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No need to include disarmament in Bangsamoro law, says exec

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 06:11 PM September 12, 2014

HISTORIC MOMENT President Aquino turns over the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Wednesday, moving 17 years of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to the legislative process. With them in photo are Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. GRIG MONTEGRANDE

MANILA—The disarmament of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front need not be included in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted by Malacañang to Congress on Wednesday, a government official said Friday.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement that the “decommissioning of (MILF) forces and weapons is a program that will be implemented jointly with the MILF, simultaneous with legislating the new law on the Bangsamoro.”

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“It doesn’t have to be put in [the BBL],” Ferrer said in the statement, released by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs.

Ferrer also said that “full decommissioning of the weapons and combatants of the MILF will happen after the creation of the Bangsamoro and the creation of the police force in the region.”

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“The process would be gradual and phased, and commensurate with the developments in the legislative process of passing the BBL,” Ferrer said.

As a party to the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the MILF is obliged to ensure that the decommissioning of their weapons and fighters would be implemented, Ferrer said.

“The MILF signed this document and so they are obligated to see this through with the help of the government and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) that we will set up very soon,” Ferrer said.

The Inquirer learned from sources that the two peace panels would head to Kuala Lumpur next week for further discussions on the normalization aspect of the peace agreement.

The normalization annex of the CAB, the blueprint for the proposed Bangsamoro Law, recognizes that the decades-long war in the Southern Philippines had disrupted thousands of lives and set back their economic development individually and collectively as a region.

As the name of the annex suggests, it aims to normalize these disrupted lives by first decommissioning the weapons.

“The CAB and the BBL aim to establish genuine autonomy in the South that respects the diversity of the people in the area, the basic rights of all, and ensure collective security and prosperity,” Ferrer said.

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The IDB will be composed of three foreign experts and four Filipinos.

The OPAPP said the decommissioning body would “validate the inventory of weapons and combatants that the MILF will submit and institute the needed procedures for turning in the weapons.”

Norway, Turkey and Brunei have been invited by the government and MILF panels to nominate the foreign experts who would sit on the IDB.

“High-powered and crew-served weapons will be turned in to the IDB. However, members of the MILF may legalize the small arms in their possession through a registration process that conforms with the national firearm law. There is no need for a special law for the decommissioning,” Ferrer said.

The government and the MILF also created committees, each with specific roles, to implement the normalization annex.

These are the: Joint Normalization Committee that will coordinate the different normalization processes and mechanisms; Joint Peace and Security Committee that will create and administer the joint peace and security teams that will be fielded in different communities to help keep the peace in the area; Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission that will undertake a study and recommend to the panels the appropriate mechanisms for transitional justice and reconciliation.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, disarmament, Mindanao peace, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, News
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