IN PHOTO- Edward Guerra, Chair of MILF Joint Normalization Committee during the interview Cotabato City - The Chairman of the MILF Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) Architect Eduard Uy Guerra gave updates on the normalization track during an interview at Cafe Mindanaw on October 22, 2018.

JNC plays big role in the implementation of Normalization Process- Guerra

According to him, the mandates and mechanisms that they are pursuing to succeed in the implementation process of normalization track is within the context of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) on March 27, 2014.

“We make progress on the aspect of normalization,” Guerra said.

However, he emphasized that the JNC has two tracks to follow, such as the political and the normalization tracks. The political track is about to end and we are just waiting for the result of referendum as the remaining process. 

He believes that the normalization needs to be fast tracked, but cautiously. We expect that we will be in-charged of all decommissioning process.  

Along with our counterpart in the GPH, we will oversee the decommissioning of MILF combatants and weapons in accordance with the CAB.

He explained that a primary coordinator will supervise all the mechanisms and the implementations that has been identified such as the decommissioning of combatants, transformation of six (6) recognized camps, economic assistance, and the security by a joint committee, and the creation of Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). 

For now, they will focus on the joint peace and security concerns, Guerra said.

Accordingly, about 30,000 to 40,000 combatants will be decommissioned phase by phase as part of the agreement but such a process is anchored on the progress of political track.  

“The first phase consisting of 30% of MILF combatants and weapons will take place after the plebiscite on January 21st next year. We are now preparing for the listing and identifying the assembly areas under the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB),” Guerra further said.

“There are group of people in every mechanism of the normalization to handle such as the IDB led by a former ambassador with representatives from Brunei and Norway as members. They have the mandate to create their own mechanism on how to implement them”, Guerra added. 

Guerra told this writer that the JNC has its prepared timeline in implementing their plans, and activities. More than twenty (20) assembly areas were identified in their proposal but they consolidated into nine (9) areas that are strategically located for the combatants so that it will not cause them hardship, expensive and less time consuming.  

“Handling this forty thousand (40,000) combatants is challenging on our part because if we cannot handle it properly, it may create a problem in the next phase of implementation process,” Guerra stressed. 

“The JNC creates its own formula in preparation for succeeding decommissioning but not yet finalized.  The symbolic decommissioning conducted before where about 145 combatants and 79 firearms were decommissioned signified the sincerity of the MILF in the peace process. And that event gives us a test case to conduct study on what shortcomings we have,” Guerra said. 

Guerra told this writer that they have also schedules for the conduct of internal training at Camp Parang, Maguindanao. The purpose of the training is to orient them on their combined tasks, cultural sensitivity for observing cultural practices and mutual respect. 

According to Guerra, the said training will be tool to bridge gaps and differences for a purpose of establishing unity and solidarity to counter those spoilers of peace who are trying to destroy the harmonious life of the people in the Bangsamoro. 

“The normalization process is aimed to infuse development and transformation in our areas to become more productive for combatants, thus securing their livelihood and other kind of development that make them and their families to enjoy,” Guerra also said. 

“Generally, the normalization objective is to transform former combatants into more productive civilian life where they can live with prosperity, that no more war to destruct their lives, instead it makes their lives normal and peaceful,” Guerra said.