Gov’t decommissions 12K MILF troops: Nograles

MANILA -- Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday bared that the government has decommissioned a total of 12,000 or close to a third of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) troops as part of efforts to fast-track normalization efforts.

Nograles made this remark after he 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. on Monday (June 17).

The President (Rodrigo Duterte) 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, Nograles said in a statement.

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.

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, Duterte 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.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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