BARMM official says around 1,000 MILF members to be granted amnesty

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2021 12:02 PM

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MANILA - Some 1,000 members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front who committed crimes for their political beliefs will be granted amnesty by President Rodrigo Duterte, an official of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said Friday.

BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said this was part of the normalization track of the comprehensive agreement on the fledgling self-governing region with the rebel group.

As a confidence-building measure, the amnesty proclamation encourages combatants to transition into civilian life, he said.

"The other one is if they are to participate in political exercises such as the right to vote or being voted for in the event they want to participate in the political process, [criminal] cases would affect their chances of running for public office," Sinarimbo told ANC.

The amnesty erases criminal liability and restores political rights of an individual.

Among those set to benefit from the proclamation are members of MILF's central committee and senior commanders, Sinarimbo said. 

Some of them are officials of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which serves as the interim government of the region, he added.

Sinarimbo hopes the process of amnesty proclamation, which had been delayed, will be completed quickly.

"There has been concern expressed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that some aspect of the agreement has been moving very, very slowly," he said. "Part of that is the issue on amnesty pardon. We’re happy this time amnesty has been proclaimed by the President."

BARMM is the region created in Mindanao out of the peace agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is seen as key to ending the decades-long rebellion in the restive south.

The region is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City and 63 barangays of North Cotabato.

Documents released on Tuesday showed Duterte has granted amnesty to members of several groups who committed crimes for their political beliefs.

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa–Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade Tabara Paduano Group and Communist Terrorist Group will also be granted amnesty.