• Aquino to lead MILF decommissioning

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd is scheduled to lead Tuesday’s ceremonial turnover to the government of 75 high-powered weapons by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat.

    The MILF will turn over 55 high-powered and 20 crew-served weapons as well as decommission 145 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the rebel group’s military arm.

    Malacañang in a statement on Monday expressed optimism that the symbolic turnover of weapons is a positive step toward achieving genuine peace in Mindanao.

    Its spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the decommissioning process seeks to forge “mutual trust” between the MILF and the Philippine government.

    “Marking the start of a series of decommissioning phases, this event highlights the sincerity of both sides to go forward with the peace-building process and work together toward lasting stability,” Lacierda added.

    Describing the event as “unprecedented,” he said the decommissioning process of MILF troops is “a significant step forward in the peace process.”

    “We remain optimistic that the future will bring more positive developments, cognizant that, together with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao, we can achieve peace and inclusive prosperity through unity,” Lacierda added.

    MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the decommissioning process was “one of the most difficult decisions” for them to make in the ongoing peace process.

    He, however, recognized that it is a step “for the sake of peace, for the sake of having real peace in Mindanao and for the sake of the need for normalization [of]the lives of the people, including the combatants.”

    Malacañang lauded the MILF as “the only armed organization in conflict with the Philippine government which voluntarily agreed to turn over its weapons as part of a peace agreement.”

    The decommissioning process is in accordance with the Annex on Normalization stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which was signed by the two parties last year.

    Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said prior to the actual decommissioning process, an initial registration of the combatants and weapons will be done at Camp Darapanan.

    “The combatants will be filling out forms with the supervision of the IDB [Independent Decommissioning Body] local expert from the MILF,” Ferrer said in a statement.

    She added that the weapons will be transported to the venue on Tuesday, where an “actual registration process and verification” will take place.

    The weapons will then be taken to “a mutually-agreed upon Weapons Storage area” inside Camp Iranun (Abubakar) in Sitio Bombaran, Barangay Tugaig in Barira town, Ferrer said.

    The area will be secured by 30 members of the Joint Peace and Security Teams, as supervised by the IDB’s Joint Verification and Monitoring Team, she added.

    Philippine National Police spokesman and Chief Supt. Wilfredo Franco told reporters that the PNP will be part of the IDB. “Three police commissioned officers have been designated to assist the four-member IDB that shall oversee the process of decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons,” Franco said Decommissioned MILF fighters would undergo registration and validation and will subsequently receive PhilHealth insurance cards and P25,000 financial assistance. They will also be assisted to pursue sustainable livelihoods.

    Congress failed to pass the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on June 11, its self-imposed deadline as some lawmakers questioned the constitutionality of the measure. Deliberations on the proposed measure will resume next month.

    The BBL seeks to establish a new political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and will adopt a parliamentary form of government.

    Senate President Franklin Drilon said the turnover of weapons can improve chances of the draft BBL being passed by the legislature, after the measure faced skepticism because the January 25 Mamasapano clash which left over 60 people dead, including 44 police commandos.

    WITH ANTHONY VARGAS

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    6 Comments

    1. eltee mulawin on

      >>> Filipino People of the Philippines…..should not be a HALLUCINATOR LIKE THE ABNOY President.
      >>> 55 high power weapons + 20 guns turned over by MILF !!! How many members MILF had? And that weapons turned over was really a high power which they bought from other countries like Malaysia ? Or some of it are properties of PNP-SAF/AFP ?
      >>> Php 25,000 each ? Wow ! much generosity Abnoy !! How about the Yolanda typhoon victims in Tacloban and Samar ?
      >>> Turned over weapons will be kept in a place at Camp Iranun (Abubakr). Malakanyang and Ms Ferrer & Deles should tell the public that this camp is for AFP CAmp or MILF Camp. If this is MILF Camp, then what a Hell this ceremony !!!!

    2. With lacierda wallowing in his puke praising this sarsuela like it is such an event that can rival the parting of the red sea and with iqbal throwing in his soulful lamentation that this is the hardest concession coming from the rebels and finally with no less than the leader of this dumb and dumber gang to grace the event himself I cannot contain my disgust at the thought that they are taking everybody for fools. Let me make a fearless forecast that after this sarsuela has transpired either the firearms are found to be useless derelicts or if these are useable still it will go back to the rebels after the rig-ma-role has faded and is forgotten. Meanwhile the actors of the show will be pocketing 25k each “ang swerte naman sila ano!” I hate being so suspicious and perhaps sounding anti peace but let’s face it how can I trust these people after everything from the SAF 44 to the cuddling of purisima and iqbal arrogantly refusing to tell his real name and lacierda telling lie after lie like the June 11 being a “self imposed” deadline of congress for the BBL when it was the moron’s deadline all along up to his last attempt to force the senators to conference with him which backfired when bong bong suggested that the meeting be televised.

      • “and iqbal arrogantly refusing to tell his real name”

        It made me wonder why those who have the means of finding out Iqbal’s real name stay aside and just wait for him to decide to reveal who he really is. Is it hands off to those terrorist leaders for the country’s intelligence bureau?

    3. Sure Aquino will be at the party honoring the MILF turning in sone useless weapons. He always does what he wants to the dismay of the people. We all remember he went to a car opening instead of receiving the bodies of our fallen 44 SAF policemen killed by the same MILF. Now in his sixth year, Aquino still has not learned how to be a president. He continues with his self-interest motives.

    4. apolonio reyes on

      Bakit binigyan ni Pnoy ng FREE PhilHealth at CASH REWARDS ang lahat ng MILF Figthers sa pag surrender ng kunting armas sa THIRD PARTY ( Malaysia ) at hindi sa ating GOBIERNO habang ang atin mga RETIRED na mga sundalo at pulis NA LUMABAN IPAGTANGOL AN BAYAN SA MGA MILF ay hindi nabibigyan ng tamang pension?
      Bakit hindi na lang ipadala ni Pnoy sila SDND GAZMIN at SDILG ROXAS II sa DECOMMISIONING NG KUNTING ARMAS NG MILF sa THIRD PARTY ( Malaysia ) at hindi sa Pnoy Administratio habang hindi sya SUMIPOT sa HONOR ARRIVAL NG 44 SAF FALLEN HEROES NA ANG SANHI NG KANILANANG KAMATYAN AY BULAG NA PAGSUNOD SA MALING UTOS NG COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF PNOY AT BFF SUSPENDED CPNP ALAN PUISIMA? HINDI BA ITO MALAKING INSULTO SA FILIPINO AT PAMILYA NG 44 SAF HEROES?

    5. Presi-Noynoy better have security big-time, baka biglang isang tongo ay mag-taga-taga, ingat lang.