PARANG, Maguindanao — What seemed unimaginable years ago is now a reality as former foes are now working side by side to bring peace to communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).
Seventy-seven members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 96 personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrived here to participate in the internal retooling of Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST).
They will be joined by 152 of their Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) counterparts during the JPST training of the second batch of JPST members, which started on yesterday.
Speaking at the opening of the retooling session, training director Lt. Col. Arnold Razote stressed the uniqueness of the JPST training wherein former adversaries on the battlefield will now work together to help maintain the peace and order in the Bangsamoro.
“The JPST training is a unique community policing training where contingents from the AFP, PNP, and MILF-BIAF shall undergo a one-month training program to enable them to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to make them a capable and dependable force to protect the gains of the peace process,” Razote said.
The internal retooling will prepare the AFP and PNP members for the JPST training, which will be conducted at Camp General Salipada K. Pendatun, PRO Barmm in Parang, Maguindanao.
Two hundred nineteen MILF-BIAF members completed their basic military training on August 27, 2019, which was held at the AFP’s Camp Lucero in Carmen, Cotabato Province.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) Director Wendell Orbeso, who heads the secretariat of the Joint Normalization Committee, emphasized the crucial role of JPST in ensuring the safety and security in their communities.
“The establishment and deployment of the JPST are very important in the maintenance of peace and order in the areas where the decommissioning processes and other normalization activities are happening,” Orbeso said.
The 6,000-strong JPSTs will be tasked to support the maintenance of peace and order and stability in areas mutually identified by the GPH and MILF, as the MILF combatants and their camps transition into peaceful and productive civilians and communities
The establishment of JPSTs is part of the Annex on Normalization under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the government and MILF in 2014.
Brig. Gen. Cesar De Mesa, chief of the AFP Peace and Development Office, stressed that government forces and the MILF-BIAF are now peace partners who are bound by the common goal of pushing forward the Bangsamoro peace process. (opapp)