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Former fighters ready for decommissioning

By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .

Maguindanao — Babu Psung, 60, from Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao, will be among the hundreds of Bangsamoro residents who will be witnessing the landmark occasion. She is the wife of a grizzled MILF combatant.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro provides for the full disarmament and demobilization of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force after the full implementation of the peace deal. MindaNews file photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno

In an interview, she shared her journey from being a perennial evacuee or “bakwit” of armed conflict to becoming a catalyst of peace and development. She attributes this life-changing transformation to the gains of the peace process.

Babu Psung recalled how she and her family lived in constant fear of when the next armed conflict will break out in the community. She had never gotten used to the sound of gunfire although her husband had been a combatant long before they were married.

This is the reason why she could not hold back her tears when she learned that her family will finally be leaving behind a dark chapter in their lives.

With the formal decommissioning of her husbands and thousands of MILF fighters, she believes that the Bangsamaoro people can look ahead to a brighter future.

“We already learned that this (decommissioning) will put weapons beyond use. This is not to surrender them but just to set them aside,” she said in the dialect.

Asked about her expectations on how the next steps of the process will affect them, she answered that the next phase is the implementation of projects for all. These are not dole outs but livelihood projects that will benefit everyone.

In conclusion, she said her whole family and the rest of their community fully support the Normalization Track, adding they are ready and excited for the decommissioning process to begin.

Former fighters:

We are ready

Meanwhile, among the combatants who are set to undergo the decommissioning process is Bapa Imam, 60, who became a combatant since the Martial Law era.

Imam recounted the hardships he and his comrades experienced during the decades-long armed struggle.

“Battles were intense during those times. It was a hard time for us,” he said.

When asked on how he felt that the Bangsamoro people have achieved their long held dream of genuine and meaningful self-governance and will be part of the decommissioning process, he said “We feel genuinely happy that we are able to witness [these milestones].” (with reports from opapp)

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