PASAY CITY (23 February 2023) – The Marcos Administration reaffirmed its full support to the Bangsamoro peace process, especially in helping uplift the lives of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and their families, and develop their areas into peaceful, progressive and resilient communities.

“Today is another demonstration of this administration’s commitment to taking material steps in ensuring that our countrymen in the Bangsamoro Region have their share of justice, peace and development,” said Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo, Jr. on Thursday during the 9th meeting of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Committee Mechanism on Normalization (ICCMN), the first to be held under the current administration.

“We recognize the contribution of the Normalization Program to the preservation of peace and the improvement of the quality of life of the Filipino people,” said Lagdameo, who also serves as ICCMN co-chair, as he lauded the body’s efforts to fast track the implementation of the Normalization Program.

“I am pleased with the developments of the mainstreaming of former combatants, including the continued disbandment of private armed groups, and transformation of MILF camps. On a larger lens, I note that this is considerable progress towards the planned implementation of the Exit Agreement by 2025,” he said.

He emphasized that providing sustainable livelihood to the former combatants is among Marcos administration’s main priorities.

Inclusivity and sustainable livelihood

“Furthermore, our administration is fully cognizant of the challenges brought about by our present economic conditions. The pursuit of an economic agenda aimed at inclusivity and sustainable livelihood development, as well as providing former combatants a stable means of reintegration as contributing members of the society, will always remain a top priority,” Lagdameo said.

He also told the ICCMN member-agencies “to ensure the availability of our nation’s resources to our fellow Filipinos.”

At least 30 government agencies have attended the meeting.

For his part, outgoing Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity, and Acting Defense Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said the ICCMN meeting reflects the government’s “collective commitment to the implementation of the Normalization Program in the Bangsamoro.”

Galvez called on the body’s members to “remain focused in fulfilling our commitments as we respond to the emerging realities on the ground.”

“With the gains we have achieved under the Bangsamoro peace process, there is a need for the ICCMN to sustain the momentum of all its initiatives, and make sure that they are making the greatest impact on the people we are serving — the Bangsamoro people,” he added.

The ICCMN’s sub-clusters reported on the major accomplishments made under the various components of the Normalization Program.

These sub-clusters include the Security Cluster headed by Presidential Assistant David B. Diciano; the Socioeconomic Cluster led by Ariel C. Hernandez; and the Confidence-building Measures and Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Clusters headed by Presidential Assistant Wilben M. Mayor.

Greater synergy

The ICCMN was created to ensure the timely, appropriate, and efficient implementation of the Normalization Program under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) through the close collaboration and greater synergy among national line agencies.

The body was established through Executive Order No. 79 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on April 24, 2019. To continue the gains of the ICCMN, the Marcos administration issued EO 6 last year, which strengthens the body.

The ICCMN is tasked to ensure a whole-of-government approach to generate funding and resources needed to implement the Normalization Program and fully transform the combatants and their families into peaceful and productive members of society.

The ICCMN is co-chaired by Lagdameo and Galvez. Acting Presidential Peace Adviser Isidro L. Purisima shall take over Galvez’ role as co-chair following his recent appointment as head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU). ###