Statement by the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)

Members of Third Party Monitoring Team chaired by Heino Marius. (Photo by Bangsamoro Multimedia Network)

Wednesday 27 March 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). The TPMT has a mandate originating from 2013 to monitor the implementation of the agreement.
It took 17 years for the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to painstakingly negotiate the CAB. The result is a well-designed autonomy settlement wherein the Parties recognize Bangsamoro identity and the legitimacy of the Bangsamoro cause within the framework of the Philippine Constitution. The agreement aims to secure the Bangsamoro identity through a democratic process establishing a new autonomous political entity.
A lot has been achieved in the 10 years since the CAB was signed during a ceremony at Malacanan. The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) was established in February 2019 featuring an appointed parliament and interim regional government. The TPMT acknowledges good progress on the political track of the peace agreement, as witnessed by the BTA Parliament adopting many priority pieces of legislation. As the Bangsamoro prepares to elect a representative regional government in May 2025, the foundations for genuine and meaningful self-governance in the Bangsamoro have been laid.
Progress on the normalization track, which has the aim of ensuring human security in the BARMM, has been slower. There are many tasks still to be accomplished, including in the fields of decommissioning, camps transformation, policing, amnesty, redeployment of the AFP, disbanding of private armed groups and transitional justice. There is a perceptible new drive by the reconstituted Peace Implementing Panels to fast-track implementation of the normalization track. But it has also become clear that some elements of the peace process may not be complete by the end of this transition phase in June next year.
Turning the ambitions of the CAB into reality remains a work in progress. Bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion requires the sustained commitment of all stakeholders in the Philippines.
We as TPMT believe that it is essential for the Parties to uphold the legitimacy and credibility of the CAB. This can be ensured by avoiding unilateralism in implementation, by securing the inclusiveness of the peace process and by nurturing the sense of ownership by stakeholders both in the BARMM and across the Philippines.
The CAB has opened the path to lasting peace for the Bangsamoro. It represents a historic opportunity not to be missed. We trust that the Parties will continue to manifest their full commitment to the spirit and letter of the CAB, including at the highest levels. ###
Heino Marius
TPMT Chair (Brussels)
Karen Tañada
TPMT Member (Manila)
Rahib Kudto
TPMT Member (Mindanao)
Huseyn Oruc
TPMT Member (Turkiye)
Sam Chittick
TPMT Member (Manila)

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