Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Former First Minister of Scotland visits PH to reaffirm UK’s support to Peace Process in Bangsamoro [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 14 July 2023.

Lord Jack McConnell reaffirmed the UK’s strong commitment to bringing international expertise on devolution & democratic governance to support the BARMM peace process.

On 10-13 July, former First Minister of Scotland, Lord Jack McConnell, visited the Philippines for engagements with the national government, leaders in the Bangsamoro region and members of the international community.

On the national level, he met with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Senator Robinhood Padilla, Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., and Senior Undersecretary Isidro Purisima, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).

He also visited Davao City together with His Majesty’s Ambassador (HMA) to the Philippines, Laure Beaufils, where they met with the Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim, Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA), other BARMM Ministers, sectoral and community representatives of the Council of Leaders and civil society organisations.

He discussed international support for the peace process with members of the International Contact Group (ICG) and UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez.

Speaking after the visit, Lord McConnell said:

At this crucial period, it is important to stay true to the commitments made in the journey to achieve peace in the Bangsamoro region. The cornerstones of a sustainable peace will be upholding democracy, good governance, and inclusion. We trust that our friends and partners in the national government and the Bangsamoro will be steadfast in their commitment to achieve a stable, progressive, and peaceful transition. The UK reiterates its unwavering support in overcoming challenges and delivering the economic and social dividends of peace.

Lord McConnell has been visiting the Bangsamoro region and sharing his experience of leading a devolved parliament since 2014. He served as first Minister of Scotland between 2001 and 2007.

The visit was in collaboration with British Embassy Manila and its implementing partners, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). In April 2020, the British Embassy Manila launched Integrated Security Fund (CSSF) programme to support the peace process with a total value of £15m.

The programme primarily focuses on three interconnected programme strands on the governance track of the Bangsamoro Peace Process; namely, strengthening democratic stability and institutions for the new regional parliament, strengthening women’s political participation and increasing awareness of BARMM Parliamentary systems.