PBBM admin committed to keep peace and progress in Mindanao

August 6, 2023 People's Tonight 222 views

THE Marcos government remains dedicated in fulfilling its commitments in the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as the other aspects of the Normalization Program as both sides carried out the resumption of Phase 3 of the Decommissioning Process this week, a Palace official said on Thursday.

“The completion of the third phase signifies the strong partnership of the government and the MILF to pursue a singular mission of transforming the Bangsamoro…..reflective of the President’s vision to build a Bangsamoro that is self-governing, progressive, and effective,” Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo, Jr. said during the decommissioning in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao del Norte.

“The national government also maintains its dedicated support and commitment to the other aspects of the Normalization Program such as socioeconomic development, security, transitional justice and reconciliation, and confidence-building measures including amnesty.”

The decommissioning process is but one of the various components of the Normalization Program. However, it is a vital step that signals the official transition of former combatants into mainstream society as productive and peaceful citizens, he added.

Lagdameo enumerated material steps taken under the Marcos administration to push the Normalization Program.

On the aspect of Social Protection, 5,499 decommissioned combatants (DC) have been provided with cash assistance; and, around 35,000 birth certificate applications have already been processed.

For Capacity Development, 3,000 decommissioned combatants completed their skills training with TESDA, while 3,658 and their next-of-kin also finished their basic education through the Alternative Learning System.

According to Lagdameo, the ongoing construction of three community irrigation systems in Maguindanao, and near completion of six Rural Health Units with Birthing Facilities are scheduled for turnover this year.

Transitional Justice and Reconciliation (TJR) measures and initiatives were also undertaken, he said, adding that there is also an ongoing establishment of Local Amnesty Boards nationwide in anticipation of the extension of the period for the filing of amnesty applications.

“As mentioned in the last ICCMN (Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization) Meeting, the socio-economic aspect of the Normalization Program, aimed at providing combatants with a sustainable means of reintegration, will remain a top priority,” Lagdameo said, noting that the next ICCMN will reconvene on August 10 to follow through on the commitments of partner agencies.

“Indeed, the task of implementing our deliverables is not an easy feat, but through our continued and unified efforts, we will be able to translate them into actual peace dividends that improve the quality of life of the Bangsamoro People.”

Lagdameo also expressed gratitude to the government’s international partners through the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) and other shepherds of peace, whose contributions have been instrumental in the meaningful transformation of MILF combatants and building sustainable peace in the Bangsamoro.

The national government, he said, hopes that its partners from the MILF stay the course of peace, in the spirit of ownership of the peace agreement, as he assured the Muslim leadership that the administration will work doubly hard to complete the task for Phase 4 and the rest of the Normalization Program.

“I urge, especially our partners in local government and other stakeholders, that we continue working together towards lasting unity, and build on the confidence and goodwill between us,” he said.

From 2015 to 2022, a total of 28,844 MILF combatants and 4,625 firearms have been decommissioned, 5,499 of which were decommissioned in September to October 2022 under the Marcos Administration.