MILF, Army, PNP members graduate from joint security training in Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) — One hundred fifty former Moro rebels, soldiers and police officers graduated Thursday from a 10-day training as members of the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST).

The trainees belonged to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), Philippine Army and Philippine National Police (PNP). They comprise the first batch of JPST graduates who completed the training at Old Maguindanao Provincial Capitol in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Representatives from the GPH-MILF Joint Normalization Committee, International Monitoring Team (IMT), the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, the International Decommissioning Body (IDB), the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines, and Maguindanao provincial officials were present during the ceremonies.

Seventy-five of the graduates from the MILF were with firearms and were decommissioned and presented to President Benigno Aquino III early this year.

JPST is one of the Transitional Components of Normalization identified as operating units composed of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the MILF’s BIAF. As one of the mechanisms stated in the Annex on Normalization, JPST shall work for the maintenance of peace and order and the stability of the areas mutually identified by the GPH and the MILF.

“You now have the reason to be happy because you were able to reap the fruits of your sacrifice. This kind of training is a great achievement and that, this achievement shall serve as a special tool and weapon in working for peace,” Toks Ibrahim of the MILF told the graduates.

“By this time, I am sure, we have shared ideas, knowledge and concepts that are important guide in the promotion of peace and development in Mindanao or of Bangsamoro Homeland,” he said of the MILF, Army and police graduates.

Senior Superintendent Greg Soliba, GPH-JPST Training Director and Oshama in Ali, MILF- Training Director, presented their respective graduates. They were confirmed by Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer for the GPH, and Mohammad Nasif, Co-Chair, JNC-MILF.

“Continue learning, and never stop from here, instead you must move forward in accordance with the peace process,” Ferrer said.

The graduates will be deployed in areas in the proposed Bangsamoro territory to serve as peacekeepers and ensure safety of everybody in their respective areas of assignment.

Leaders of the JPST are mandated to always coordinate with local police and military authorities to avoid unnecessary encounter or misencounter. (PNA)