Helping MILF rebs

September 10, 2019

LAST week’s decommissioning of 1,060 combatants and 920 weapons, including assault rifles, of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a huge step to achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.

Thus declared President Duterte in a speech during the MILF decommissioning in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao as stipulated in the historic agreement the group signed with the government in 2014.

Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to occupy the top political post of the land, assured the decommissioned MILF fighters that the government would assist them to become productive citizens.

“As we proceed with the decommissioning process, let me assure you…that the government will assist you as you reintegrate into the society, and enjoy…productive civilian lives,” he said.

Reports said that some 12,000 MILF fighters and about 2,000 weapons are expected to be “beyond use” by March next year as the second phase of the decommissioning process is completed.

Duterte also told the decommissioned Moro rebels not to fret, as their community would enjoy an independent government, adding he is willing to provide new arms should the need arises.

“Do not be disheartened na nag-surrender kayo ng armas…Kung kailangan ninyo talaga ng armas para i-depensa ninyo ang gobyerno dito sa BARMM, walang problema, bigyan ko kayo (ng) mas bago,” he said.

At the same time, the Chief Executive from Davao City assured the former rebels that the Bangsamoro region’s natural resources, including the vast oil deposits in the Liguasan Marsh, will remain theirs alone.

What’s important now is for the government and the MILF to consider the future of the region. It’s high time to work in unison for lasting peace so that socio-economic development can really take off.

And with the decommissioning of MILF, its former fighters would now have a chance to live peaceful and highly-productive lives, with the support of concerned government offices and agencies.