Minority Floor Leader Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia recently joined a six-day learning visit to East Timor that sought to initiate mutual learning and solidarity between the Bangsamoro and Timorese people. She represented the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), along with fellow Member of Parliament Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, as part of the delegation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The mission was put together by the Initiative for International Dialogue (IID), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) under the Democratic Leadership and Active Civil Society Empowerment (DELACSE Bangsamoro) project consortium supported by the European Mission. 

East Timor, being one of the youngest countries in the world, has a long history of colonization and occupation leading to its independence in 2002. It has, however, made great strides in pursuing peace and development in the past years, something that the Bangsamoro stakeholders can assimilate for its own transition process. The learning visit primarily delved into political party transformation, transitional justice and post-conflict development, civil society and finance institutions engagements, veterans empowerment, and parliamentary systems, mining insights from both the Bangsamoro and Timorese experience. 

The delegation interacted with the Timorese government and civil society, underscoring the partnerships they have forged over the years in rebuilding their country. They met with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, who shared the stories and visions of the Government in pursuit of better lives and services for their people. They were asked to sit in one of the sessions of the National Parliament where they met with some of its members, particularly the women’s caucus and Vice President Maria Angelina Lopes Sarmento. 

Hosted by local partners G7+, an intergovernmental organization engaged in post-conflict development advocacies, and the Chega! Office, a transitional justice center, the delegation was further introduced to East Timor’s history of struggles and peacebuilding. They were given an opportunity to meet Nobel Peace Prize awardee Jose Ramos-Horta, whose work and leadership contributed to the peaceful resolution of conflict in the country. They also paid a courtesy call to H.E. Ambassador Abdulmaid K. Muin who heads the Philippine Embassy in Timor Leste.

MP Atty. Alamia, who was chosen to lead the delegation, expressed her admiration for the Timorese people and its statebuilding efforts. “This is an epitome of democracy. It is not perfect but they hold a strong vision for good governance and for its people’s right to self-determination.” she stated. The delegation would carry with them key takeaways to contribute in sustaining peace and pursuing inclusive development in the Bangsamoro region. 

With MP Atty. Alamia and Engr Baintan were fellow delegates Dr. Stefan Jost of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Mr. Gus Miclat and Ms. Kyle Bacsal of the Initiative for International Dialogue (IID), Mr. Roberto Apadan, Jr. of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), Mr. Salahuddin Edres of the Dynamic Culture of Peace-Lanao (MIDCOP-Lanao), former Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) member Hon. Froilyn Mendoza, Deputy CEO Tommy Nawa of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), and Ms. Karin Widner of the German Development Cooperation. 

Photos taken from Initiative for International Dialogue (IID)