Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Int'l arms decommissioning body visits MILF in south

From the Zamboanga Today Online (Jun 11): Int'l arms decommissioning body visits MILF in south

A group of foreign experts have visited the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the south as the country's House and Senate approved their versions of proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on third and final reading.

The delegation, composed of Turkey Ambassador to Luxenburg, Germany Levent Sahinkaya, other diplomats from Norway, Brunei and National staff representatives from the two parties (GPH-MILF), met with MILF Chairman Al haj Murad Ebrahim with some MILF Central Committee members and Officers of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) recently at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat.

Ambassador Sahinkaya, head of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB), expressed his group’s support to the peace process, and the passage of the BBL that is compliant to signed peace deals.
IDB is created by the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) to oversee the decommissioning of MILF Combatants once an acceptable Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed by congress, and approved in a plebiscite. It regularly coordinates with the MILF Central Committee to get updates on the progress of the GPH-MILF peace process.

The MILF turned over its first batch of arms on June 16, 2015, as the first phase of the decommissioning program began, in ceremonies witnessed by erstwhile President Aquino and foreign observers at the old Maguindanao Capitol, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

This aims to put the arms and forces of the rebel group beyond use as agreed by the Parties under the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The seventy-five (75) weapons from the one hundred forty-five (145) decommissioned Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) members are now in the hands of the IDP.

That time, the IDB was headed by Turkey’s former ambassador to NATO, Haydar Berk. Its other members were Jan Erik Wilhemsen from Norway, Maj. Muhammad Aiman Syazwi Bin Haji Abdul Rahim from Brunei, and local experts, AFP ret. Lt. Gen. Rey Ardor, Dr. Mario Aguja, Von Al-Haq and Jannati Mimbantas.

The MILF chair provided updates to the delegation on the general situation in Bangsamoro homeland for the mostly foreigner visitors, giving emphasis on the status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Al Haj Murad told the delegation that they are certain that something positive will come out from the Bicameral Conference of selected members of the House of Representatives and Senate and come up with an acceptable unified version.

He took note of varied efforts to keep BBL on track to the one drafted by Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The MILF chair expressed his gratitude for the visit, and assured the delegation that after the passage of the BBL the organization will comply with the Decommissioning and all Normalization processes.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Sahinkaya presented their accomplishment report to the MILF through Al Haj Murad, and their upcoming activities. Some outputs he shared are their visits made to some MILF Camps.

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