Cotabato City — “Rest assured, as I promised when I was Chief-of-Staff [of AFP], that all my life, with the National Defense Secretary [Lorenzana], all our life, we will dedicate for the peace process.”

This was the assurance given by Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (PAPRU) Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman and BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim, Al Haj during a meeting held at the Bangsamoro Government Center in this city on April 13 attended by key National and Bangsamoro Government officials.

Galvez expressed President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s steadfast commitment to honor all signed peace agreements with the MILF.

“We know that there is much work to be done as the Duterte Administration’s term comes to an end. But we believe that with the strong partnership we have developed, we shall overcome the challenges that come our way,” the Peace Adviser said.

Legacy of Peace

Top officials of the National and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) governments met to reaffirm their commitment to push forward the Bangsamoro peace process and continue the legacy of peace of the Duterte Administration.

Both governments said they are determined to fulfill the commitments they have made under all signed peace agreements.

“I am extremely happy to welcome Secretary Galvez and our dear partners from the national government inside the Bangsamoro Government Center. While this may not be your first time being here, the sight of seeing all of us sitting side by side in this hall is remarkable,” Ebrahim said.

“It brings back memories of our work in establishing the BARMM. Let us also take this opportunity to celebrate our shared wins of what may very well be our greatest legacy for Mindanao and the rest of the country,” he added.

Galvez was joined by the Government of the Philippines Peace Implementing Panel (GPH PIP) for the Bangsamoro Peace Accord OPAPRU USec. David B. Diciano, and GPH PIP Vice Chair and National Government Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) Secretariat Head OPAPRU ASec. Atty. Wilben M. Mayor.

“May the bond that we have nurtured over the years continue to inspire us to work together in promoting the culture of peace, mutual understanding and solidarity, as we move forward as one people and one nation,” the peace adviser said.

Sustaining gains of peace in the Bangsamoro

During the gathering, the national and BARMM officials discussed the status of implementation of the various peacebuilding initiatives being jointly carried out by their governments under the political and normalization tracks of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Mayor said the application process of qualified MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members to the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now being facilitated by the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) in coordination with the BARMM Government in accordance with Art. XI of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

He shared that MILF and MNLF base and front commanders coming from various parts of Mindanao were oriented on the NAPOLCOM’s Guidelines on the entry of MILF and MNLF members into the PNP.

“There is really a need for applicants to know the process. Before you take the qualifying exam, all qualification requirements should be complied,” said Mayor, referring to the qualification guidelines presented to the MILF and MNLF base and front commanders who are expected to disseminate said information to their respective communities.

PBGen Arthur R. Cabalona, regional director of Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO BAR) said that as part of the PNP and NAPOLCOM’s commitment to the peace process, they will start reviewing the documents submitted by the applicants ten days before the date of their examination.

He added the process for application for the National Special Qualifying Eligibility Examination (NSQEE) will start within the month, while “the recruitment process will start after Ramadan.”

Security component continues to gain ground

Galvez also briefed the Bangsamoro officials on the status of implementation of the interventions under the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), particularly its security component which includes the program on the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (DPAGs).

As of April 1, 2022, the National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (NTF-DPAGs) has disbanded a total of 15 PAGs which have all also been approved for delisting based on the recommendation made by the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC).

“We have already disbanded 15 private armed groups…These 15 private armed groups were with 93 members and 85 firearms in our possession.” said PLTGEN Jose Chiquito Malayo, commander of Task Force Western Mindanao in his report during the NTF-DPAGs Oversight Committee meeting held on 1 April.

Meanwhile, officials from the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) headed by OPAPRU Director Mae Ballena and Dr. Sham Ufano and Dr. Ma. Paz Coralles of the Department of Health (DOH) also met with BARMM officials to discuss the conduct of the Special Vaccination Days to be held in the region next month.

Also present during the meeting from the GPH were OPAPRU Directors Atty. Ishmael I. Bahjin and Farrah Grace V. Naparan; LtGen Alfredo Rosario Jr. PA, commander of the Western Mindanao Command; MGen Juvymax Uy, PA, commander of the 6ID; BGen. Antonio Nafarrete, chair of the GPH Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH); and Col. Joel Mamon, head of the GPH CCCH and GPH Ad Hoc Joint Action Group Combined Secretariat.

Also representing the Bangsamoro Government were Senior Minister Abdulrauf Macacua; MILF PIP Chair Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education; Minister Architect Eduard Guerra of the Ministry of Public Works; Minister Atty. Raissa Jajurie of the Ministry of Social Services and Development; Minister Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas of the Ministry of Health; Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba, BARMM Attorney General; and Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Asnin Pendatun. ###