NORMALIZATION PROCESS. Rowaida Taha, a former member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Women's Auxiliary Brigade (BIWAB) in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao, receives PHP100,000 worth of transitional cash assistance. Taha said she will use the money for her grandchildren's education and starting a business. (Photo courtesy of OPAPRU)

MANILA — Some 1,950 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have successfully participated in the third phase of decommissioning process for the first quarter this year under the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

In a social media post on Monday, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) said the decommissioned combatants from February 15 to March 1 have each received PHP100,000 worth of transitional cash assistance, through the Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC).

Part of the socioeconomic package is the PHP80,000 worth of Bangsamoro Transitory Family Support (BTFS) Package they can use for their basic needs such as food, hygiene kits, sleeping materials, kitchen and shelter kits, as well as medical, educational, and transportation allowances.

They also get PHP20,000 worth of Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) for seed capital to start up a micro-enterprise or to purchase starter kits for their future businesses.

The data from the OPAPRU showed 5,250 MILF combatants already underwent the third phase of the decommissioning process from November to December last year.

Some 19,345 former combatants have already been through the two phases and first part of the third phase of decommissioning process since 2015 as to date.

Another 14,000 MILF members are scheduled to be decommissioned this year.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, all MILF combatants scheduled for decommissioning were subjected to pre-health screening and antigen Covid-19 testing, before proceeding to the assembly and processing area site for decommissioning, followed by a needs assessment of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the TFDCC.

After the on-site validation process, former combatants will be referred to the concerned government agencies for appropriate interventions and services.

The decommissioning process is one of the key provisions of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement forged between the government and MILF in 2014 that aims to empower former MILF combatants in their transitioning as "peaceful and productive civilians," including the provision of health, technical and livelihood services. (PNA)