH's mandate to proactively monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement; immediately respond with actual ground intervention in case of sudden hostilities; and investigate cases of violation of the ceasefire agreement, with the main goal of resolving situations of conflict through peacemaking and peace-building activities.

The GPH and the MILF signed the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH) on July 18, 1997. It was the first major agreement forged by both parties as a response to the outbreak of violence during ongoing peace talks.

As an offshoot of AGCH, the GPH-MILF CCCH was created in the same year to supervise and monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.

The institutionalization of these ceasefire mechanisms led to the significant reduction of armed skirmishes between the GPH and MILF, with no incidents of violence recorded from 2012 to 2014.

During the event's open forum, attendees raised key issues and concerns, ranging from areas of jurisdiction, dismantling of private armed groups, and the decommissioning process, wherein 30 percent, or 12,000 MILF combatants are set to be decommissioned by September.

On the issue of decommissioning, Hermoso sought the help of the PNP in carrying out the security protocols, which will be crucial to the normalization track.

In closing, he called on the troops to embody the principles of partnership, people empowerment and ownership.

Huwag nating solohin ang trabaho (Let us not hog all the work); always be guided by the core principle of partnership. Empower the people. Lastly, ownership. Wag ikaw (na) battalion commander o chief of police, anlaki ng tarpaulin mo, nakangiti ka doon. (If you are a battalion commander or a chief of police, avoid those big tarpaulins with your smiling faces plastered all over). Give it to the people. Let them own it (achievements), he said. (OPAPP-PR)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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