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The Marcos administration was committed to implementing all peace agreements that had been made.

The Marcos administration is committed to building on the successes of the overall Philippine peace process by maintaining its momentum and moving on with the implementation of all signed peace agreements.

This was stressed to attendees of the Mindanao Development Forum 2023 organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) on May 18 by Secretary Isidro Purisima, Presidential Peace Advisor.

In his discussion with leaders of national line agencies, the official development aid (ODA) community, and the diplomatic corps, Purisima highlighted that peace and development “must always go hand in hand” and should be pursued with the “same level of intensity and vigor” in a statement.

He stated that the island region is now reaping the benefits of peace, as shown, among other things, by the declining poverty rates in Bangsamoro and the choice of former rebels to put down their weapons and submit to the rule of law.

Purisima stated that this is why the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) is using cross-cutting tactics to implement a comprehensive, open, human rights-based, and people-centered peace and security policy.

Additionally, he said that the current government’s Philippine Development Plan 2023–2028 is closely aligned with all of OPAPRU’s peacebuilding interventions, particularly in Mindanao’s conflict-vulnerable and conflict-affected areas.

He stated that the agency’s priority in carrying out the Bangsamoro peace process is ensuring that former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants may properly reintegrate into society.

According to Purisima, “its community-driven approach” will enable combatants, their families, and communities to change meaningfully.

Additionally, he stated that “the peacebuilding process involves all members of the community, particularly local government entities, and residents.”

The third phase of the decommissioning of MILF fighters will resume this year under the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), as deactivated soldiers and their families are now receiving socioeconomic support.

Purisima claimed that OPAPRU is also converting 33 core barangays and six government-recognized MILF camps into zones of peace and development through the Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities.

He added that the remaining obligations under the Final Peace Agreement that the national government had signed with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) must be fulfilled to foster healing and reconciliation in the Bangsamoro.

This year, the organization will launch a transformation program for MNLF members and their families to empower them to contribute actively to the socioeconomic development of the area and to become peaceful and productive members of society.

Purisima stated, “We are hopeful that we shall continue to achieve additional milestones under the Bangsamoro peace process with the reunification of the MILF and MNLF under the Marcos Administration’s banner of unity.

He said that the OPAPRU is also carrying out a similar Transformation Program for KAPATIRAN and Cordillera Bodong Administration – Cordillera People’s Liberation Army personnel as part of its efforts to uphold its promises under peace agreements.

Purisima said that the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization was reconvened under the Marcos administration as part of the CAB’s political track to coordinate and mobilize the resources of the national government for the successful implementation of the Normalization Program.

Additionally, he stated that the Office of the President is now reviewing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the National Amnesty Commission (NAC), which its chairperson, attorney Leah Tanodra-Armamento, leads.

Purisima noted that once the NAC’s IRR is complete, it can fulfill its mandate to accept and review amnesty applications submitted by former (FRs) rebels through the Local Amnesty Board and establish their eligibility under Proclamation Nos. 1090 and 1091.

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