Top Army, ex-MILF commanders trained on disaster response

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 17 August) – They used to be enemies, the brains behind the attacks and the counter attacks and the grand plan to defeat each other.

But now things are different, over a year after the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has been created with the ratification of Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law during a plebiscite last year.

To sustain the gains of the peace process, elements of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and field commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) completed a two-day executive course and simulation training on Incident Command System (ICS) on Sunday.

The program, dubbed as “Sindaw nu Kalilintad” (Light of Peace), aims to build a stronger partnership, management and cooperation in the Bangsamoro region and capacitate the participants to save lives and properties during man-made and natural calamities.

The former archenemies ate and slept together inside the military camp, sharing notes and experiences — the exact opposite for decades before BARMM was created last year as an offshoot of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was forged in 2014.

During the training, the participants were given tasks and underwent simulation exercises on what to do during terror attacks, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and pandemic like the COVID-19.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM interior minister, said they can use the members of both sides to enhance disaster response in the region.

“They showed good cooperation and if we can build and sustain their rapport, we can be more effective in responding to natural and man-made disasters, including COVID-19 and our perennial flooding problem,” he said in Filipino.

Providing training support were members of the BARMM Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence or BARMM READi and the BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government.

Major General Diosdado Carreon, 6th ID chief, said that with the training, he sees “a well-equipped disaster responders.”

“We have seen how you worked shoulder to shoulder during our joint peace and security training and deployment, this is a testament of how the Bangsamoro peace agreement has become,” Carreon said.

Abdulraof Macacua, BARMM executive secretary and the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) chief, said that before the training was materialized, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, popularly known as Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, had envisioned that one day the government forces and MILF members will be working together for the common good.

Toks Ebrahim, MILF Joint Normalization Committee secretariat head, said he learned a lot from the training, aside from the camaraderie they established with the top military officials in the region.

“Because of the training, we can coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the local government units, no matter the magnitude of the incident,” he said in Filipino.

 

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