900 MILF combatants up for decommissioning

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CARMEN, NORTH COTABATO (August 2) — Nine hundred twenty combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and 210 of their weapons will be decommissioned on September 7, 2019 in a ceremony that will be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte in the Old Maguindanao Provincial Capitol in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

This was announced by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPPRU) during the opening ceremony of the basic military training for the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) held Thursday, August 1, at Camp Lucero, Carmen, North Cotabato.

Galvez addressed the 225 former combatants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who will be undergoing a month-long basic military training beginning Thursday, August 1.

The training course includes basic military and peace-building that would prepare the participants for peacekeeping roles in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

“Of all aspects of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on The Bangsamoro (CAB), decommissioning is the hardest act to be done by our combatants,” said Minister Abdulraof Macacua, more popularly known as Sammy Al-Mansur, of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“We will be turning over our guns to the IDB (Independent Decommissioning Body) even if the security situation in our communities is not yet stable,” said Macacua, who is also the Chief of Staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces. Macacua, who represented BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, assured that the MILF will abide by the CAB that it signed with the government.

The MILF is expected to decommission 40,000 combatants and 12,000 firearms but it will be done in three phases.

Galvez also announced that he will recommend for enlistment in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) the top ten graduates of the month-long training.

“Each of the trainees will receive P4,700 as subsistence allowance and each of their families will receive one sack of rice during the duration of the training,” Galvez said.

Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, of the OPAPPRU, said 200 JPSTs will be activated. Each team will be composed of 15 BIAF members, eight policemen and seven Army soldiers. These teams will serve until the exit agreement shall have been signed by the MILF and the government. – Taher G. Solaiman/NewsLine.ph

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