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Palace optimistic MILF fighters’ decommissioning completed by 2022

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Malacañang has expressed optimism that the government could complete the decommissioning of the thousands Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants by 2022.

“We have targeted the decommissioning of 30% of combatants by 2019, 35% by next year, and the remainder by 2022. All the different government agencies involved in these efforts believe we can meet these timelines,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Nograles on Monday, June 17, 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..

He said the 12,000 combatants and their families, who would be decommissioned this year, 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.

According to Nograles, the government is now in phase two of the decommissioning of the 30,000 to 40,000 MILF forces, with phase three to be completed by next year and the remaining MILF forces to be decommissioned before the signing of the Exit Agreement in 2022.

“The President 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,” the former Davao City lawmaker said.

Under Executive Order 79 s. 2019, the ICCMN’s functions are to: (1) coordinate and mobilize government agencies in the implementation of the Normalization Program; (2) provide policy advice, support, and assistance to the different modalities and mechanisms of normalization; (3) supervise and monitor all socio-economic interventions under the Normalization Program; (4) create a Working Group on Vulnerable Sectors which shall recommend a set of interventions; and (5) submit periodic reports to the President.

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