Philippines peace adviser oversees rebel reintegration

A seven-member independent decommissioning body with representatives from Turkey, Norway, Brunei, the Philippines and the MILF will oversee the process. (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 June 2019

Philippines peace adviser oversees rebel reintegration

  • Under the first stage, 30 percent of the MILF fighting force will be decommissioned this year

MANILA: The decommissioning of 12,000 separatist fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will start in September, a senior Philippines government adviser told Arab News on Monday.

Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said that members of the government panel implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro have begun talks with communities in the six MILF camps.

The agreement was signed by the government and the MILF in 2014, and includes ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao. 

“There are about 40,000 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) members due for decommissioning and this will be done in three stages,” Hermoso said.

A seven-member independent decommissioning body with representatives from Turkey, Norway, Brunei, the Philippines and the MILF will oversee the process.

 

Stages

Under the first stage, about 12,000 BIAF members, or 30 percent of the MILF fighting force, will be decommissioned this year.

Asked when decommissioning will start, Hermoso said that “they are looking at September, but no date has been set.”

The second stage will include the decommissioning of 35 percent of BIAF members after a Bangsamoro police force is established. 

Decommissioning of remaining MILF fighters will take place when the government and MILF panels have signed an exit document confirming that all their agreements have been implemented.

As chair of the joint peace and security committee, Hermoso is in charge of bringing fighters to processing centers and then returning them to their communities.

The 12,000 BIAF members have already  surrendered their high-powered firearms, he said.

Experts on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration will oversee decommissioning of combatants, while joint peace and security teams will secure the processing areas.

Decommissioned fighters will be profiled to help integration into their communities.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved a wide-ranging government plan to aid former combatants, their families and their communities during the transition process.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the normalization process will address the “drivers and triggers” that breed conflict in Mindanao communities.

He said this would take place “by eliminating the conditions and vulnerabilities for potential conflict, changing the behavioral patterns and mindset of individuals and organizations, and pushing them to work to achieve harmony, interdependence, and the common good.”


Indonesia president may delay cabinet announcement to Wednesday

Updated 2 min 27 sec ago

Indonesia president may delay cabinet announcement to Wednesday

  • Mahfud told reporters he was asked by the president if he was ready to serve, but was not told what post he could be given
  • Some media reports have suggested Prabowo Subianto could serve as defense minister
JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo may delay announcing his cabinet until Wednesday morning, according to Mahfud MD, a former head of the Constitutional Court, who said he was interviewed for a post at the palace on Monday.

Mahfud told reporters he was asked by the president if he was ready to serve, but was not told what post he could be given.

“On Wednesday, we are all invited to be announced to all of you, we were called one by one today,” Mahfud told Kompas TV at the presidential palace, adding that a swearing in was scheduled at 9 a.m. (0200 GMT) Wednesday.

He said he discussed with Widodo topics ranging from politics to law enforcement, corruption, human rights and religion.

On Sunday, Widodo said he planned to introduce ministers in his cabinet for a second term on Monday morning. No official announcement has been made on the cabinet.

Several other potential candidates visited the palace on Monday morning, including Nadiem Makarim, the chief executive of Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek, who has been linked in the media as a possible post in a new digital economy ministry or in education.

“I have received a big honor to be able to join the cabinet of the president,” Makarim told reporters at the presidential palace. He also said he has resigned from Gojek.

Makarim said his specific role would be announced by the president later in the week. Gojek, which is valued at $10 billion, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on who would succeed Makarim.

Widodo’s election campaign manager Erick Thohir, who is chairman of media business Mahaka Media, was also at the palace. Shares of Mahaka Media soared 20 percent on Monday on expectations that Thohir, a former chairman of Italian football club Inter Milan, joining the cabinet.

Widodo has previously said that respected finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati would retain a position in the cabinet, but gave no further details.

The president has also been meeting with opposition leaders and some media reports have suggested Prabowo Subianto, who was the sole challenger in April’s bitterly fought presidential poll, could serve as defense minister.