fbpx Press "Enter" to skip to content

Trust fund for MILF gains ground | report






BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews) – The Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) launched the multi-donor Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF) late Wednesday afternoon to accelerate the integration of Moro warriors into mainstream society and their communities into peaceful economic zones.

The World Bank, which will administer the fund, believed that the BNTF will be instrumental in bringing lasting peace and prosperity not just in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) but also for the rest of Mindanao.

Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, speaking on behalf of the MILF as its chairperson, noted the need to fast-track the normalization process to transform MILF combatants into peaceful and productive citizens.

“Today, we take on another significant milestone that assures the GPH and MILF will continue providing necessary efforts in normalizing our combatants and their respective communities,” Ebrahim said during the online launch.

He admitted that implementing the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is not an easy task.

The CAB is the final peace agreement signed by the GPH and the MILF in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations. The peace agreement’s political track has been accomplished with the creation of the BARMM following the plebiscite ratifying Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM in 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed the members of the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the region’s governing body whose mandate ends on June 30, 2022 when the new set of elected officials shall have taken their oath.

But there have been efforts before Congress to extend the mandate of BTA for three years until 2025. One million signatures have been gathered and submitted to Duterte, urging him to certify the petitions to extend the transition period as a priority legislative measure.

Ebrahim, popularly known by his MILF nom de guerre of Murad Ebrahim, said the efforts on the political track “have been mainstreamed all throughout the transition period” but not so much on the normalization track.

He stressed that the political and normalization tracks “are meant to intertwine with one another to assure the overall success of the peace process.”

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. described the launching of the BNTF as another major milestone in the Bangsamoro peace process.

“The BNTF is a testament of the national government’s steadfast commitment to attain a just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro and throughout the country,” he said in his keynote speech.
Galvez said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed back the implementation of the normalization track, which includes the decommissioning of MILF fighters and putting their weapons beyond use.

“With the operationalization of the BNTF, we will be able to help address the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” he added.

International donors such as the European Union, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Japan, among others, pledged to support the BNTF.

Ndiamè Diop, WB Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, said the BNTF is a vehicle where international donors can contribute resources to help MILF combatants and their communities attain peace and prosperity.

“[The fund] will assist the MILF combatants and their communities achieve their desired quality of life in a peaceful and inclusive manner,” he said.

Diop said the BNTF seeks to also develop the six MLF camps previously recognized by the GPH and the MILF into peaceful and productive communities.

According to him, the BNTF will finance, coordinate and oversee the delivery of assistance from international partners and donors in the implementation of the normalization process.
Lauding the launching of the BNTF, Gustavo Gonzales, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, assured the UN’s continued support to the Bangsamoro peace process.

The creation of the BNTF was mutually agreed by the GPH and the MILF in the Annex on Normalization of the CAB, which the parties signed on 25 January 2014.
The BNTF’s Terms of Reference was completed in 2016 while the guidelines for its operationalization came out the next year.

As of last year, at least 12,000 MILF fighters have been deactivated in the second phase of the decommissioning process that began in August 2019. The MILF also turned over 2,100 assorted weapons and more than 500 ammunition to the foreign-led Independent Decommissioning Body.
The third phase of the decommissioning process was slated to commence in 2020 but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head that pushed back targets.

Another 35 percent of the 40,000- strong MILF will be decommissioned during this phase, while the rest of the remaining armaments will be processed until 2022 for the expected signing of the exit agreement between the government and the MILF.

A deactivated MILF fighter is given P100,000 cash and also entitled to receive housing, livelihood and educational assistance, among others, in a package worth at least P1 million, Galvez said earlier. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

Share this post:
error20
fb-share-icon20
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

Powered By ICTC/DRS
WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Facebook20