15 private armed groups in Mindanao neutralized: OPAPRU

Politics

The National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (NTF-DPAGs) has neutralized some 15 private armed groups (PAGs) in Mindanao, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace, Reconciliation and Unity reported on Thursday.

In a social media post, the OPAPRU described the latest development as proof that the peacekeepers in Mindanao continue to sustain gains in their efforts within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and other areas in Mindanao.

Presidential peace adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the OPAPRU is committed to continuing to support the efforts of NTF-DPAGs member agencies.

“We believe that by complementing and boosting each other’s efforts, we will be able to realize our collective goal of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro,” Galvez said in his message during the recent NTF-DPAGs oversight committee meeting.

Police Lt. Gen. Jose Chiquito Malayo, commander of Task Force Western Mindanao, reported that the 15 disbanded PAGs were composed of 93 members having 85 firearms in total.

The task force was initially monitoring 18 PAGs and dismantled 15 of them operating within the BARMM.

Meanwhile, Task Force Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Manuel Abu reported that there are no more PAGs operating both in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) and Region 11 (Davao region).

“The task force has been focusing more on non-partisan, proactive measures [by] continuously monitoring to neutralize armed conflict in the upcoming local and national elections through a series of Peace Covenant Signing of Political Candidates in the region,” Abu said.

During the meeting, the implementing rules and operational guidelines of the NTF-DPAGs were also amended to ensure the task force will further carry out more effective, responsive, and updated peace-keeping initiatives in Mindanao.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año thanked members of Task Force Western Mindanao, which led the disbandment of these 15 PAGs in the Bangsamoro region.

Año emphasized the need “to eliminate the private armed groups altogether and discourage political families” to create one for their personal interests, especially during elections.

The creation of the NTF-DPAGs is among the peacekeeping initiatives being implemented through the security component of the normalization track under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

It is also in charge of policy, planning, and implementation of the program for the disbandment of the PAGs, including coordination with the relevant bodies pursuant to the CAB and other entities as may be necessary, in accordance with the schedule provided in the Annex on Normalization.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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