LIEUTENANT General Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) will soon be denied safe havens.
Sobejana made the announcement as 219 former Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) members are now ready to be deployed and become part of the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) of the Bangsamoro region.
He said they graduated Tuesday, August 27, in a month-long basic military training at Camp Lucero that houses the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Nasapian village, Carmen, North Cotabato.
Sobejana said the training was held for the former MILF combatants to become competent peacekeeping forces prior to their deployment to the six identified MILF camps on September 7 as part of the peace accord between the government and the MILF.
“The deployment (of the JPST) will significantly reduce the maneuver space of the BIFF,” Sobejana said.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) said the graduates will now form the 6,000-strong JPST contingent that will be composed of 3,000 MILF members, 1,600 Philippine National Police (PNP), and 1,400 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) members.
Sobejana, during the graduation Tuesday, reminded the former MILF combatants not to be deceived by others “who chose to still take the wrong path.”
“You are trained to become more resilient and capable of performing your duties and responsibilities as part of the security forces,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to be part of the foundation of a just and lasting peace along with sustainable progress in the Bangsamoro region,” he added.
Major General Diodado Carreon told the graduates, “I put emphasis on the values as to how this could help you relearn the basics and assess yourselves both in terms of knowledge, concepts, and application of combat skills.”
“Joint Task Force Central and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a whole, are glad to that we will be working with you in pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development in Central Mindanao,” Carreon added. (SunStar Philippines)