• Pres’l panel to disband Mindanao private armies

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    President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered the disbandment of private armies in Mindanao, including in areas that will be covered by the proposed Bangsamoro region.

    Through Memorandum Circular 83, Aquino created “the National Task Force (NTF) for the Disbandment of the Private Armed Groups (PAGs) in the Areas of the Proposed Bangsamoro and the Adjacent Regions IX to XII.”

    He said disbanding PAGs will “stabilize the security situation and effectively implement the other measures stipulated in the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro], particularly the gradual and phased decommissioning of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).”

    Aquino lamented that despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, PAGs continue to affect the peace and security situation in Mindanao.

    “The PAG menace remains because the major causes which primarily contribute to its proliferation such as very low level of human security, gun culture, ‘rido’ or clan war, political dynasties and the use of military and police auxiliaries, still exist in some affected communities,” he said.

    The disbandment of the PAGs, along with the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants, are part of the normalization process under the CAB, the peace accord signed by the government with the moro rebels in 2014.

    The NTF will be chaired by the Interior Secretary with representatives from the Departments of National Defense and Justice, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Bureau of Investigation and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police will also be represented in the task force.

    Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the government peace panel, will also sit as member while the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process will help develop a monitoring and reporting system.

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