AFP to train 255 ex-MILF fighters to help secure Bangsamoro region

Bobby Lagsa
AFP to train 255 ex-MILF fighters to help secure Bangsamoro region
Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces will work alongside soldiers and cops in the Joint Peace and Security Team, says Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines will train around 255 former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to join government forces securing the Bangsamoro region.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said in a statement that the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed component of the MILF, will be trained to be part of the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST), in line with the normalization and decommissioning process under the 2014 peace deal between the government and the MILF.

OPAPP said that the JPST team shall establish security of the residents within the 6 government-acknowledged MILF camps during the decommissioning process which will begin on September 7.

President Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr said President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the launch of the decommissioning process.

He said that the training would be the gateway for the former MILF combatants to join the AFP and the PNP in maintaining peace and order in the Bangsamoro region.

“The JPSTs shall composed of members of the AFP, Philippine National Police and MILF-BIAF. These teams will serve until the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao interim government (BTA) ends its term in 2022,” Galvez said.

He cited the crucial role of JPSTs as the main security for the decommissioning in the different assembly and processing areas (APAS). They will also assist in settling disputes, and help in the fight against illegal drugs and terrorism.

“These JPSTs will be tasked to maintain peace and order in areas that have been mutually identified by the GPH and the MILF,” Galvez said.

“More importantly, these teams will also support the work being carried out by the existing ceasefire mechanisms, particularly in addressing pressing issues on security and maintaining order,” he added.

The decommissioning of the former MILF fighters members is in line with the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the government and the MILF in 2014.

The Normalization Track has 4 main components: security, socio-economic development, confidence-building measures, and transitional justice and reconciliation.

Based on the Normalization Track, 30% or 12,000 MILF combatants and their weapons will be decommissioned this year. At least 35% will undergo the same process next year, while the remaining fighters would be decommissioned by 2022 in time for the signing of the Exit Agreement under the CAB. – Rappler.com

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