Assessment report on Mindanao may be helpful in ensuring peace in the region

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MANILA, April 12 -- A report by a reputable organization could aid Philippine policymakers in forging an enduring peace in Mindanao, a Palace official said on Saturday.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said a report by International Alert UK Philippines, a partner in Mindanao peace advocacy, could provide important inputs as lawmakers tackle proposals related to Mindanao.

International Alert is a member of the International Contact Group and its works on conflict monitoring are partly funded by the World Bank.

Valte said that although the group's report was submitted in August 2014, prior to the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress, it has important highlights worthy of consideration.

"One notable part of the report is that it has very interesting data on the conflict in areas of Mindanao, in such that it identifies new causes of violence, at hindi lang ‘yung sinasabing mga dating ugat ng conflict sa Mindanao," Valte said.

International Alert's data can be very useful to policymakers in discussing the peace process in Mindanao and help them craft laws and other policies important in peace initiatives, Valte said.

The report also recognized the importance of the ongoing peace process in Mindanao. "Without a doubt, ending the GPH-MILF conflict as a major source of rebellion-related violence retires a significant source of political violence with huge costs in terms of death, injury and displacement, and will impact positively on the prospects of peace and stability across the Bangsamoro," Valte said quoting the report.

Discussions on the BBL by the lawmakers were disrupted by the issue on the bloody Mamasapano encounter last January that killed 44 police commandos and 17 MILF combatants.

There were doubts that the deadly incident may derail the deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is already behind its original timetable.(PCOO/ PND (as)