Category: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE Peace monitor raise stakeholder's concerns over delays in BBL passage

MANILA – The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), the independent body that tracks the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), recently expressed the "ongoing, indeed increasing, uncertainties regarding the possible outcome of the legislative process" concerning the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a letter to peace panel chairs Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Government of the Philippines and Mohagher Iqbal of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), TPMT chair Alistair MacDonald noted stakeholders' "concerns about the delays in the legislative process," the "content of any BBL which might be adopted by Congress" as well as about the "continuity of the process, if indeed a BBL cannot be passed under this administration."
MacDonald said the observations of the TPMT arose from its December meetings with MILF members led by Chair Murad Ebrahim, the MILF Central Committee, peace panel and mechanisms; the multinational International Monitoring Team and Independent Decommissioning Body; the Bangsamoro Development Authority and civil society representatives. On the side of government, the peace monitors also met with the GPH panel, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, and members of the House of Representatives and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. They also held meetings with the chair of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission, members of the International Contact Group and the people behind Fastrac, a joint initiative of the United Nations and the World Bank providing support to the Bangsamoro peace process.
‎MacDonald described as “encouraging” the meeting last December 8 called by President Benigno S. Aquino III with "a large number of members of the House, and that thereafter the House was able to at least close the period of interpellation in the final days of its December session" despite its inability to establish a quorum over the past several months.
However, he noted that there has been no significant progress in the Senate.   
‎"It is difficult to look forward, at a time when there are so many uncertainties as to whether a BBL will be passed, whether if passed the BBL will be compliant with the CAB, and whether if not passed the next administration will be committed to carry forward the process,” MacDonald said.
As such, MacDonald noted the recommendations of the TPMT for an intensified effort from both peace panels to promote the passage of a CAB-compliant BBL; manage public expectations in the event that Congress is not able to complete its legislative work on the proposed law; and reach an agreement on a Plan B.
Positive developments
Despite delays on the passage of the BBL, the TPMT lauded the progress in the normalization aspect of the CAB.
“[T]he BBL is only one element (though a crucial element) in the peace process, and developments in the area of normalization should not be overlooked. Here there have been some positive developments – for example the ongoing implementation of large-scale Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) training, the work of the Joint Task Force for the Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC) and Task Force Camps Transformation (TFCT), the completion of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-MILF (DSWD-MILF) profiling of the 145 former combatants, and the strengthening of the organizational coherence and footprint on the ground of the International Decommissioning Body (IDB),” MacDonald said.
He also pointed to the submission of the TJRC report as "an ‎important contribution to drawing public and political attention to the issues underlying the peace process."
MacDonald also noted ‎the progress "being made in promoting a coming-together of the different stakeholder groups in the Bangsamoro.

He cited the fact that apart from the “Unified Declaration” of the MILF and the Sema faction of the MNLF in October, further efforts have been made to confirm support of the BBL from other factions of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), most notably that led by Abdulkhayr Alonto, but reaching out also to Nur Misuari." ##‎#

Contact Person:
Alistair MacDonald 
Chair, Third Party Monitoring Team
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Category: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE Seize the Moment TPMT Statement on the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro, now in Congress

As foreseen under the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) has since July of 2013 been monitoring regularly the implementation of the agreements signed between the Philippine Government and the MILF. During that time we have met with the widest possible range of stakeholders, in Manila and across Mindanao.

In all of these contacts, we have been struck by the universal desire for peace and security, for prosperity and progress, and for a better hope for the future. Those who have lived with more than four decades of armed conflict in Muslim Mindanao have also understood the tremendous benefits which peace can unlock, allowing the region to achieve its full potential, and to contribute more effectively to the prosperity and security of the nation as a whole.

The international community has watched with admiration as the Philippines has worked to carry this process forward. A successful conclusion to the peace process in Mindanao will be of benefit not only to the people of the Bangsamoro, of Mindanao, and of the Philippines as a whole, but indeed to the global community as well. We have all seen the wider impact of poverty and conflict around the world, at a time when criminality, radicalism and terrorism can easily leapfrog national borders.

No-one ever said it would be easy to build a sustainable peace in Mindanao, and it has taken many years of effort, of setbacks as well as achievements, to build the foundations of this peace. We are now at a critical juncture in the peace process, when a successful conclusion to eighteen years of negotiations is almost within reach. Expectations are running high, though fears of failure are also growing.

The detailed deliberations in Congress on the Basic Law establishing the autonomous region, and the wide-ranging consultations accompanying this, have certainly allowed all stakeholders to express themselves on the substance and the detail of the agreements and the draft law, and to make clear both the rewards of peace and the costs of conflict. There is now an historic opportunity to complete the legislative process, and to build a new future of peace, security and prosperity for Mindanao and for the Philippines as a whole.

By adopting now a basic law giving legal expression to the Comprehensive Agreement and providing for the real autonomy foreseen under the 1987 Constitution (and improving on the more limited autonomy provided under RA.9054), Congress will have shown its leadership in promoting peace, security and prosperity for the benefit of the nation as a whole. The prize of peace is within reach, and we believe that the political will and vision of Congress can indeed allow it to seize this historic moment.

The TPMT therefore joins all those, in the Philippines and around the world, who have expressed their support for the timely adoption of an acceptable and meaningful Basic Law.


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 convened on a roughly two-monthly basis since then, and will continue to monitor the implementation of the agreements 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 :

Contact for further information : 

Alistair MacDonald 
TPMT Chair and Spokesperson 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
+63 917 843 2556