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MILF, MNLF combatants may join PNP

Former Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation combatants could become members of the Philippine National Police as long as they meet the requirements set by the National Police Commission.

This was agreed upon during a meeting on Friday between Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Bangsamoro Transition Authority Interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. 

Under the agreement, the government will be waiving the age and height requirements of the MILF and MNLF applicants.

“We welcome the admission of MILF and MNLF members to the police force, provided that they meet the general requirements in the national level, and of course we will waive some requirements to accommodate our Moro brothers,” Año said.

“You can actually start the identification of MILF and MNLF members who are qualified for the immediate recruitment so we can make this arrangement and start training.”

Major General Jonas Calleja, PNP Director for Plans, said his agency is in the process of drafting the memorandum circular to operationalize the arrangement.

“We’re preparing the draft memo circular and it’s stated there that only age and height may be waived, provided the educational attainment requirement shall be applied within 15 years,” he said.

Under Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the age, height and educational requirements of the ex-fighters may be waived by the NAPOLCOM.

The law also says those who want to be part of the police force should apply within five years from the ratification of the BOL, and that they should meet all the educational requirements within 15 years after joining the PNP.

On the appointment of the Police Regional Director for the BARMM, Año said his office “shall be getting the recommendation of the Chief Minister as long as these police officers are qualified.

“Rest assured that I will respect your preference, including the fire and jail directors for the BARMM.”

Ebrahim expressed his elation over the pronouncement, saying the former combatants will be given the chance to serve their communities and country.

The meeting also gave Año, Ebrahim and Galvez a chance to discuss ways to facilitate the smooth transition of the new Bangsamoro government, specifically the peace and security aspect of governance.

Año said the DILG “shall organize the PRO BARMM organization pursuant to NAPOLCOM Resolution 2019-009.”

“With that, we’ll also provide a regional police force battalion that can be used for special purposes. And for the provincial and police units, we also welcome the preference of the local government units under the BARMM,” he said.

Under the Normalization track, Galvez said at least 1,600 PNP members will be trained as members of the Joint Peace Security Teams. 

They will help secure communities during the camp transformation and the decommissioning of 12,000 or 30 percent of MILF combatants which is expected to start by Sept. 7 this year.

The JPST is among the Normalization bodies created under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement between the government and MILF.

These teams will be composed of representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the PNP  and the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.

Ebrahim emphasized the importance of synergy and cooperation among the AFP, PNP and BIAF personnel.

“Once there is a strong cooperation among them, then there will be an efficient peace and order campaign,” he said.

Based on the Normalization time line, 35 percent of the combatants will be decommissioned by next year. The rest will undergo decommissioning from 2021 to 2022. This process will be completed before the signing of the Exit Agreement as stipulated in the CAB.

READ: PNP to admit MILF, MNLF fighter as regular members

During the meeting, the parties also discussed other concerns such as the turnover of offices,  programs and projects from the national government to the BARMM government.

The new region now covers areas that have been included in the BARMM such as Cotabato City and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato whose residents voted yes for the BOL’s passage.

Minister of Interior and Local Government Naguib Sinarimbo said they submitted a  proposal to the DILG “to create a geographical unit, in the meantime, for the transition of 63 barangays.” 

This recommendation aims to ensure that there will be no interruption in the delivery of basic services to residents.

For his part, Galvez suggested “to organize an inter-government [mechanism] for the MILG and DILG,” to ensure the smooth transition of governance processes and structures.

Año said the DILG was also looking at the possibility of creating “two or three political entities like municipalities to group the barangays according to their geographical locations.”

He said his agency will fully support the projects of the national government in the BARMM, saying “[they] will be completed.” 

Galvez emphasized the need for concerned government agencies to work collectively so that the programs under the Normalization track will be carried out within the expected time frame.

“Our aim here at the OPAPP is to help facilitate the coordination and cooperation between government agencies and the BARMM. This is to ensure its seamless and smooth transition,” he said. 

On June 19, member-agencies of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization convened to consolidate their initiatives in line with implementation of the Normalization track.

Topics: Moro Islamic Liberation Front , MILF , Moro National Liberation , MNLF , Philippine National Police , PNP , National Police Commission , Bangsamoro Organic Law , BARMM
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