International Monitoring Team claims good governance key to peace in Mindanao 

by Ben Serrano

November 8. 2010 

BUTUAN CITY (PNA)  - The head of mission of the International Monitoring Team in the on-going GRP-MILF Peace Talks on Saturday claimed commitment of local government units and national government for good and responsible governance has always been the key in attaining lasting peace and development in Southern Mindanao.


 Major General Datuk Baharom Bin Hamzah, Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team observed that in many unsolved cases of locally-initiated armed conflicts like RIDO among Filipino Muslim families were somehow caused by lack of commitment of concerned local government units to finally resolve the conflict


Baharom, a Malaysian Army General and holds Ph. D in public governance and administration who heads the foreign monitoring team composed of delegates from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesian, Japan, European Union and Libya claimed the team has already sent recommendations and analysis to the Philippine Government about the GRP-MILF peace talks and issues hounding it.


“One of the recommendations of the team was to strengthen capabilities of different local government units to settle at their level locally-based conflict like RIDO and others”, General Baharom said.


Baharom said that in most cases unsettled RIDO has escalated into full blown conflict that will sometimes involved not only families but rival politicians and some local law enforcers, MILF members  in the locality 


Baharom challenged nearly 100 media practitioners of the 6th Mindanao Media Summit held November 5-7, 2010 at Garden Oases Resort and Convention Center in Davao City to bridge the gap in governance problem in some areas in Southern Mindanao where GRP-MILF peace talks is on-going.


Baharom said that since his coming in Southern Mindanao since February 28, 2010 or barely eight months, his team already helped soften at least nine RIDO incidents that if not to the international team’s efforts it could escalate into full blown conflict. 


“But, we are not here forever to help solve these issues for the team’s stay in the Southern Mindanao is only one year” Baharom added.


“Ultimately the solution to this issue we raised are the local government units themselves at least they must have to take the lead in seriously governing their local constituents for this is what they are elected for”, the Malaysian Army General told Mindanao newsmen.


Baharom said he will also include in his next recommendations/analysis to the GRP panel the inclusion to the talks on the indigenous people.


“We observed that in the talks, the plight of the indigenous people in Mindanao was sidelined all these years”, Baharom concludes. (PNA/Ben)