Researchers from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) attended a colloquium organized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on “Measures to Combat Violent Radicalism: the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) as an Important Mechanism.” The event was held on 12 November 2014 at the Command and General Staff College Auditorium, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
B/Gen. Joselito E. Kakilala, Chief of the Office for Strategic Studies and Strategic Management of the AFP, discussed that apart from insurgency groups that seek self-determination and independence, another threat to national security are transnational groups that espouse violent radicalism. An example is the Islamic State that uses modern communications such as social media to recruit new members and spread radical ideas.
Prof. Julkipli Wadi of the UP Islamic Studies Center provided a historical perspective, and argued that the longstanding cycle of lawlessness and resistance dynamics which constitute the ‘Mindanao problem’ perpetuate violent radicalism in Mindanao and Sulu.
Mr. Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Election Reform represented the view of the civil society and pointed out how the Bangsamoro Autonomous Entity (BAE) could be an alternative to radical Islamism in Mindanao. He expressed high hopes for the negotiations and warned that failure of the talks would only lead to new configurations of rebellion. He added that the creation of the BAE should be complemented with measures to address other deep-seated problems such as warlordism, patronage system, weak law enforcement, and marginalization of other indigenous groups.
Dr. Jennifer Oreta, Assistant Secretary at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) explained the provisions of the CAB on political autonomy and wealth-sharing to clarify controversies and misperceptions. She also stressed that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not the end of the process, and that a lot of work will still have to be done to finally attain a lasting peace in Mindanao.
Present in the colloquium were officials and personnel of the AFP and other government agencies, as well as members of the academe.