TELESFORO MONZON eLab / Euskal Herrigintza Laborategia

Visit of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority to the Basque Country

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Visit of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority to the Basque Country

February 16-22 / 2020

From 2020 February 16th to 22nd, a delegation of members of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) visited Basque Country invited by Telesforo Monzon eLab, state-building laboratory, as part of its “Partekatuz-Sharing” program.

This study visit was part of an EU-funded project, “Supporting the Bangsamoro in Transition”, which aims to support a smooth and stable transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the overall implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) through engaging key MILF cadres and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

The visit was co-organized with the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS).

The Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro is a final peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on 27th of March, 2014, in Manila

The main objective of the visit was to learn from the best practices of the Basque conflict transformation process and also to highlight the key lessons of the Basque process.

The Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) is a final peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on
the 27th of March, 2014, at the Malacañang Palace in Manila. Under this agreement, the Islamic separatists would turn over their firearms to a third party, which would be selected by the rebels and the Philippine government. The MILF agreed to decommission its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). In return, the government would establish an autonomous Bangsamoro region. Power-sharing was a central point to the autonomy redesign.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was formed after voters decided to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law in January 21st, 2019, plebiscite. Under the law, a transition body, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), was organized, pending the election of the new region’s government officials in 2022.

The BTA counts with 80 members appointed by the Philippine government; 41 of which to be nominated by the MILF, and the remaining to be selected by the government.

Objectives of the visit

The objective of the visit was to learn from the good practices of the Basque case. Faced with this, the visit focused on various topics like the peace process, the Basque Country institutionalization process, as well as various significant and successful projects such as the Basque cooperatives. On the one hand, the visit looked at issues related to conflict transformation, such as, for example, the study of the diverse peace processes attempts in the country, the Basque movement’s strategic thinking, its internal cohesion, the disarmament process … On the other hand, in the area of institutional policy, the delegation learned about the Basque parliament, the New Status Project, and the electoral process. Finally, the Basque cooperatives were also part of the visit, sharing its philosophy and also explaining its application in the process of reintegration of Colombian guerrillas.

Bangsamoro delegation

The delegation from Bangsamoro was conformed by a a broad representation.

Dr. Taugan S. Kikay, Assistance to the Minister on Special Concerns, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform, BARMM; Head of Secretariat, MILF Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC)

Dr. Tomanda D. Antok, Planning Officer, United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP): Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Mindanao State University, Maguindanao

Atty. Sha Elijah B. Dumama, Attorney General, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)

Mr. Ismael P. Dalinan, Vice Chairman, Secretariat, Central Committee, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Mr. Nuroddin A. Abdulrahman, Provincial Chairman, Kutawato Provincial Committee, MILF

Mr. Cerham E. Alil, Provincial Chairman, Sulu Provincial Committee, MILF

Mr. Mokhaledyn M. Aranaid, Provincial Chairman, Davao Provincial Committee, MILF

Mr. Abdul Maomit M. Tomawis, Provincial Chairman, Lanao del Sur Provincial Committee, MILF

Abbas B. Salung, Member, MILF Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (MILF-CCH)

Haiekin batera CPCSeko Rachana Thummala eta Rachel Cabulong egon dira.

No conflict is the same, but there are useful lessons to learn in each one.

It is a common principle in conflict resolution that no conflict is the same, and each one has unique aspects to take into account. That said, we consider there are lessons to be learned from many conflicts. In the Basque Country, and despite the differences, cases like Ireland, South Africa, or Salvador have been inspiring and useful. We have learned many lessons from many places. Bangsamoro Moro’s case is also different from the Basque one, but we believe some lessons can be interesting for the Bangsamoro peace process and its nation- building process. During this visit, Bangsamoro representatives have had the opportunity to listen to many diverse people. Different views, issues, and perspectives have been shared with them. A myriad of actors has shared with them their knowledge and experience. We hope it was useful.


