Police Reform: Mindanao Final Agreement

II. The Transitional Period

Article 19:

The joining of the MNLF elements with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Provision of Security Protection for Certain Officials of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development:

a. During the transitional phase (Phase I), there shall be a program or process to allow the joining of MNLF elements into the PNP and to be part of the PNP in accordance with guidelines and procedures under existing laws. The Philippine Government shall allocate one thousand five hundred (1,500) PNP vacancies for this purpose to be filled up by MNLF elements during the transition period, and another two hundred fifty (250) items for special or auxiliary services.

b. The processing of MNLF elements will start upon the establishment of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD). The police training programs to be undergone by the joining MNLF elements shall be as prescribed by existing laws and regulations, and shall be conducted by the PNP.

c. The concerned officials of the Council (e.g. the Chairman and his Deputies) shall be provided security and protective assistance by the national government, as the security situation warrants and as part of confidence building measures. An AFP/PNP security detail shall be immediately and particularly assigned to the Council. This special AFP/PNP security detail shall be composed of former MNLF regulars who shall have been granted AFP or PNP appointments and duly integrated into the AFP or PNP. This security detail shall be of appropriate size in accordance with the needs of the situation, without prejudice to augmentation by regular AFP or PNP units as the need arises and in coordination with the AFP and PNP commanders concerned. This security detail which shall not be utilized for law enforcement, but solely for the security and protection of SPCPD officials concerned, shall conduct themselves in accordance with existing policies and regulations in order to prevent undue alarm to the population during movements of concerned officials.

d. To have good coordination between the AFP and PNP on the one hand and the SPCPD on the other, a liaison system will be set up composed of the AFP, PNP and SPCPD senior officials.

III. The New Regional Autonomous Government (Phase II)

B. The Establishment of the Special Regional Security Force for the Autonomous Region (Phase II of the Implementation of the Tripoli Agreement)

General Principles

73. When the new regular Autonomous Regional Government shall have been established, there shall be created or constituted a PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, which shall be the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) as referred to in Paragraph 8, Article III of the Tripoli Agreement.

75. The PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF shall be composed of the existing PNP units in the area of autonomy, the MNLF elements and other residents of the area who may later on be recruited into the force.

76. The powers and functions of the PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF, which shall be exercised within the territories covered by the Regional Autonomous Government (RAG), shall be the following: a. Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protection of lives and properties; b. Maintain peace and order and take all necessary steps to ensure public safety; c. Investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution; d. Exercise the general powers to make arrest, search and seizure in accordance with the Constitution and pertinent laws; e. Detain and arrest a person for a period not beyond what is prescribed by law, informing the person so detained of all his rights under the Constitution and observing the inherent human rights of the citizens; and f. Perform such other duties and exercise all other functions as may be provided by law.

77. The PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF shall be charged with the maintenance and preservation of peace, law and order, and protection of life, liberty and property in the region in consonance with the Constitution. Organization of the PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF.

78. It shall be civilian in nature or character.

79. It shall be regional in scope of operations.

80. It shall be headed by a Regional Director who shall be assisted by two (2) Deputies, one (1) for Administration and one (1) for Operations.

81. It shall have regional, provincial, and city or municipal offices.

82. At the provincial level, there shall be a provincial office, headed by a Provincial Director.

83. At the city or municipal level, there shall be an office/station which shall be headed by a Chief of Police.

Powers of the Head of the Regional Autonomous Government over the PNP Regional Command for the Autonomous Region/SRSF

84. Act as the Deputy of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) in the region and shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the Regional Police Commission (REPOLCOM).

85. Exercise operational control and general supervision and disciplinary powers.

86. Employ/deploy the elements of the Regional Command through the Regional Director.

87. Assign/reassign officers and other personnel through the Regional Director.

88. Recommend to the President the appointment of the Regional Director and his two (2) Deputies.

89. Oversee the preparation and implementation of the integrated regional public safety plan.

90. Impose, after due notice and summary hearings of citizen’s complaints, administrative penalties on personnel of the Regional Command except Presidential Appointees.

Creation of the Regional Police Commission

91. There shall be created a Regional Police Commission (REPOLCOM) by the Regional Legislative Assembly consistent with the Constitution.

92. The REPOLCOM shall be under the supervision of the NAPOLCOM.

93. The Chairman of REPOLCOM shall be an ex-officio Commissioner of the NAPOLCOM.

 

Implementation History

1996

No Implementation

As referenced above, the peace agreement refers to police reforms in several different sections. The main stipulations are two fold: (1) Integration of MNLF into the Philippine National Police (PNP); and (2) the creation of a new institution and police force: "the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, which shall be the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) as referred to in Paragraph 8, Article III of the Tripoli Agreement." 

Integration of MNLF candidates into the Philippine National Police (PNP) did not begin in 1996. Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established in 1996.

1997

Minimum Implementation

Screening begins for applicants to be integrated into the PNP.1 

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) were established in 1997.  

  • 1. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “Integration of MNLF Forces into the PNP and AFP: Integration without Demobilization and Disarmament,” (Paper presented at the conference The GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, Phase 1: Pains and Gains, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, University of the Philippines, November 10¬11, 1999).
1998

Minimum Implementation

In July of 1998, 496 out of 500 MNLF candidates completed PNP training. They were then formed into a Special Mobile Group after their graduation.2 

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 1998.  

1999

Intermediate Implementation

A second batch of 479 and a third batch of 500 MNLF candidates are in training or waiting to begin training.3 

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 1999.  

2000

Intermediate Implementation

Bertrand considers the integration of MNLF fighters into the PNP accomplished.4  

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2000. 

  • 4. Jacques Bertrand, “Peace and Conflict in the Southern Philippines: Why the 1996 Peace Agreement Is Fragile,” Pacific Affairs 73, no. 1 (2000): 37-54.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2001. 

2002

Intermediate Implementation

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2002. 

2003

Intermediate Implementation

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2003. 

2004

Intermediate Implementation

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2004. 

2005

Intermediate Implementation

Neither the PNP Regional Command for the new Autonomous Region, nor the Special Regional Security Forces (SRSF) were established in 2005. 

***Postscript: On 26 October 2008, the regional assembly of the ARMM passed "RA Bill No. 72", which finally established the SRSF or the Philippines National Police Force in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a provision to incorporate existing PNP units in ARMM, MNLF elements and other residents of the area who may be recruited into the SRSF. The bill was later reaffirmed or updated under MMA Act No. 287 in November 2011.5