Task force disbands 14 private armed groups in Mindanao – Año | Inquirer News
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Task force disbands 14 private armed groups in Mindanao – Año

/ 09:57 PM December 12, 2021
Año private armed groups Mindanao

FILE PHOTO: Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines —  A total of 14 private armed groups (PAGs) operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and in Region 12 were disbanded by the National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (NTS-DPAGs).

In a statement released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, NTS-DPAG chairman and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said this exceeded its initial target of five private armed groups this year.

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“By synergizing as one government, we were able to exceed our normalization target for 2021…Trust that the Department of the Interior and Local Government is fully on board in this whole-of-nation battle to dismantle PAGs not just in the south, but also in the rest of the archipelago,” Año said NTF-DPAGs’ year-end assessment held recently.

Despite this, Presidential Peace Adviser and NTF-DPAGs special adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. underscored the need for the group to intensify its operations, especially with the 2022 national and local elections approaching.

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“What is crucial at this point is to sustain the gains we have achieved over the past year and disband the three remaining PAGs we have identified. We cannot allow these lawless groups to sow fear, mistrust and violence among our people,” Galvez said.

“The NTF-DPAGs must therefore be more vigilant and ensure that next year’s political exercise will be safe, peaceful, and orderly,” he added.

Año also highlighted the importance of the security sector and the Task Force in ensuring the safety of communities, as well as the observance of honest, credible national and local polls.

“Given the rising tensions among rival clans because of the upcoming polls, we must prevent political families from raising or remobilizing their own private armies,” said Año.

“By doing so, we protect Filipino communities from the trauma of witnessing or becoming victims of election-related violence or intimidation,” he added.

According to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the national government’s program on the DPAGs is being carried out through the security component of the Normalization Track under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.

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TAGS: 2022 national and local elections, BARMM, Carlito Galvez, Eduardo Año, Mindanao, Private Armed Groups, Soccsksargen
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