As set on the objectives two main lines for this visit were differentiated, one related to “conflict transformation” and another one related to “institutional politics” allotting roughly 50-50% of the time for those lines. There was also a one day for Cultural visit (Gernika village) and one day visit of institutions (Basque Autonomous Parliament, Mondragon and Olaso Dorrea), as part of the “institutional politics” line.

Regarding Conflict transformation there were the following sessions:

1. Previous peace process: Negotiating with the state
2. Strategical Thinking
3. Disarmament
4. Transition+internal cohesion
5. Party Building

Regarding the Institutional and local politics line:

1. The Basque Autonomous Model
2. Governance within the Autonomy model
3. Negotiations with the state
4. Electoral platforms and local government
5. Election campaigns
6. Cooperatives




Urko Aiartza, Director TM eLab
Igor Zulaika, Deputy Director of International Department EH Bildu Gorka Elejabarrieta, Senator, Director International Department EH Bildu.

Introductions. Setting up the objectives of the visit and expectations. Short background introduction to the Basque Country.



Urko Aiartza, Director TM eLab

Understanding the historic phase of struggle and how to face it. A negotiation process as a tool to move ahead on the new phase and not as a mean on itself.



Igor Zulaika, Deputy Director for International Relations EH Bildu

A historical overview of the different negotiations process with the state, the frameworks, results, lessons learned in each of them. Overview of the current Unilateral Process, explanation of each of the phases, resume of the strategy, difficulties…



Anaiz Funosas, President Bakebidea

Insight into ETA’s disarmament process, active involvement of civil society.



Iñigo Urrutia, University lecturer on Administrative Law, expert designated by EH Bildu for the reform of the Autonomy
Statute 17

Technical explanation of the Basque Autonomous model, levels of Governance, taxing, finance… Inputs on the ongoing reform-process of that model.



Arkaitz Rodriguez, Secretary General Sortu

Party building after the confrontation period, difficulties and risks, how to keep membership engaged and expand the party structures, establishing a new activist culture.



Rufi Etxebarria, Head of the Conflict Resolution department, Sortu

How to maintain internal cohesion during and after the process of transition



Mikel Burzako, secretary for international relations, PNV

Government experience, which are the limitations and how to deal with them, how to exploit devolved powers… How to maintain the negotiation and relation with the State from the Autonomous institutions



Txekun Lopez de Aberasturi, expert and leader of the campaigning department of Herri Batasuna

Experience on election campaigns, provided by a communication expert



Julen Mendoza and Senator Idurre Bideguren, former Mayors of Orereta and Bermeo

The process to conform electoral platforms and local government experience



Urko Aiartza, Igor Zulaika and Gorka Elejabarrieta

Assessment. Identifying ideas for possible follow ups and other issues


During the stay the Bangsamoro delegation had the opportunity to visit a variety of institutions and villages.



Mondragon cooperative corporation is one of the largest companies in Basque Country. The delegation had the opportunity to visit the headquarters and meet with representatives
of the corporation. Ander Etxeberria, responsible for Cooperative dissemination, gave an overview about the philosophy and working model behind Mondragon and a representative of LKS explained the work they are doing in Colombia as part of the process of reintegration of former guerrilla combatants.


Basque Parliament

The delegation had the opportunity to visit the Basque Autonomous Parliament in Gasteiz. There, they met with the President of the Parliament, Mrs. Tejeria, as well as the Parliament legal adviser. Bangsamoro representatives had the opportunity to exchange information with the authorities.


Bergara and Gernika

As part of the tour the delegation visited Bergara and the premises of Telesforo Monzon eLab, the Olaso Dorrea Foundation. The visit included a welcoming by Bergara Mayor and councilors. The delegation had also the chance to visit the village of Gernika, to better understand the history of the Basque conflict.



  • –  Even realities are very different there are spaces of collaboration where Basque experience can be useful. Representatives of Basque parties and institutions were happy to share and collaborate in the future.
  • –  Visit was encouraging for Bangsamoro representation and some areas for possible future collaboration were seen as possible, including party building, institutional management and cooperatives.
  • –  Next steps for Bangsamoro delegates should be to define which are the areas they would be interested on further development so that ways of future specific collaboration can be established.