UNDER the newly-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), an official clarified that once it will be ratified, the defense force of the new Bangsamoro region will still be under the national government.
Lawyer Jose Lorena Jr., Bangsamoro Transition Commission commissioner, during his session on Understanding the Bangsamoro Basic Law at a media forum yesterday at Linmarr Apartelle, said that there would be no separate policing for the new Bangsamoro. The police will still be under the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the soldiers will be from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The defense of the region is still the responsibility of the national government. It is not true that they are setting up a different AFP or Armed Forces for the Bangsamoro. The armed forces of the Bangsamoro will be part and parcel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the commander-in-chief under the chief of staff, under the Department of National Defense,” Lorena said.
The Bangsamoro Police force shall be a regional unit of the Philippine National Police. All regions have the same such regional commands including the Armm today, Lorena said.
Thus, all security officials’ police officers, from regional director down to the municipal police shall come from the PNP, the latter with the authority of deploying its personnel.
For the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he said that there is no automatic or wide-scale integration of the MILF combatants to the PNP or the AFP but if they wish to apply provided that they have the necessary requirements, they are allowed to be part of the AFP. The hiring will still be conducted at the national level.
“It is for the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the BOL to determine whether there is a need to set up an armed command or not depending on the Armed Forces,” he said.
Lorena added, “Even in the comprehensive agreement of the Bangsamoro then the MILF rejected the idea of integration but there is allowance there. Those who are qualified like all other cities of this country, from the MILF who wants to join the police force, provided that they will meet the qualifications and standards provided by Napolcom then they can join.”
After the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the MILF may be converted into a social movement and it will no longer be a rebel movement.
There would also be decommissioning with respect to the arms and the camps and perhaps the structure of the MILF will become different. He even said that the MILF is strongly organizing the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) for they may participate in national election or regional election so there’s a need for a political party. (JCR)