MANILA

Military, Opapp sign deal decommissioning MILF fighters

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) signed on Friday, August 23, an agreement to formalize their partnership for the decommissioning of over 40,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants including their weapons.

“The MOA that we signed today is not only about the transfer of funds from Opapp to the Armed Forces but more importantly, it signifies our commitment to continue with the process of healing and the process of normalization in the Bangsamoro," AFP Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal said.

“One thing that we should further develop is the willingness to work together. This can only happen with the start of the healing process, and confidence building between Armed Forces and the MILF,” he added.

Based on the agreement, the AFP will conduct basic military training to 3,000 MILF-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) fighters for preparation for them becoming members of the composite Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST), which will be responsible in providing security in the areas in the said region which will undergo the normalization process.

The JPST consists of 6,000 security personnel including 1,600 from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and 1,400 from the AFP.

Madrigal said the military training which will be given to MILF combatants aim to align their views along with the government towards security as well as peace and order in the Bangsamoro communities.

For his part, former AFP chief of staff now Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. commended the AFP for its continuing efforts in order to attain a sustainable peace in the said region.

"Over the years, the exceptional sense of professionalism, dedication and commitment of the AFP has been instrumental in sustaining the gains and pushing forward the Bangsamoro peace process,” he said.

“The AFP has helped create a conducive environment where sustainable peace and genuine development can flourish in communities,” Galvez added.

At least 12,000 former MILF combatants will undergo decommissioning under the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The formal launch of the decommissioning process will be held on September 7 in Sultan Kudarat and will be led by President Rodrigo Duterte. (SunStar Philippines)


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