MILF’s Murad: Decommissioning is not surrender
COTABATO CITY –– “We have not given up on our struggle.”
This was the declaration of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Murad Ebrahim as more than a thousand of its fighters begin the transition to full civilian life today in a decommissioning process mandated by a peace deal with the government.
“We are not surrendering. Decommissioning is not tantamount to surrendering,” said Ebrahim, who is also Chief Minister of the interim Bangsamoro government.
Under the terms of a peace deal signed on March 2014, the MILF will hand in its firearms, disband its armed wing, and pursue its political goals through democratic means.
“I would like to emphasize that the decommissioning doesn’t mean we have given up on what we used to fight for,” Ebrahim emphasized.
About 1,060 former MILF combatants, 920 firearms, and 20 high-powered were set to be decommissioned Saturday afternoon, September 7, at the old provincial capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
President Duterte was expected to grace the historic event.
“The decommissioning is our first step in achieving our goal to return our combatants to a civilian and productive life.”
Each of the decommissioned combatants will receive from the government a socio-economic assistance package worth at least about P1 million.
Six government-acknowledged MILF camps and communities will also be transformed into peaceful, productive and resilient communities.
“Through these interventions, our former combatants will be able to return to mainstream society. We will be able to transform from a revolutionary group into a political organization,” Ebrahim said.
Ebrahim said they were sincere and fully committed to fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities in the peace agreement and were now working with the government to achieve their goal of peace and development for the Bangsamoro./lzb
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