Sunday, February 16, 2020

First barracks for decommissioned weapons completed

From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 16, 2020): First barracks for decommissioned weapons completed (By Argyll Cyrus Geducos)

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has turned over to Camp Abubakar, Maguindanao the first of 11 Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) barracks that will house weapons turned over by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Bangsamoro.

According to OPAPP Undersecretary David Diciano the turnover of the facility symbolized the government’s desire to ensure the implementation of the security component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The decommissioned weapons you will be securing here in this camp represents the decades of armed struggle of the Bangsamoro People. And now that they have been put to rest, they will serve as a reminder to all of us of the sacrifices made by our Moro brothers and sisters in order to uplift the lives of their people,”
he said.

“The laying down of these firearms is concrete proof of the Bangsamoro People’s trust and confidence in the peace agreement forged between the government and the MILF,” he added.

According to the OPAPP, the barracks are being constructed with funding support from the agency, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Support to Peacebuilding and Normalization (SPAN) Programme.

The facility will serve as the headquarters of the first JPST team which has been tasked to safeguard weapons turned over by MILF rebels who have undergone the process of decommissioning.

The JPST team, composed of 15 members each from the MILF-BIAF, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), has been deployed in the area for almost a week.

The barracks was turned over to newly-installed Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) co-chair BGen Francisco Ariel Felicidario III of the AFP.

Meanwhile, Diciano pointed out that the numerous accomplishments in the Bangsamoro peace process were achieved because of the unwavering support and commitment coming from the government’s various local and international peace partners.

“The major milestones we have achieved in the Bangsamoro Peace Process over the years are largely due to the support coming from our local and international peace partners who share our belief that the only way to resolve the armed conflict in Mindanao is by walking the path of peace,” he said.

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