COTABATO CITY – More than 11,000 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) took the National Police Commission’s (Napolcom) Special Qualifying Eligibility Examination (NSQEE) for them to become part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), a top police official said Monday.
Maj. Gen. Eden Ugale, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, said the NSQEE was simultaneously held in this city and Lamitan City in Basilan on Sunday.
“The exams were held in Cotabato City for applicants coming from the mainland provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, and in Lamitan City for those residing in the island provinces of the region,” Ugale said in an interview.
Passing the NSQEE confers one of the requirements for qualified MILF and MNLF members to join the PNP as stated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
BOL is the enabling law that implements the political track under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a landmark peace deal signed by Manila and MILF.
"The GPH AHJAG commends the smooth and orderly conduct of the NSQE exam, which we owe much to the joint efforts of the national and Bangsamoro governments through the Napolcom, PNP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and other members of the Inter-Governmental Relations Body," Ugale said.
Oting Otto, 33, an MILF member from Saranggani, is thankful to the government for allowing him to pursue his dream to become a policeman.
“Napakasaya ko po na isa ako sa mga nabigyan ng oportunidad na makapag-exam kasi matagal ko narin pong pangarap maging pulis. Pero financially, mahirap kaya ‘di ako nakapag-aral maging pulis. Kahit hindi tayo pulis ay tumutulong naman tayo sa community. Pero mas lalo tayong mas makakatulong pa pag ganap na tayong pulis (I am very happy that I am one of those who were given the opportunity to take the exam. I have long dreamed of becoming a police officer but it is financially difficult so I was not able to study to become a police officer. Even though we are not police officers, we help the community. But we can help even more once we are full-fledged police officers),” he said in an interview with the staff of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.
Johanna Mohammad said authorities assisted them all the way.
“Maayos naman po ang pag-review at process namin hanggang sa pag-exam po namin. Maganda rin ang pag-assist nila sa amin. Maswerte po ako kasi isa po akong nabigyan nitong oportunidad po na ito para po masali po dito and sana po makapasa na rin po. Unang una po, para po ito sa pamilya ko at para rin po sa akin para po maabot ko rin po ang pangarap ko po (Our review and process was good until we were able to take the exam. They were also nice to assist us. I'm lucky because I was given this opportunity to participate in this and I hope I can pass as well. First of all, this is for my family and also for me so that I can also reach my dream),” she said.
Prior to examination day, a three-day orientation workshop for MILF and MNLF commanders was held in April, to brief them on the guidelines that must be complied with by the applicants upon entering PNP.
Legacy of peace
Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier assured the MILF and MNLF members who wish to join the PNP that the government will comply with the provisions of the peace deal, including the integration of qualified members to the PNP.
"By joining the PNP, these MILF and MNLF members are not only demonstrating their commitment to return to mainstream society as peaceful and productive civilians but also their desire to help ensure peace and security in their communities,” Galvez said in a statement Sunday.
“This is the legacy of peace that the Duterte administration would like to leave behind, which we hope the incoming administration will sustain and continue to build on in the coming years,” he added. (With a report from Lade Jean Kabagani/PNA)