Gov’t to use Spain’s autonomous region as model for Bangsamoro’s police force

The Philippine government’s peace panel is set to fly to an autonomous region in Spain to study its internal security set-up, which may be used as model for the Bangsamoro region’s police force.

In a statement, Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Teresita Deles said national government officials, local government heads from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and even members of the military will go to Spain’s Chartered Community of Navarre [Navarra in Spanish] on October 24 for a study visit.

“It [The visit] hopes to draw lessons and insights relevant as reference in drafting the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro, particularly in how states and regions work with the national government,” Deles said. The Philippine delegation which will be flying to Spain next week includes Budget Secretary Butch Abad, chief negotiator Marvic Leonen; government peace panel members Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Dr. Hamid Barra, former Agriculture Sec. Senen Bacani, Undersecretary Yasmin Busran Lao and Mayor Ramon Piang of Upi, Maguindanao.

Also joining are ARMM Governor in-charge Mujiv Hataman, the five ARMM provincial governors, representatives from the Senate, Congress, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine Army.

Deles said that MILF representatives also flew to Catalan, another autonomous region in Spain, to observe the region’s experiences.

Navarre is an autonomous community located in northern Spain. The area has its own local autonomous police force, called the “Policia Foral.”

Deles added that Philippine officials hope to “get inspiration” from the Navarre model since the government peace panel is set to begin work next week on the annexes to the framework agreement it signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Further, Deles said the study visit will give officials insight on how to implement Article 8 of the framework agreement, which provides for the creation of an independent commission to recommend appropriate policing within the Bangsamoro region. Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, raised concern over the establishment of a separate police force in the Bangsamoro region. Lacson said internal security in the area should still be under the supervision of the President, in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.

But Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, has maintained that the Bangsamoro police force will still be under the supervision of the national government.

Roxas added that the jurisdiction of the police force will be included in the Bangsamoro basic law that will be crafted and approved by lawmakers and will be the subject of plebiscite.

Last October 15, the Philippine government and the MILF—the country’s largest secessionist group—inked a preliminary framework agreement that could potentially end the decades-old separatist insurgency in Mindanao.

The preliminary peace deal provides for the creation of a Bangsamoro to replace the ARMM, which President Benigno Aquino III called as a “failed experiment.” — Andreo Calonzo/RSJ, GMA News

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