By: UNYPAD ComTeam
DAVAO CITY/September 16, 2017 – Regional Reconciliation and Unification Commission (RRUC) held a joint planning workshop on September 11-14, 2017 in Davao City. The workshop was aimed at strengthening the approaches on rido settlement in ARMM. Members of ARMM Regional Coordination Mechanism on RIDO Settlement (ACMRS) attended the activity.
The ACMRS members are the RRUC, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), Tiyakap Kalilintad Inc. (TKI), Maguindanao Taskforce Reconciliation and Unification Council (MTRUC), Confederated Descendants of Rajah Mamalu Incorporated (C-DORM), and MILF-CCCH.
Noraida Chio, Senior Program Officer of the Asia Foundation (TAF), appreciated the ACMRS accomplishment on rido settlement. However, she is worried by the worsening horizontal and vertical conflict in ARMM despite the peace-building efforts.
Datu Romeo Sema, Chairman of the RRUC, recognized that conflict is inevitable. In ARMM, competition for scarce resources and political influence are the major drivers of the conflict. The role of ACRMS and TAF is to prevent and mitigate the conflict.
According to Abdulbasit “Bobby” Benito, Executive Director of RRUC ARMM, a total 235 unsettled rido are recorded in ARMM as of 2017 – Ninety-one (91) in Maguindanao, eighty-eight (88) in Lanao Del Sur, thirty-eight (38) in Basilan, fifteen (15) in Sulu, and three (3) in Tawi-Tawi. Political rivalry and land dispute are the top two drivers of the rido.
The challenging opening statements of the TAF and RRUC resulted to meaningful participation during the workshop. The workshop includes defining and dealing with conflict, and conflict analysis using tools and methodologies appropriate for the context of ARMM.
Benito stressed that political and business rivalries, land disputes, and drugs related conflicts could be addressed by internal power sharing arrangements and signing of the covenant.
“Involvement of trusted leaders to facilitate the dispute settlement is also a key conflict resolution strategy in the region, and the key leaders may also explore alternatives,” he opined.
Benito clarified that the ACMRS may bring the issue to the higher authorities such as the Office of the President in case local alternatives are exhausted. He added that it may recommend for the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), and competition for the IRA is the common cause of rido among the political clans.
Yusoph Lumambas, Secretary General of UNYPAD, lamented that structural violence is the root cause of the unstoppable increase of rido. He believes that the conflict must be addressed by different levels of authorities simultaneously.
“The national government must focus on addressing the historical injustices to the Bangsamoro. There is also a need to strengthen law enforcement and improved local governance,” pointed out.
“The CSOs, government agencies, and Moro revolutionary groups must collaborate in preventing and mitigating conflict through dialogue and advocacy,” he added
Through the facilitation of Zuharto Abas, a freelance consultant and facilitator, a concrete plan, clear direction and specific, measurable, attainable and time bound action plan was formulated.
Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) and TAF expressed their commitment to support the implementation of the three-day planning workshop.