‘Decommissioning not a sign of surrender, but symbol of sincerity and determination- iCM Ebrahim

Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao— The decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and their weapons is not a sign of capitulation but a symbol of their sincerity and determination to push forward the Bangsamoro peace process, said BARMM ICM Al Haj Ahod Balawag Ebrahim in a statement before the start of the public launch of 1,060 MILF Combatants, and 920 firearms at Sultan Kudarat town, this province on September 7.

President Rodrigo Duterte attended the historic event along with Sen., Bong Go, OPAPP Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr.and other members of the cabinet.

Philstar quoted Ebrahim who said during the forum, “I would like to emphasize that we have not given up what we used to fight for. It is simply to demonstrate our full commitment to fulfilling our obligations and responsibilities in the peace agreement we signed with the government.”

The decommissioning of the MILF-BIAF members will be handled by the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) as stipulated under the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“Decommissioning is the first step in achieving our goal to return our combatants to civilian but productive life,” Ebrahim said as quoted by Philstar.

Ebrahim said the decommissioned fighters will be receiving socio-economic packages which include health benefits, scholarships, housing and livelihood projects.

“Through these interventions, our combatants will be able to return to mainstream society. We will be able to transform our combatants from revolutionary forces to civilian life,” he said.

For his part, Turkish Ambassador Fatih Ulosoy lauded the MILF and the government for sustaining the gains of peace through the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace agreement.

“I would like to commend the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for reaching another milestone in the Bangsamoro peace process – the decommissioning of MILF combatants and their weapons,” Ulosoy said.

Ulosoy said the IDB must work with full adherence to confidentiality. 

 “The presence of President Duterte at all stages of the peace process attest to the solid will of the GPH (Philippine government). The MILF, on their side has repeatedly shown its sincerity to work together with the government, and this event is a clear example of that,” Ulosoy said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr. highlighted the significance of the decommissioning process and its impact on the Bangsamoro peace process.

“We are celebrating another key milestone in the peace process: the decommissioning of MILF-BIAF members and their weapons. The decommissioning process will enable the MILF combatants to return to mainstream society as productive and peaceful citizens,” Galvez said.

“By and large, the decommissioning of MILF-BIAF members is a clear testament of the MILF’s desire to sustain the gains of the peace process, and President Duterte’s political will and unwavering commitment to fulfil all signed peace agreements,” he added.