Peace measures with MILF require 6 more years, says OPAPP official | Inquirer News
Close  

Peace measures with MILF require 6 more years, says OPAPP official

/ 09:14 AM July 06, 2021
Peace measures with MILF require 6 more years, says OPAPP official

MORO LEADERS Former Cotabato City Mayor Muslim in Sema (right) looks on as MILF chair Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim (in barong Tagalog) greets MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari during the anniversary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process a few years ago. —PHOTO COURTESY OF DARWIN WEE/OPAPP

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Achieving the milestones under a 2014 peace deal between the government and the once separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will require another six years, the length of one presidential term.

Because of this, there is a need to adjust the timeframe for the signing of an exit agreement between the government and the MILF to 2028 instead of the original schedule of 2022, Undersecretary David Diciano of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) told journalists in a recent briefing.

ADVERTISEMENT

As agreed, the exit agreement will be executed by the parties upon the achievement of all commitments set in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which was signed on March 27, 2014.

The commitments of each side under the CAB are categorized into the political and normalization tracks. The political track mainly involves the establishment of the Bangsamoro autonomous region, which was done in 2019, and its operationalization.

FEATURED STORIES

Normalization involves, among others, the decommissioning of some 40,000 MILF fighters and 7,000 weapons, fostering socio-economic development among combatants and their communities, amnesty for political offenses committed by MILF members, and the transformation of MILF camps into peaceful and progressive enclaves.

Most of the commitments that require extended time relate to normalization, especially decommissioning and the efforts to transition former combatants into productive civilian lives, said Diciano, who chairs the government panel overseeing implementation of the CAB.

Instead of keeping in step with the political track, per agreement, Diciano admits that the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic has heavily weighed down the achievement of normalization targets.

Diciano said the same challenge also faced the MILF’s implementation of its part of the peace bargain.

He cited that the third phase of decommissioning, which would cover 14,000 fighters, was delayed because finalizing the list of MILF combatants needed face-to-face interactions for validation and verification which were hampered by movement restrictions.

Diciano is confident the process can finally kick off this August.

The work on transforming six former MILF camps would need six years, based on a plan prepared for each, and would need a massive amount of funding which can be raised through the recently established Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund to be overseen by the World Bank.

ADVERTISEMENT

Based on a needs assessment, the government has pegged the cost of decommissioning at P1 million per MILF combatant of which P100,000 is given outright as cash aid. The rest involves the cost of providing housing, health, education and livelihood support.

“We wanted to provide them a good package that can suffice for their needs of rebuilding their lives as they go back to mainstream society,” Diciano explained.

Of the projected P40 billion needed for decommissioning, the government has so far spent close to P5 billion, covering 12,145 former combatants with 2,100 weapons put beyond use.

Even with the extended time required to pursue normalization activities, OPAPP assistant secretary Wilben Mayor is confident both parties will persist in upholding their partnership.

The relationship between government and the MILF, Mayor said, is strong that even if the proposed extension of the transition period by another three years fails to get the nod of Congress, the erstwhile rebel group would continue to tread the path of peace and shun a return to violence.

He also expressed confidence that the country’s next president would continue to implement the CAB.

“No leader would want to see violence and conflict. Every leader desires peace,” Mayor said.

RELATED STORY:

OPAPP seeks peace groups’ proposal on granting amnesty to former rebels

JPV

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), Government, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp), Peace deal, Regions
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.