Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año lauds the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for being “sincere in the peace agreements with the Philippine government” as shown in the second phase of the decommissioning of MILF combatants and weapons on Saturday in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao this National Peace Consciousness Month.
Año, together with other members of the Cabinet, witnessed the ceremony attended by President Rodrigo Duterte where 1,060 combatants and 920 weapons were decommissioned, meaning, these forces and armaments are put beyond use. It also includes the transition of the former Moro rebel forces to a peaceful civilian life.
“I am honored to witness the realization of peace in Muslim Mindanao that seemed elusive and bleak in the past decades. The clamor before was to give peace a chance. Now, we can finally move on to the development phase of the region for its people to catch up with the rest of the country,” says Año, a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“I hold dearly in my heart our Moro brothers and sisters because I’ve been assigned for a very long time in Mindanao where I started my military career in the 90s as a young lieutenant. I’ve been assigned in Eastern Mindanao, Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan,” he says.
The DILG Chief assures that the Department will assist the interim regional government of BARMM especially police support for the maintenance of peace and order as it undergoes the normalization phase.
Normalization is the process through which communities affected by the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao can return to social life and pursue sustainable development livelihoods free from fear of violence and crime.
“The DILG will see to it that we implement what the law mandates, particularly the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which says that the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall create a Police Regional Office in BARMM for the primary purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order. We shall also see to it that members of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front shall be admitted to the police force within five years of the BOL's ratification,” he says.
Año further said that the DILG is mapping out how it can effectively provide technical assistance to the BARMM regional government as it undergoes transition.
“We have prepared a Road Map on how best we can assist the BARMM. We want to help in meeting the objectives of the BOL and that is to allow the Bangsamoro to have a meaningful self-governance within the framework of the Constitution and territorial integrity of the country. We will make sure that the DILG exercises judiciously its general supervision over BARMM,” he points out.
He says that the transfer of the supervision over the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) from the Office of the President to the DILG through Executive Order No. 67, series of 2018 assists the DILG in supporting the BARMM regional government.