BARMM Senior Minister and MILF spokesperson Von Al Haq takes oath in front of Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim (Photo by Google)

From adversaries to allies

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Del Norte — Former enemies in the battleground in Mindanao for decades, soldiers and combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are now jointly ensuring the success of the peace process in Mindanao as members of the joint peace and security committee (JPSC).

During an interview at the JPSC office in Barangay Datu Odin Sinsuat in this province, retired Maj. Gen. Francisco Felicidario III of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Von Al Haq of the MILF gave their perspectives on the progress of the peace process in Mindanao.

“It’s no longer Mindanao at war. It’s a Mindanao in progress and development,” Al Haq said as quoted by Philstar in its issue on March 9.

He said that discussions on achieving peace in Mindanao has shifted from conflict to peace in once volatile area.
Al Haq, BARMM Senior Minister and spokesperson of the MILF cited the equitable distribution of peace dividends among stakeholders due to the positive impact of peace negotiations that lasted for decades.

He highlighted the role of the JSPC in maintaining peace and order as a product of peace negotiations, the Philstar said.
On the other hand, Felicidario cited significant improvements in security and mobility compared to previous years. 
Felicidario stressed the need to sustain the gains of the peace process, citing the collective responsibility of stakeholders in securing lasting peace.

“They would want to erase the term ‘conflict-affected areas’ and be more representative of the peace that everybody is enjoying now and the development that’s being enjoyed,” Felicidario said.

The JPSC is composed of 15 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), eight from the Philippine National Police and seven from the AFP. The committee was established since the start of the peace negotiations in the Bangsamoro region in 2019.
JPSC continued its efforts as first responders to emergencies, the Philstar also said.