Duterte forms inter-Cabinet cluster on MILF normalization
President Rodrigo Duerte has created an inter-Cabinet cluster to ensure "timely, appropriate and efficient delivery" of the normalization program in accordance with the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
This was contained in Executive Order No. 79 signed by Duterte on April 24, providing for the implementing Annex on the Normalization under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
"The National Government recognizes that normalization is a process whereby communities can achieve their desired quality of life within a peaceful and deliberative society," the EO read.
"To this end, the National Government adopts a Normalization Program that is multi-faceted and covers the aspects of security, socio-economic development, sustainable livelihood, political participation, confidence-building, and transitional justice and reconciliation," it added.
Under the EO, an Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization was formally established.
The ICCMN would be composed of representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, with a rank not lower than an undersecretary, as co-chairpersons.
The members of the cluster include representatives from the National Security Council; departments of Interior and Local Government, National defense, Justice, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Education, Health, Labor and Employment, Finance, Budget and Management, Trade and Industry, and Information and Communications Technology; National Economic and Development Authority; Commission on Higher Education; Technical education and Skills and Development Authority; and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Their representatives have the ranks not lower than an assistant secretary or its equivalent.
Part of the normalization program is the decommissioning of some 40,000 MILF combatants or so-called members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces to be done in phases.
It shall also cover the six recognized MILF camps, particularly Camp Bilal in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, Camp Omar in al-Khattab in Maguindanao, Camp Rajamuda in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, Camp Busrah Somiorang in Lanao del Sur, Camp Badre in Maguindanao, and Camp Abubakar as Siddique in Maguindanao, and such other locations of decommissioned combatants, as may be identified by the government and the MILF implementing panels.
Under the security aspect of normalization, there is also disbandment of private armed groups, programs for small arms and light weapons management, redeployment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and unexploded ordnances and landmines.
The initial funding requirements for the implementation of the Order would be charged against sources to be identified by the DBM, while for the succeeding years, they would be included in the respective budgets of member-agencies of the ICCMN.
"Donation and other funds from sources outside of government may be received in accordance with relevant laws, rules and regulations," the EO said.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace expects the MILF's cooperation with the programs under normalization aspect.
"Well, if there is a program that I’m sure the MILF will follow the procedure as outlined...that means the MILF has embraced peace with the government and in fact is working hand and hand for the attainment of peace in that area," he said.
OPAPP earlier said they expect an initial 12,000 MILF combatants to undergo decommissioning within the year.
The ICCMN would cease to operate upon the signing of the Exit Agreement by the government and the MILF panels, or when the ICCMN determines that the programs under `the normalization program are completely implemented, whichever comes earlier.
The EO would take effect immediately upon the completion of its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation. Celerina Monte/DMS