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TPMT 19 June 2015

TPMT congratulates GPH and MILF Panels


on historic first step in decommissioning

Alistair MacDonald, chair of the Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) set up by the
Panels to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (CAB), said today that Tuesday’s successful initial decommissioning
ceremonies in Simuay, Maguindanao, marked a historic step forward in the
implementation of the CAB, and confirmed the MILF’s commitment to continue on
the path to peace.

In congratulating the Panels on this achievement, MacDonald said “the MILF this
week confirmed their sincere commitment to the implementation of the CAB, with the
successful completion of this initial stage of decommissioning, covering 75 high-
powered or crew-served weapons, and 145 MILF combatants.”

Noting that this was only the first step in the decommissioning process, with three
other and much more substantial stages that should now follow in line with the
implementation of other aspects of the CAB, MacDonald added that “the first step in
any journey is often the most difficult, and it is tremendously encouraging to see that
this has pushed through, and that the journey has really begun, even at a time when
the Bangsamoro Basic Law is still undergoing substantive discussions in Congress”

MacDonald noted also that this high-profile event saw the weapons being handed over
to the Independent Decommissioning Body so that they may be put beyond use, and
the former combatants being given support to help them return to a peaceful and
productive civilian life. It was in no sense a “surrender” (as some commentators had
wrongly claimed), but rather an honourable fulfilment of commitments entered into
by the government and the MILF in the CAB.

MacDonald and his TPMT colleagues had been present in Simuay to observe the
ceremonies, and were encouraged to see that a number of legislators were also
present, and will be able to report to their colleagues in Congress on the determination
shown by the MILF to implement their commitments under the CAB, helping bring
an end to the decades of disastrous conflict which have wracked parts of Mindanao.

Tuesday also marked the beginning of the current in-country session of the TPMT,
which sees the TPMT discussing the current state of implementation of the CAB with
the government, the MILF, political leaders and stakeholders in Mindanao and
Manila, and with various bodies set up to implement the CAB such as the
Independent Decommissioning Body and the Joint Normalization Committee.

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Background

The independent Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) was set up by the Government of the
Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to monitor the implementation of the
GPH-MILF peace agreement, as provided for in the Framework Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (FAB) signed on 15 October 2012.

The TPMT has five members (two nominated by the MILF, two by the GPH, and a jointly-
nominated Chair) : Rahib Kudto (United Youth for Peace and Development, Philippines),
Huseyin Oruç (IHH, Turkey), Steven Rood (The Asia Foundation, USA), Karen Tañada
(Gaston Z Ortigas Peace Institute, Philippines), and Alistair MacDonald (Chair, former EU
Ambassador to the Philippines, now retired).

The TPMT is tasked with monitoring, reviewing and assessing the implementation of all
signed agreements between the Parties, primarily the CAB, FAB and its Annexes. In
particular, its basic functions are to :
- monitor and evaluate the implementation of all agreements;
- review and assess the progress of the implementation of commitments by both Parties
under the Agreements (submitting comprehensive periodic reports and updates to both
Parties for their appropriate action);
- and to communicate to the public the progress and developments in the implementation of
the Agreements of the Parties.

The TPMT was launched in July of 2013, on the basis of terms of reference agreed by the
Parties in January 2013. The TPMT has so far convened twelve times in the Philippines
(commencing in September of 2013), and will continue to meet on a roughly two-monthly
basis through till the completion of the Exit Document foreseen in the CAB.

The TPMT’s second annual public report was issued in February 2015, and is available on
both the OPAPP and Luwaran websites, for example at :
http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/third-party-monitoring-team-second-public-report-
january-2014-january-2015

Contact for further information :


Alistair MacDonald, Chair and Spokesman
tpmt.macdonald@gmail.com
+63 917 843 2556