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Philippines : Decommissioning of MILF forces an executive function, need not be part of BBL.

The decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces and weapons is a program that will be implemented jointly with the MILF, simultaneous with legislating the new law on the Bangsamoro. It doesn t have to be put in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), explained Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

The decommissioning of the MILF is part of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), Coronel-Ferrer underscored. The MILF signed this document and so they are obligated to see this through with the help of the government and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) that we will set up very soon.

The IDB will be made up of three foreign experts and four Filipinos. It will validate the inventory of weapons and combatants that the MILF will submit and institute the needed procedures for turning in the weapons. Norway, Turkey and Brunei have been invited by the government and MILF panels to nominate the foreign experts who would sit in the IDB.

The process would be gradual and phased, and commensurate with the developments in the legislative process of passing the BBL, said the government negotiator. Full decommissioning of the weapons and combatants of the MILF will happen after the creation of the Bangsamoro and the creation of the police force in the region.

High-powered and crew-served weapons will be turned in to the IDB. However, members of the MILF may legalize the small arms in their possession through a registration process that conforms with the national firearm law. There is no need for a special law for the decommissioning, explained Coronel-Ferrer.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles issued a similar clarification. The normalization process doesn t have to be in the law, except for the setting up of the police force for the Bangsamoro. The normalization process is an executive action that doesn t need new legislation she said.

The normalization process composed of three main components, namely security, socioeconomic development, and transitional justice and reconciliation aims to return conflict-affected communities in Mindanao to a peaceful life wherein people could pursue sustainable livelihoods free from fear of violence and crime.

The security aspect of normalization includes policing, gradual decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons, redeployment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from or within the conflict-affected areas, and the disbandment of private armed groups.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 13, 2014
Words:412
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