November 18, 2019
Peace Process

Decommissioning: Silencing the Guns of MILF Combatants

Decommissioning process to silence the guns of and return of MILF combatants to civilian life starts

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao — After almost five decades of fighting, a new band of brothers was formed through the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST).

Members of the the JPST are now considered as the security team with the official start on September 7 of the decommissioning process held in this town.

The JPST is a combined forces of Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF-BIAF).

Out of 156 newly graduates and former MILF combatants who undergone basic military training, they will be part of 5 teams of 75 members each.

JPST has its first security detail at the old capitol compound in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, for the first batch of the decommissioning process of 1,060 former MILF combatants.

MILF saluteSALUTE. President Rodrigo R. Duterte returns the snappy salute of a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade (BIWAB) of the MILF-BIAF on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Out of 1,060 decommissioned MILF combatants, there are 106 who are BIWAB members. As promised, the government handed Php100,000 cash to each decommissioned MILF combatant intended for scholarship and socio-economic benefits for their family and community. The ceremony was held at the Gymnasium of the old Provincial Capitol compound, Barangay (Village) Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. (Photo: Mark Navales)

The JPST and the decommissioning process are part of the normalization mechanism agreed by the MILF and the government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel authored by former military officer and now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Minister Dickson P. Hermoso of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), and MILF spokesperson Von Al Haq. They co-chair of the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) of the GPH-MILF, respectively.

Hermoso said: “The Joint Peace and Security Committee (JSPC) coordinates under a two-parties command structures on security arrangements relevant to its functions. We also develop policies and operational guidelines for the effective conduct of the decommissioning process.” BARMM-MOTC Deputy Minister Al-Haq concurred.

MILF Chairman Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, who is the interim chief minister of the BARMM led his former combatants in the ceremonial turnover of the armaments with a special token to President Rodrigo R. Duterte as a symbol of the President’s strong political will to implement the peace agreement signed in 2014.

 MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. (right) showcased to President Rodrigro Duterte (center) on Saturday September 7, 2019, the 920 high-powered firearms including 60mm and 81mm mortars; 7 crew-mounted M2 Browning caliber 50 machineguns; and 500 RPG rocket launchers which were voluntarily turned over 1,060 former MILF combatants to the International Decommissioning Body (IDB). As promised the government handed 100,000 cash to each decommissioned former MILF combatant intended for the scholarships and other socio-economic benefits for their family and community held at Gymnasium old Provincial Capitol compound, Bgy Simuay Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.>Mark Navales

“I would like to emphasize that we have not given up what we used to fight for. It is simply to demonstrate our full commitment to fulfilling our obligations and responsibility in the peace agreement we signed with the government,” Ebrahim said.

As part of the peace process which the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) concretized, 1,060 former MILF combatants voluntarily turned over 920 high-powered firearms, including 60mm and 81mm mortars; 7 crew-mounted M2 Browning Caliber 50 machineguns; and 500 RPG rocket launchers to the International Decommissioning Body (IDB).

MILF
​GUNS OF SILENCE. MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim (in Polo Barong) and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. (right) showcase to President Rodrigo Duterte (center) on Saturday, September 7, 2019, the 920 high-powered firearms, including 60mm and 81mm mortars; 7 crew-mounted M2 Browning Caliber 50 machine guns; and 500 (rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launchers turned over by 1,060 former MILF combatants to the International Decommissioning Body (IDB). (Photo: Mark Navales)

“Decommissioning is the first step in achieving our goal to return our combatants to civilian but productive life,” Ebrahim emphasized.

Duterte underscored the significance of the decommissioning process to the national government’s overall peace-building efforts in Mindanao.

“Do not be sad that you turned your arms over to the government because you are now the government. The government is yours, we have given it to you,” he said, as he addressed the former MILF combatants in the Filipino language.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. emphasized the crucial role of Duterte in building on and sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao, particularly for shepherding the Bangsamoro peace process.

“The relative peace we are experiencing now in Mindanao is the product of the President’s strong political will,” Galvez said.

Out of 1,060 decommissioned MILF combatants, there are 106 who were members the Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade (BIWAB) of the MILF-BIAF.

As promised, the government handed Php100,000 cash to each decommissioned former MILF combatant intended for scholarship and socio-economic benefits for their family and community. (Andy Orobia)

Don't be shy, comments are welcome! Thank you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.