COTABATO CITY—Fifty-three (53) Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) returnees underwent “Bantay Kapayapaan” training on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
The Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS) and the Philippine Army spearheaded the activity, which aims to transform former rebels to become agents of peace thru equipping them with knowledge and skills in peacebuilding.
“It is the Bangsamoro Government’s duty to safeguard and give new hope to all former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters, including the former BIFFs, who returned to the government,” MPOS Minister Hussein Muñoz said.
Apart from the training, MPOS also provided financial assistance amounting to Php10,000.00 to each BIFF returnee to support their livelihood, as provided in R.A. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
In his video message, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim commended the MPOS for all of its programs to sustain peace and order, and promote development in the region. One of these initiatives is the peacebuilding training.
“Our extension of financial aids to former local insurgents is a representation of our genuine commitment,” the Chief Minister said.
“First, include all stakeholders in peacebuilding program; second, recognize those who are willing to participate in new approach to fulfill our peace initiatives,” Ebrahim stressed.
“It is with our high honor and responsibility to fulfill the call of ending insurgencies in our region and take the path of peaceful resolution,” he further said.
A former returnee said: “Ang pinaka-masarap sa buong buhay ko [ay] noong ako ay hinatid at sinundo ng mga magulang ko noong ako’y nag-aaral pa. Ang experience na ‘yon ang nag-udyok sa akin na magbalik-loob sa gobyerno.”
To provide support to the ministry’s peace building undertakings, 6th ID Philippine Army BGen. Eduardo B. Gubat said they are committed to continue working with MPOS in attaining peace and safety in the region.
“Kami ay tuluy-tuloy na nakikiipag-ugnayan sa MPOS at ahensya ng BARMM na tumatalakay sa kapayapaan at seguridad ng buong rehiyon,” Gubat said.
“Nandito lang kami, handang tumulong sa lahat ng programa MPOS at BARMM sa pag-manage ng conflict areas at kung puwede sana maiwasan na natin ang kaguluhan,” he added. (Majid Nur/BIO)