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MILF to decommission firearms in February

PEACE ADVOCATES UNITE FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE. Peace and social justice advocates led by former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Atty. Christian Monsod and Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros reiterated their call to render justice to all those who perished in the Mamasapano incident and for lasting peace in Mindanao.

PEACE ADVOCATES UNITE FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE. Peace and social justice advocates led by former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Atty. Christian Monsod and Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros reiterated their call to render justice to all those who perished in the Mamasapano incident and for lasting peace in Mindanao.

KUALA LUMPUR (Mabuhay) – The peace panels on Saturday announced that the ceremonial decommissioning of forces and firearms of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would take place in February.

The decommissioning or disarmament of the MILF is considered the most tangible proof that the Moro secessionist movement had ended and the rebels were now ready to lay down their firearms.

“To the MILF, decommissioning is not only an emotional issue, it is an ultimate sacrifice. It is also sensitive, that it is almost a taboo to discuss. But there is no other way, there is no escaping that decommissioning MILF weapons and combatants – and putting beyond use –  have to be undertaken by MILF, as part of the comprehensive normalization process of the Bangsamoro (under the CAB),” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said.

The peace panels led by Iqbal and government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer held a joint press conference to address the bloody Mamasapano incident that threw a monkey wrench in the peace process.

Turkish ambassador Hayder Berk, head of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB), said at the press briefing that “decommissioning is an important and integral part” of the peace process.

He also stressed the need for “trust and cooperation” in the decommissioning process.

Ferrer said that the list of the first 145 MILF members to be decommissioned would be handed over to the IDB “this week.”

“Government in turn will prepare the socio-economic package that will be given to the decommissioned combatants in order to facilitate their path to productive, civilian lives in their respective communities,” she said.

Ironically, she added, three days before the “fateful events in Mamasapano,” MILF chairman Ebrahim Murad had already handed over the list of 75 weapons to Berk and the other IDB members in Camp Darapanan.

The list of firearms had included their make and serial numbers.

Ferrer also said that the estimated number of firearms and forces initially relayed by the MILF to government were not far from the estimate of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

“We are working on very close estimation of numbers but it requires the IDB to verify all of these,” she said. (MNS)

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