Galvez Denies Corruption in MILF Combatants’ Decommissioning Process

Secretary Carlito Galvez, presidential adviser on the peace process, and Mohagher Iqbal, representing the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front respectively, lead the multisectoral stakeholders pledge of commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. PHOTOS BY J. GERARD SEGUIA
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MANILA, Philippines: Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has strongly denied allegations of corruption in the decommissioning process of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants. In a recent hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace Unification and Reconciliation, Galvez dismissed the claims made by several senators as “malicious” and “baseless.”

During the hearing, Senator Raffy Tulfo raised concerns about a perceived “discrepancy” in the cash assistance provided to the decommissioned combatants. Galvez clarified that the cash assistance, amounting to P100,000 for each combatant, is part of the socioeconomic package under the Normalization Program of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Galvez emphasized that the allegations of corruption are unfounded and an affront to both the agency and the decommissioned combatants. He stated, “To accuse us of such is not only an affront against our agency but also to the decommissioned combatants as well.”

It is important to note that the decommissioning process for former MILF combatants is distinct from the national government’s other interventions, such as the Balik-Baril Program and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP). The decommissioning process, which involves the surrender of weapons and the transition to civilian life, is being overseen by the foreign-led International Decommissioning Body (IDB).

According to Galvez, a total of 26,132 MILF combatants have undergone the decommissioning process, along with the surrender of 4,625 weapons. The IDB, with its international expertise, ensures the transparency and integrity of the decommissioning process.

Galvez’s denial of corruption in the decommissioning process is significant, as it addresses concerns raised by members of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace Unification and Reconciliation. By clarifying the purpose of the cash assistance and highlighting the distinction between the decommissioning process and other government interventions, Galvez aims to dispel any doubts regarding the integrity of the program.

Transparency and accountability are crucial in peace-building efforts, especially in a complex and sensitive context like the Philippines. The Normalization Program, as part of the CAB, plays a vital role in ensuring the successful transition of MILF combatants to civilian life. It is essential that the process is free from any form of corruption or mismanagement.

It is worth noting that the allegations made during the Senate hearing are serious and should be thoroughly investigated. However, Galvez’s denial provides a counterpoint to these allegations, asserting the integrity of the decommissioning process and the commitment of the Presidential Peace Adviser’s office to the peace-building efforts in the region.

As the decommissioning process continues and more combatants transition to civilian life, it is crucial for the government and the international community to maintain vigilance and ensure that the process remains transparent and accountable. This will not only contribute to the successful implementation of the peace agreement but also foster trust and confidence among all stakeholders involved.

In conclusion, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.’s denial of corruption in the decommissioning process of MILF combatants is a significant response to the allegations raised during the Senate hearing. By providing clarity on the purpose of the cash assistance and emphasizing the distinction between the decommissioning process and other government interventions, Galvez aims to address concerns and maintain the integrity of the Normalization Program. Transparency and accountability are crucial in peace-building efforts, and it is essential to ensure that the process remains free from corruption or mismanagement.

Source: The Manila Times

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