Malacañang said the explosion in Sultan Kudarat Saturday morning, September 7, will not deter the government from pursuing peace in Mindanao.
The bomb attack came as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) has begun with its decommissioning process.
“We expect to encounter challenges on the road to peace, but this morning’s criminal act will not deter us from moving forward,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in a statement.
“On the contrary, the blast this morning is a reminder of why we must exhaust all efforts to ensure that future generations are spared from the conflict and violence that has plagued Mindanao in the past,” he added.
He said the Palace prays for the speedy recovery of those hurt in the blast and “we hope that our partners in peace will remain steadfast in their commitment to the peace and normalization process.”
Seven people were injured when an improvised explosive device rocked a public market in Isulan.
According to Nograles, who co-chairs the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Cluster Mechanism (ICCMN) on Normalization with Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., the government will continue to fast-track normalization efforts together with the decommissioning of 12,000 MILF combatants, or about 30 percent of the 40,000 MILF-BIAF members, which is expected to be completed by March next year.
The 12,000 combatants and their families are set to receive between half a million to one million pesos in financial assistance on top of provisions for housing, livelihood assistance, skills development training, scholarships, employment opportunities, PHILHEALTH coverage, conditional cash transfers, and documentation such as birth certificates and postal IDs.
The government is now in phase two of the decommissioning of MILF forces, with phase three to be completed by next year and the remaining MILF forces to be commissioned before the signing of the Exit Agreement in 2022. #