Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has revealed the decommissioning by government of 12,000 or close to a third of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) fighters as part of efforts to expedite normalization efforts in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)

Nograles made the revelation when he recently co-chaired the first meeting of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization (ICCMN), together with Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr.

“The President has directed all of us to focus on and step up normalization programs because he knows the success of these efforts are the key to establishing lasting peace in Mindanao,” the Palace official said.

“The President knows the success of these efforts are the key to establishing lasting peace in Mindanao.”

“The government’s priority after establishing the peace is to ensure a smooth transition for all those who have committed to helping the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the region,” he added.

Nograles said the 12,000 combatants and their families would receive assistance in the form of housing, livelihood assistance, skills development training, scholarships, employment opportunities, PhilHealth coverage, conditional cash transfers, and documentation such as birth certificates and postal IDs.

At present, he said the government is now in the second phase of the decommissioning of MILF forces, with the third phase to be completed by next year and the remaining MILF forces to be decommissioned before the signing of the Exit Agreement in 2022 to conclude the peace process.

 “The government is now in the second phase of the decommissioning of MILF forces.”

“We have targeted the decommissioning of 30 percent of combatants by 2019, 35 percent by next year, and the remainder by 2022. All the different government agencies involved in these efforts believe we can meet these timelines,” Nograles said.

On April this year, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 79 implementing the Annex on Normalization under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Under the EO, Duterte recognized the need “to fully implement the various components of the normalization process and capitalize on existing mechanisms and framework under the Annex on Normalization.”

The EO also creates an Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization (ICCMN) “to ensure timely, appropriate and efficient delivery of the Normalization Program.” 

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