Gov’t, MILF form decommission team | Inquirer News
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Gov’t, MILF form decommission team

/ 11:10 PM June 07, 2015
ARMED Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. (left) talks with Maj. Gen. Dato Abdul Samad Bin HJ Yaakub, head of International Monitoring Team, as he inspects the weapons returned by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao province. JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

ARMED Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. (left) talks with Maj. Gen. Dato Abdul Samad Bin HJ Yaakub, head of International Monitoring Team, as he inspects the weapons returned by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao province. JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

COTABATO CITY—Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces on Thursday formed and trained a group that will facilitate the implementation of decommissioning of the rebel group.

Toks Ibrahim, head of the MILF’s joint normalization committee secretariat, told the Inquirer on Sunday that the formation of the first Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) was another concrete proof of the gains of the peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.

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Ibrahim said the week-long training involving members from their unit, the police and the military, ended on Thursday inside Camp Abubakar, the former main lair of the MILF in Maguindanao province that was captured by the military in 2000.

“The training process was supported by the hierarchy of the military and police,” Ibrahim said.

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The JPST is also tasked to track down and document private armies and other armed groups; help reduce and control weapons; support the observance of the ceasefire agreement; work on security arrangements for peace process-connected personalities and events; and support dispute resolution initiatives on the ground as mandated in the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division who witnessed the event, said he “could no longer see the difference” between the government forces and the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

Pangilinan stressed that peace, which has long been prayed for by all sectors in Mindanao, could be attained only through unity.

“Now we are one. We have a lot of experiences, the BIAF, the AFP, the PNP, including the civilians who suffered so much. We shed tears, perspired and bled. I believe that because of these experiences we should stop these fights,” Pangilinan said.

Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chair of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, said the training was successful despite the differences between the participants.

“The former enemies are now working together to achieve their common aim which is peace in Mindanao,” he said. Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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