MANILA – Senator Ronald Dela Rosa brought up on Wednesday to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) that he discovered an ongoing recruitment scheme in Mindanao using the Moro National Liberation Front's (MNLF) name to avail of the benefits being provided by the government to the group.

Dela Rosa made the warning during the OPAPRU's budget deliberation, revealing that there are even cases wherein MNLF's name is also being used in land grabbing.

"Maraming mga grupo na ganon doon (There are a lot of groups there). I am just giving you the idea. Baka mamaya, ma-encounter mo itong mga grupong ito (Maybe, you could even encounter these groups) using the name of the MNLF for economic gains," the lawmaker told OPAPRU Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr.

The OPAPRU chief nodded in agreement and cited a case filed by the agency to people who were recruiting in Zamboanga City even way back at the height of the Marawi siege.

Galvez said the people behind the bogus recruitment were sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

"To safeguard our government programs for the MNLF, doon tayo sa kampo nagbibigay ng (we go in their camps to give the) benefits. Talagang ini-iscrutinize natin yung (We really scrutinize the) identity," Galvez said, adding that OPAPRU even taps the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the academe to verify the identities of the MNLF beneficiaries.

Under the 2023 National Expenditure Program, the OPAPRU was approved with PHP1.891 billion budget.

However, the agency is requesting an additional PHP608 million to be used in its National Amnesty, Social Healing and Peacebuilding, GPH-MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) peace process, and GPH-MNLF peace process initiatives. (PNA)