Dispatch of Japanese Personnel to the Independent Decommissioning Body in Relation to the Mindanao Peace Process
- On March 15, the Government of Japan decided to dispatch Mr. Michio Suda, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines (a retired officer of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, recruited as an officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) for the Mindanao peace process, headquartered in Cotabato City on Mindanao Island, Philippines.
- At the IDB, mandated to oversee the process of decommissioning combatants and weapons of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Mr. Suda will be tasked with coordination work for the implementation of the decommissioning plan, provision of technical expertise, assistance for the making of annual work, financial and procurement plan, and supervision of Japanese assistance to the IDB, among others, as Chief Support Services Officer at its headquarters.
- The decision on the dispatch is in line with the position of the Government of Japan to augment its support for the Mindanao peace process in ways commensurate with the progress thereof. Japanese personnel contribution is expected to further accelerate the decommissioning process–a critical juncture for the future of the peace in Mindanao, international fight against terrorism, socio-economic development of the Philippines, as well as securing the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region at large including the Sulu-Celebes Seas and the surrounding areas.
[Reference 1] Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB)
The Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) is an unarmed organization which was established in March 2014 as a body mandated to oversee the process of decommissioning MILF combatants and weapons, based on preceding peace agreements between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and MILF. Participation of foreign personnel in the IDB is regarded important to ensure the organization’s neutrality, and the Governments of the Republic of Turkey (IDB Board Chairman), the Governments of the Kingdom of Norway (IDB Board Vice Chairman) and the Sultanate of Brunei have dispatched their personnel to the organization. The IDB has thus far completed the decommissioning of approximately 12,000 MILF combatants, or 30% of its 40,000-strong personnel.
[Reference 2] Japanese support for the Mindanao peace process
The Government of Japan has been rendering support for the Mindanao peace process for nearly two decades from the viewpoint that the stability of Mindanao is vital for the Indo-Pacific region. In light of the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in February 2019 and the importance of the successive transition period of the Mindanao peace process, the Government of Japan has been enhancing its socio-economic infrastructure development assistance under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD), through the assistance to the efforts for MILF decommissioning and the capacity building support to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (dispatch of two Japanese advisers).