OPAPP hopes other armed groups in Mindanao to follow MILF’s decommissioning

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The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has expressed hope that the successful decommissioning of 40,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants could encourage other armed groups in Mindanao to turn in their weapons and return to the folds of the law.

“We will ensure that the MILF combatants who will undergo the decommissioning process will receive a decent comprehensive and sustainable socio-economic package,” Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez said during the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization (ICCMN) meeting in Malacañang Tuesday, August 13.

“Now, if the other armed groups will see the fruits of this process, I believe they will be encouraged to join in the decommissioning process,” he said.

Aside from the various Moro fronts whose members still bear weapons, there are still other armed groups operating in Mindanao such as private armies, communist insurgents, and extremist organizations.

Galvez said the main goal of the government is for non-state armed groups to become irrelevant in the country.

He said that based on his informal conversations with representatives of these armed groups, some of them have already expressed their desire to be part of the decommissioning process.

“The willingness to give up their firearms is already a sign that they want to change their lives,” he said.

For this year, at least 30% or 12,000 MILF combatants will be decommissioned and their weapons put beyond use. Another 35% of the MILF forces will undergo the same procedure next year, while the rest will undergo the process until 2022 in time for the Exit Agreement between the government and the MILF.