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National task force disbands 14 private armed groups in BARMM, Region 12

The National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups disbanded 14 groups operating in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Region 12.

In a statement, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the NTS-DPAGs exceeded its initial target of five private armed groups this year.

Interior Secretary, Eduardo Año, NTF-DPAGs chairman, said the feat can be attributed to the whole-of-government, whole-of-nation approach adopted by the task force in combating PAGs.

“By synergizing as one government, we were able to exceed our normalization target for 2021… Trust that the Department of the Interior and Local Government is fully on board in this whole-of-nation battle to dismantle PAGs not just in the south, but also in the rest of the archipelago,” Año said.

Presidential Peace Adviser and NTF-DPAGs special adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also highlighted the need for the group to intensify its operations, especially since tensions related to the upcoming May 2022 elections are starting to brew in communities.

“What is crucial at this point is to sustain the gains we have achieved over the past year and disband the three remaining PAGs we have identified. We cannot allow these lawless groups to sow fear, mistrust, and violence among our people. The NTF-DPAGs must therefore be more vigilant and ensure that next year’s political exercise will be safe, peaceful, and orderly,” he said.

The government’s program on the disbandment of PAGs is being carried out through the security component of the normalization track under the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014. — DVM, GMA News