MILF starts training Bangsamoro police force

By Jaime Laude, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 31 2012 04:06 AM | Updated as of Oct 31 2012 12:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Bangsamoro police force has started training in anticipation of the full implementation of the framework agreement with the government.

The STAR saw video footage in Cotabato showing unarmed Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members listening intently to lectures on future duties and functions when the framework agreement for a Bangsamoro region becomes fully operational.

A security official said he does not see anything wrong with the training.

“They (MILF) are simply preparing for the gigantic role they would play once the peace pact is finally forged,” the official said.

Under the framework agreement, the parties agreed that the MILF will undertake a graduated program to decommission its forces.

In return, the government, in a phased and gradual manner, will transfer law enforcement from the military to a Bangsamoro police force.

Both parties agreed that “it is essential that policing structure and arrangement are such that the police service is professional and free from partisan political control.”

The police system shall be civilian in character “so that it is effective and efficient in law enforcement, fair and impartial as well as accountable under the law for its action, responsible both to the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and to the communities it serves.”

While training of the Bangsamoro police force is underway, most communities in Cotabato are in a festive mood as the joint government-MILF information drive on the framework agreement is now in full swing.

On Monday, officials Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, along with various peace stakeholders, traveled through bumpy roads to Aleosan town, tagging along the government’s celebrity peace ambassadors.

Aleosan Mayor Loreto Cabaya said the visit of the peace ambassadors is an eagerly awaited event. “Their visit tells us that peace, that hope is in the air, that we are not forgotten,” he said. – With Roel Pareño