Duterte orders authorities to fast-track ‘normalization program’ with MILF » Manila Bulletin News

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Duterte orders authorities to fast-track ‘normalization program’ with MILF

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By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has ordered authorities to hasten the implementation of the “normalization program” under the government’s peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles (Federico Cruz / File | Manila Bulletin)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The normalization program includes the gradual decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons, delivery of socio-economic development projects, and transitional justice and reconciliation program.

“The President has directed all of us to focus on and step up normalization programs because he knows the success of these efforts is the key to establishing lasting peace in Mindanao,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement after the first meeting of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization last Monday.

Under the normalization program, Nograles said around 12,000 decommissioned combatants and their families would be given housing, livelihood aid, and other assistance to help them become productive members of society.

The government aid also includes skills development training, scholarships, employment opportunities, PhilHealth coverage, conditional cash transfers, and documentation such as birth certificates and postal IDs.

“The government’s priority after establishing the peace is to ensure a smooth transition for all those who have committed to helping the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the region,” he said.

At present, he said, they have started phase two of the decommissioning of MILF forces.

“We have targeted the decommissioning of 30% of combatants by 2019, 35% by next year, and the remainder by 2022. All the different government agencies involved in these efforts believe we can meet these timelines,” he said.

Last April, the President issued Executive Order No.79 to implement “annex of normalization” under the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the MILF.

The order stated the normalization program “covers the aspects of security, socio-economic development, sustainable livelihood, political participation, confidence-building, and transitional justice and reconciliation.”

The program will cover six recognized MILF camps and other locations of decommissioned combatants.

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