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MILF to start decommissioning process June 16 June 12, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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MILF to start decommissioning process June 16

MANILA — The chief peace negotiators of the Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today announced that the MILF is scheduled to undergo the first phase of the decommissioning of its weapons and combatants.

“We are scheduled to begin the decommissioning process this June 16,” Government of the Philippines peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer confirmed in a joint press conference with MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal today at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

“Phase 1 of the process will begin with the ceremonial turnover of 55 high-powered and 20 crew-serve weapons, and the decommissioning of 145 members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces,” Ferrer said. Crew-serve weapons refer to weapon systems that require more than one individual for it to function at optimum efficiency, usually needing one person to load and another person to fire, such as medium and heavy machine guns.

“The President himself will be the guest of honor during the event and we are inviting our esteemed lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate to join us and witness the commitment of both Parties to put an end to the armed conflict,” the GPH chief negotiator said.

“This is just the start of the decommissioning process, which the MILF has committed to undertake as a show of its sincerity to peace building,” she added, emphasizing that this “shows the continued commitment of the Parties to bring peace” even as the Bangsamoro Basic Law is still being deliberated in both chambers of Congress.

Earlier, Iqbal described the decommissioning process as “very difficult” but noted that the MILF has committed to “undertake the ultimate sacrifice.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles has noted that the decommissioning process the MILF is set to undergo is unprecedented, as it was not done during the earlier peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“We’ve never had an armed organization that has been fighting with government as an organization voluntarily—in partnership with the government—turn over weapons,” Deles said, explaining that the peace accord with the MNLF only ushered in an integration of combatants with the armed forces and the police.

Gradual decommissioning is part of the Annex on Normalization signed by the MILF and the government last January 2014. Firearms will be turned over to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB), while decommissioned combatants will undergo a registration, verification, and validation process, after which they will be provided immediate cash assistance amounting to P25,000 and PhilHealth Cards.

Medium- to long-term socio economic interventions for the combatants will be handled by the Task Force on Decommissioned Combatants and Communities.

The normalization process has three main components—security, socioeconomic development, and transitional justice and reconciliation—which are aimed at fostering peace in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao, which will then allow individuals to fully pursue productive and sustainable livelihoods without fear of violence or crime. According to the Annex on Normalization, the decommissioning of MILF weapons and forces “shall be parallel and commensurate to the implementation of all the agreements of the Parties.”‎ ##

– See more at: http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/milf-start-decommissioning-process-june-16#sthash.Z0DXfKXt.dpuf

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