MILF forces to give up arms if Bangsamoro entity is set up PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 11:01

Part of the provisions for the creation of the Bangsamoro will be the decommissioning of the armed members and weapons of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Jose Lorena.

During the Mindanao Communicators’ Network Congress held in Tagum City recently, Lorena emphasized that the armed members and their weapons will be fully decommissioned.

“The MILF will lay down their arms, but they will be integrated into the Bangsamoro police,” he said. The police force shall be civilian in character and accountable and responsible both to the national and Bangsamoro government.

As mentioned in the Framework Agreement, the MILF shall undertake a “graduated program for the decommissioning of its forces… law enforcement shall be transferred to the police force for the Bangsamoro.”

Both the national government and the MILF had earlier committed to work in partnership for the reduction and control of firearms in the area and also the disbandment of private armies and other armed groups.

The Bangsamoro’s coverage will be determined through a plebiscite following the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress. Such plebiscite will be held in the current ARMM provinces and Marawi City, the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte that voted for their inclusion in the ARMM in 2001, and 39 barangays in six municipalities of North Cotabato that likewise voted for their inclusion in ARMM.

“Upon the finalization of the Basic Law, the ARMM will finally be abolished and will be replaced by the Bangsamoro,” explained Lorena.

Meanwhile, Lorena further emphasized that Mindanao’s problem can be solved only by its own people.

“All the people of Bangsamoro should participate in the consultations,” he said. The timeframe for the establishment of the Bangsamoro is 2016.

On the other hand, the undersecretary called on the Mindanao information officers and communicators to help in the information campaign particularly in conducting public consultations for the Basic Law.

“These information campaigns will be long and tedious, and we will need the help of the Mindanao communicators to disseminate factual information on the Bangsamoro for the people to understand it,” he emphasized.