Muslim women from several organizations in Metro Manila rally outside the Senate on Monday, January 26, to call for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said he is calling for the suspension of hearings on the BBL following the deaths of at least 37 policemen in an ambush on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by MILF fighters. (MNS photo)

Muslim women from several organizations in Metro Manila rally outside the Senate on Monday, January 26, to call for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said he is calling for the suspension of hearings on the BBL following the deaths of at least 37 policemen in an ambush on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by MILF fighters. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 28 (Mabuhay) – Amid questions on the stability of the peace process due to the Mamasapano bloodbath, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign this week a protocol to jumpstart the surrendering of arms from the rebels’ side.

In a statement from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the signing of the implementing guidelines will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

The decommissioning process is the surrendering of arms to the International Decommissioning Body, which will assist in the “transformation” of the rebels to becoming “productive” civilians.

These arms should not be used again, even by forces on the government side.

Coronel-Ferrer said both parties will also discuss plans for the turnover of the first batch of weapons to the body.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier said the MILF is ready turn over an initial 75 high-powered firearms and crew-served weapons.

“Ang signatories dito sa protocol implementing guidelines (ay) yung panel chairs, ang chair ng IDB at tsaka yung facilitator ng Malaysia,” Colonel-Ferrer said.

The seven-member body is headed by Ambassador Haydar Berk, former Turkish representative to the North Atlantic Council (NATO) and current advisor of Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He is joined by other international experts Jan Erik Wilhemsen, a retired brigadier general from Norway who was part of UN peacekeeping forces in Honduras, El Salavador, Central Sudan, Nigeria, and Nepal; Major Muhammad Aiman Syazwi Bin Haji Abdul Rahim of the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF); and local experts, namely, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines LtGen. Rey Ardo, Dr. Mario Aguja, Von Al-Haq ‎and Isah Bato.

On Wednesday morning, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim reiterated his group’s full commitment to the peace process amid the carnage that has befallen more than 40 of the country’s elite cops in an area the group allegedly holds.

In an official statement, Ebrahim said the MILF is convening a Special Investigative Commission (SIC) composed of members of the MILF Central Committee and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) General Staff to resolve issues surrounding the Sunday bloodbath that may affect the peace process.

“We hereby reiterate the MILF’s full commitment to the peace process with the Philippine Government. An enduring peace and justice remain to be our primary objective. In this regard, all actions and pronouncements of our political and military units of the MILF should advance and adhere to this primary objective as much as possible and with due regard to the safety and security of our people and communities,” he said.(MNS)