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Marcos hails decommissioning of former MILF fighters

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Marcos hails decommissioning of former MILF fighters
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accommodates the Philippine press during his last day of working visit in New York.
Facebook / Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday hailed the decommissioning of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters in Maguindanao, viewing it as a step closer to achieving peace in Mindanao.

At least 5,500 combatants of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces and 2,100 high caliber weapons were decommissioned at the old Maguindanao Provincial Capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last Tuesday.

The event marked the resumption of the third phase of the decommissioning process, which will cover some 14,000 former fighters. About 7,200 combatants underwent the initial decommissioning phase on Nov. 8, 2021.

"The resumption of the decommissioning of former Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces fighters and their weapons in Maguindanao yesterday reaffirms our commitment to the peace process and the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) region," Marcos said in a tweet.

"This milestone event brings us closer to securing a lasting peace in Mindanao," he added.

The decommissioning ceremony, which was led by officials and representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Independent Decommissioning Body and the MILF, also featured a ceremonial awarding of assistance to decommissioned fighters.

Decommissioning is part of the normalization phase of the peace process, which seeks to turn former armed rebels into productive members of society and conflict-hit areas into progressive communities.

The normalization phase is anchored on the comprehensive peace agreement signed by the government and MILF in 2014. The decommissioned MILF combatants, their families and communities will receive a comprehensive socio-economic package which includes sustainable livelihood programs and capacity-building training.

BONGBONG MARCOS

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