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Monday, June 24, 2024

Ex-MILF fighters drop nom de guerre, get birth certificates, legal identities

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Former members of the Muslim separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can now drop their non de guerre or war names and use anew their legal identities.

This after the erstwhile MILF combatants received their Certificates of Live Birth through the ‘Access to Legal Identity and Social Services for Decommissioned Combatants’ (ALIAS-DC) Project.

ALIAS-DC aims to resolve legal identity issues confronting the ex-fighters and facilitate their acquisition of Certificates of Live Birth, which is a fundamental requirement for government recognition and provision of services.

The project is being implemented by the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment Through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Program, and funded by the European Union, Australian Embassy  in the Philippines, Japan, and The Asia Foundation.

ALIAS-DC is set to be rolled out in the MILF six-acknowledged camps in Lanao province, Maguindanao and Cotabato. It is among the commitments made by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) under the Normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The GPH, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, and the MILF are providing oversight to the civil registration project via the Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC) in coordination with the Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation.

In particular, the GPH and MILF, through the TFDCC, provides overall direction to the interventions being carried out under ALIAS-DC.

Ten months after the project’s launching, IDEALS was able to accommodate 35,665 civil registration applications, which is 112% of its 31,715 target.

For Acting Presidential Adviser Secretary Isidro Purisima the civil registration project under Alias-DC is part of the social protection program for decommissioned MILF combatants, that “aims to help them establish their legal identity, and consequently, facilitate their return to mainstream society.”

“Sa pamamagitan ng proyektong ito, mabibigyang kilanlan ang ating mga kapatid na MILF. Dahil dito ay magkakaroon na sila kapasidad na magsagawa ng mga legal na transaksyon sa iba’t-ibang ahensya ng

gobyerno at makatanggap ng socio-economic assistance mula sa mga ito tulad ng philhealth coverage, scholarship grants at marami pang iba,” Purisima said.

The Peace Adviser is also optimistic that with the continuing peacebuilding initiatives being provided to the MNLF members, the will develop a “reformed and renewed mindset” as they fully reintegrate into mainstream society.

“The transformation process goes beyond monetary value…[It is] more of a mind setting, to take away ng concept of a combatant to peaceful civilian life,” he added.

Continuous support from the international partners

Jennifer Benneth of the Australian Embassy said that as she nears the end of her tour of duty in the country, she is “honored to be an envoy of Australia’s contribution to the peace process”

Benneth gave the assurance that Australia is fully committed to supporting the national and Bangsamoro  governments in sustaining and building on the gains of the peace process.

According to MILF Commander and now Member of the Parliament Abdullah Macapaar, now that his MILF comrades can acquire their Certificates of Live Birth, they can already live “normal and productive lives as members of civil society afterwards.”

COLB, ticket to employment, education opportunities

Aminah Abdullah, 25, who is  married to a decommissioned combatant with three children, said that she is looking forward to finding employment opportunities now that has her Certificate of Live Birth.

“Malaking tulong po ito sa akin. Kahit anong papasukan mo na trabaho, madali nalang,” she noted.

Abdullah, who has already applied for her National ID, shared that she has already been provided a temporary ID with the help of ALIAS-DC.

For Salam Buanding, having her Certificate of Live Birth will be her “ticket” to completing her college education.” She is a first year college student in Iligan City taking up Bachelor of Science in Education.

“Gaya ng gusto kong magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, meron na akong maipapakitang birth certificate,” she said.

“Valid ID na rin po ito para may maipakita akong [pagkakakilanlan] ko,” she explained.

Buanding thanked the national government and the international donor community for launching ALIAS-DC, as she called on her fellow Bangsamoro brothers and sisters to avail of the project and secure a better and brighter future for themselves and their families.

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