• Melo Acuna

MILF waiting for the funds for decommissioning

MILF decommissioning remains uncertain


MANILA – The long-awaited decommission of at least 40,000 combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) still hands in the balance whether it would succeed or end in dismal failure.


Speaking before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) this morning, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said there were 13,500 former fighters who have turned over their weapons as proof of the decommissioning. The weapons are under the care of a third party acceptable to both the government and the MILF.


“We divided the combatants into three groups and last year, 13,500 have turned over their weapons and will revert back to being productive members of the society,” Mr. Ebrahim said.


He explained the government has committed to extend economic packages for the former armed elements to begin normal lives.


“The government committed to extend assistance amounting to at least P1 million for them to lead productive lives which include housing, scholarship for their children and some income-generating projects,” he said.


It was learned from the promised assistance of P1 million per armed MILF member, the government has only released P100,000 to each member who took part in the decommissioning.


The problem is they are supposed to implement the second phase now and accept thousands of armed elements.


“We cannot implement the second part until we settle everything for the first group of 13,500,” he said. He learned there was no budget for the decommissioning and that the funds would be taken from the regular funds of the national government’s different agencies. He admitted it won’t be easy for government agencies to transfer funds.


Asked if the former armed elements would remain in the government’s fold and refrain from organizing another splinter group and fight both the government and the MILF leadership, Chief Minister Ebrahim said it is indeed a challenge for them to look for funds to address the people’s requirements to become productive members of society.


Decommissioning is a process towards normalization as provided in the agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (Melo M. Acuña)


Bangsamoro Administrative Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim speaking before FOCAP and the Diplomatic Corps earlier today. (Screen grab/Melo M. Acuna)

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