Decommissioned BIAF combatants undergo Trainers Training

Cotabato City-More than 30 combatants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (BIAF-MILF) have undergone Training of Trainers (ToT) conducted at Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City on February 22-24. 

The participants came from the 111th, 112th, 107th and 104th Base Commands; National Guard, General Headquarters, and Bangsamoro Women Auxiliary Brigade (BWAB) of the BIAF.

Among the topics discussed during the training were the History of the Bangsamoro and the MILF, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, Moral Governance, Islamic Values and Leadership, Qualities of a Leader, Conflict Resolution, and Managing the Package of the Decommissioning. 

The activity was spearheaded by the School of Peace and Democracy – Bangsamoro (SPD-B) with the help of the United Nation Development Program (UNDP). 

Ms. Shadia Marhaban, the founder of the SPD in Aceh, Indonesia who played a role in transforming the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) combatants into a productive political group in Aceh, supervised the facilitators.

Toks Ibrahim, the Administrative Officer of the BIAF, and Chetan Kumar, Peace Outcome Lead, UNDP, graced the event.

The facilitators were selected staff from the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the BWAB-BIAF.

Ms. Marhaban said “Education for the former combatants is very important because they are leaders in their community, because people look up to them. So, if we equip them with some knowledge, if we give them some kind of tools and instrument to enhance their leadership skills and management in the villages, I am sure this will be a big thing.”

The SPD gives them a space to have the knowledge about what is the peace agreement, what are they getting from ARMM to the BARMM Government. MILF is known for their courage during the war, so I am sure now the courage for peace is there, she continued.

For his part, Mr. Kumar said “Our hope is the school will enable the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other major armed groups to make transition to civilian life, to civilian roles and also play leadership roles and ensuring that BARMM can be more than just a new province , or a new autonomous region , the BARMM can actually establish a new model for governance in  the Philippines  which is accountable , transparent and delivers (services) effectively for the people.” 

Mr. Aliudin Haron, a facilitator, said “They (MILF former combatants) will tell us how they joined the BIAF, their history in the BIAF, all of these are part of the program for the former combatants.”

“We are victims of oppression and aggression, painful, (so) we don’t want that our children will experience our experience before”, according to Dennis Ode Francisco, Training and Education Chief, 111th base command, BIAF, MILF.

Mr. Ibrahim extended his gratefulness to the SPD for educating the former MILF combatants which they can use in their next generation.

The activity is one of the requisites of the decommissioning under the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the government and the MILF on March 27, 2014. The completers of the training will handle the succeeding trainings of the would-be decommissioned BIAF combatants.

Meanwhile, on February 25, the School of Peace and Democracy - Bangsamoro was launched at Waterfront Hotel, Davao City, which was attended by different international donor entities and representatives from the office of the Interim Chief Minister, BARMM.