Moro Islamic Liberation Front, MNLF qualified members can join military vs. BIFF: Lorenzana

Qualified members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) could be absorbed in the military should the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) carry out its threat of intensifying its attacks following the House of Representatives ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Tuesday.

This was emphasized by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when asked on how the MILF and MNLF can help the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) fight the BIFF threat once they are disarmed and decommissioned.

“Several ways: we could absorb those qualified to join the AFP, or we could organize them into CAFGUs or SCAAs (Special CAFGUs),” he added.

The DND chief also said the government, through the AFP, is willing to intensify its operations against the BIFF should it carry out its threats to launch more attacks.

He added that they will seek the help of the MILF and MNLF to eliminate the above-mentioned threat.

Earlier, Lorenzana said he strongly welcomes the MILF’s announcement that it is willing to disarm and decommission over 30,000 to 40,000 of its fighters once the BOL is passed into law.

“(This announcement is) very much welcomed. If this happens peace will at last reign in the Muslim Mindanao area. The effect will be far reaching: the land and people will be more productive, investments will pour, infra development can proceed unimpeded,” he added.

The BOL seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The bicameral panel approved the reconciled version of the BOL last July 18 after six days of marathon hearings.

The bill provides for the 75-25 wealth-sharing term in favor of the Bangsamoro. This increases the share of the Bangsamoro in government tax revenues by five percent compared with the current 70 percent being received by the ARMM from national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, as well as taxes imposed on natural resources. PNA