By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

The first batch of 102 Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front recruits took their oath as members of the Philippine National Police on Aug. 10, 2023. (Photo courtesy of PRO Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) 

MANILA – Some 294 new police recruits, who were former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), took their oath as members of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) on Thursday at Camp Pendatun, Parang, Maguindanao del Norte.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos welcomed to the country’s police force the new recruits composed of 255 men and 39 women under the MILF and MNLF recruitment program.

He congratulated the new members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and urged them to live by the PNP’s mantra to serve and protect the Filipino people.

“The uniform you are wearing now does not symbolize authority. It’s not all about prestige. Ang mas mahalaga (More importantly), it represents a commitment to uphold the rule of law as well as a promise to serve the community with honor and integrity” Abalos said in his message.

Abalos challenged the recruits to finish the training program and serve as inspirations to other MILF and MNLF members in attaining peace and sustainable development.

Marami na kayong pinagdaanan at ipangako n’yo sa akin na hindi na kayo aatras (You have been through a lot and promise me that you will not back down),” he said.

The new recruits will fill the 400 slots alloted under the MILF and MNLF Recruitment Program for CY 2023. They will undergo a six-month field training program.

The recruits hurdled the PNP’s rigid recruitment process, including passing the special qualifying eligibility examination and physical agility test.

They also passed comprehensive medical assessments comprising psychological and psychiatric examinations and drug tests.

The entry of former MILF and MNLF members into the PNP is covered by Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which was enacted after the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

The first batch of 102 MILF and MNLF recruits took their oath as members of the PNP last August 10.

In May 2022, around 7,000 of 11,000 MNLF and MILF members passed a special qualifying eligibility examination to join the PNP.

The applicants would have to pass the body mass index test, physical agility test, psychological examination and physical and dental examination. (PNA)