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 unitsand 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 or conflict among Filipino Muslim families were somehow caused by lack of commitment of concerned local government units to finally resolve the conflict at local level.

 Baharom, a Malaysian Army General who has Ph. D in public administration and head of mission of the international 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 or clan feud have 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 coming from all over Mindanao attending 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.

 Members and officials of the religious sector, academe and various socio-civic, non-government  organizations also attended the three-day media summit 

OPAPP Secretary Ding Deles, top local government officials like Davao City Sarah Duterte, military generals and colonels in the likes of Army. Gen. Jose Vizcarra, representatives from GRP and MILF panels also attended the media summit. 

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. 

The International Monitoring Team made several observations and analysis of the GRP-MILF peace talks based on their 8-month stay and getting along with broad range of stakeholders and constituents and these were;


            One, ground situation holding so well, two, protest by both parties on uncoordinated activities by both parties resolved by JCCCH or Joint Committee on Ceasefire and Cessation on Hostilities, three, regular commitment of local government units needed, four, there is a dire need for local government unit to ensure peaceful environment while negating impartiality and five; uniltateral operation by SY forces on MILF members will create tension and may cause escalation for ceasefire violation. (PNA/Ben Serrano)