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Details of 'decommissioning' of MILF arms, forces approved in talks in Kuala Lumpur


While Filipinos mourn the 44 police Special Action Force officers who died in a clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, government and Moro Islamic Liberation Fund negotiators approved on Thursday the details of how the MILF members' weapons will be decommissioned through a process by which the arms will be “turned in...kept and put beyond use.”
 
In a statement issued shortly after the signing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  of the “protocol on implementing the decommissioning of MILF arms and forces”, negotiators for both sides said they “support the conduct of investigations by the Board of Inquiry and the MILF's Special Investigative Commission.”
 
The negotiators also said that despite the Mamasapano clash and its repercussions they “reaffirmed their commitment to peace that has long eluded Mindanao.”
 
President Benigno Aquino III revealed on Wednesday the creation of and the start of the probe by the BOI on the Mamasapano clash. In a separate press briefing, MILF chairman Al Haj Murad disclosed the formation of the SIC and initial details of its tasks.
 
Reporting from Kuala Lumpur, GMA News' Joseph Morong said on the newscast "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho" that the protocol lays out the process and steps for the following:
 
  • MILF inventory of their arms and Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) personnel
  • International Decommissioning Body (IDB) verification of the MILF inventory
  • Ceremonial turnover of weapons
  • MILF submission to IDB of a list on where their BIAF forces are deployed
  • Where and how the MILF arms will be kept and put beyond use.
 
Joseph Morong also reported that the initial turnover of weapons involves “20 crew-served weapons and 55 high-powered firearms” held by the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.


 
 
In a news release prior to the protocol signing, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) referred to an assurance by MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that the symbolic turnover ceremony of the firearms “will take place (at) the soonest possible time.”
 
Earlier, the OPAPP also said IDB “will supervise the processing of combatants who will be decommissioned and assisted in their transformation to productive civilian lives.”
 
Diplomats and experts comprise the IDB, which is led by a diplomat from Turkey and has members from Norway and Brunei, and four other local experts jointly nominated by the parties.
 
The OPAPP identified the chair and members of the IDB: Ambassador Haydar Berk who formerly served as Turkish representative to the North Atlantic Council (NATO) and current advisor of Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs;  Jan Erik Wilhemsen, a retired brigadier general from Norway who was part of UN peacekeeping forces in Honduras, El Salvador, Central Sudan, Nigeria, and Nepal; Major Muhammad Aiman Syazwi Bin Haji Abdul Rahim of the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF); and local experts, namely, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines LtGen. Rey Ardo, Dr. Mario Aguja, Von Al-Haq, ‎and Isah Bato.  — ELR/JDS, GMA News
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