Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minster Ahod 'Kagui Murad' Ebrahim. (Photo courtesy of Bangsamoro Information Office-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remains committed to the peace deal it signed with the national government, including the decommissioning of its combatants, a top Bangsamoro region official said Wednesday.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim issued the remarks after four of five BARMM provincial governors urged for the suspension of this year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in the area pending the completion of the decommissioning process.

“Like them, we also wanted to speed up the decommissioning process but remember we are doing our part and the government is also doing its part,” Ebrahim said over a radio interview here.

Ebrahim said blaming the MILF for the rising criminality in Mindanao is unfair. He did not elaborate.

Nevertheless, the MILF leader said cases of violence in the BARMM dropped after the national government and MILF signed a peace deal in 2014.

Ebrahim also called on the national government for the disbandment of private armed groups (PAGs), which he said is allegedly controlled by politicians in BARMM.

It was common knowledge, he said, that BARMM that politicians maintain PAGs to protect their interests. Ebrahim did not name names.

Mohaqher Iqbal, BARMM education minister and former chief MILF negotiator, said private armed groups of "traditional politicians should be disbanded and demobilized."

“As stated in the agreement, the government’s deliverables, among others, is the disbandment of politicians’ private armies,” Iqbal said, adding that the MILF expects the disbandment of PAGs as soon as possible.

He also rejected claims that crimes are rising in areas near MILF camps.

BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi, and Lamitan. (PNA)