Decommissioning builds goodwill among Mindanao people, leaders, says Fuentes

The recently-concluded first phase of decommissioning of combatants and firearms of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) builds goodwill among all the stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process, including the people and its leaders, a governor of a province listed in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement said recently.

South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes told media that the decommissioning of 145 men and 75 firearms of the MILF last Tuesday, June 16 in a ceremony at the Old Capitol Building in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao was a significant move on the part of the MILF.

The event was witnessed by President Benigno S. Aquino III together with Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and government chief negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, along with top Cabinet officials and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), leaders of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and members of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).

Fuentes said the start of the decommissioning program showed the sincerity of the MILF to the attainment of peace and development in Mindanao.

She urged the government to reciprocate the MILF’s show of sincerity by being resolute in pursuing the peace process.

The governor said she is in favor of the passage into law of the BBL, but also stressed the importance of ensuring its provisions remain in accordance with the Constitution.

The decommissioning process gained popular support from various groups as they lauded both the government and MILF panels for pursuing the cause of peace despite the snags in the BBL deliberations in Congress.