294 ex-MILF, MNLF members join PNP
SunStar Local News GPX

294 ex-MILF, MNLF members join PNP

INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. officially welcomed to the country’s police force 294 recruits under the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) recruitment program.

Abalos led Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, the historic oath-taking and turnover ceremonies of the new 255 men and 39 women joining the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) at Camp Pendatun, Parang, Maguindanao del Norte, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said in a statement.

Abalos urged the new members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to live by the PNP’s mantra to serve and protect the Filipino people, saying: “The uniform you are wearing now does not symbolize authority. It’s not all about prestige. Ang mas mahalaga (What’s more important is that) it represents a commitment to uphold the rule of law as well as a promise to serve the community with honor and integrity.”

The 294 new recruits will fill some of the 400 slots provided under the MILF and MNLF Recruitment Program for Calendar Year 2023.

The recruits will still undergo six months of field training, the DILG said.

Abalos challenged the new recruits to finish the training program so they can inspire their former comrades to join the government as well as the entire Filipino citizenry in attaining peace and sustainable development, saying they had already come this far.

The recruits already passed the PNP’s rigid recruitment process, that included hurdling the special qualifying eligibility examination and physical agility test, as well as the comprehensive medical assessment covering psychological and psychiatric examinations, and drug tests.

Membership

The entry of former MNLF and MILF members into the PNP is covered by Republic Act 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which was enacted in 2018 after the government signed a peace agreement with the MILF.

The first batch of 102 MILF and MNLF recruits took their oath as PNP members last Aug. 10, the DILG said.

To facilitate the entry of MILF and MNLF members from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to the PNP, Article 11, Section 2 of RA 11054 allows the National Police Commission to waive the age, height and educational attainment requirements, provided these are availed of within the first five years from ratification of the organic law, and that the educational attainment would be complied with within 15 years from their entry.

The law was ratified in 2019 when majority of the people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voted to approve RA 11054 creating the new Bangsamoro region.

BARMM replaced the ARMM, which had been wracked by corruption allegations.

During the transition period for the establishment of the BARMM after the organic law’s ratification, a Bangsamoro Transition Authority was created to be the interim government in the region.

RA 11054 provided for the MILF to lead the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, “without prejudice to the participation of the Moro National Liberation Front in its membership.”

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