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1st batch of former MILF fighters ready to join peace and security force

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THE graduation ceremony for the first batch of former MILF fighters joining the Joint Peace and Security Team was held Aug. 27 at Camp Lucero in Barangay Nasapian, Carmen. WESTMINCOM

THE FIRST batch of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants, composed of 219 men, have completed their month-long basic military training and will now be joining the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST), together with members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The JPSTs are tasked to secure MILF communities that will undergo the decommissioning process as well as help track and document private armed groups and other lawless elements. A formal ceremony for the first batch of decommissioning is set on Sept. 7, with more than 12,000 of the estimated 40,000 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed wing of the MILF, to turn over their weapons. The firearms will be handed over to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) and stored in an agreed site. Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim said each combatant will receive an “economic package” worth about P1 million. “This will be given in different forms such as cash assistance, livelihood, housing, and scholarships,” Mr. Murad said. “The overall goal is not only for the combatants to receive cash, but also to transition into civilian but productive life,” BARMM Spokesperson Naguib G. Sinarimbo said in a news conference on Aug. 27. The decommissioning is in accordance with the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF. — Tajallih S. Basman

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