The government plans to integrate members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) into the Philippine National Police under the framework agreement reached by their peace panels, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

“A consultation will be held to map out the plan,” Gazmin told reporters at an award-giving ceremony for disaster response teams in Camp Aguinaldo, Wednesday.

The plan is part of reintegrating MILF fighters into the society after they disarm and de-mobilize, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, whose office supervises the police, said at the same event.

“‘Yung mga talagang mahuhusay at nagpapakita na marunong silang sumumod sa disciplines ng armed services ay maaring ma-integrate sa armed services din, whether that is in the AFP or in the PNP,” Roxas said.

Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, PNP spokesman, said the force will respect any agreement between the government and MILF if it is deemed to pave the way for peace in Mindanao.

“Kung ito ang magiging susi, kung magkakaroon po tayo ng sinasabi nating genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao, ay supportive po kami sa ganitong klase ng idea,” Cerbo said in a phone interview.

Reminded that some MILF members are facing criminal charges and included in the PNP’s most wanted list, Cerbo said: “‘Yan naman ay mapapag-usapan, kaya depende na rin kung ano ang mapagkakayarian ng both parties… kami naman ay open, sa ganitong usapin.”

Once the plan materializes, it will be the second time for the government to integrate members of a rebel group into its security forces.

In October 1996, then President Fidel Ramos ordered the integration of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerrillas into the Armed Forces of the Philippines after the government and MNLF reached a final peace agreement the previous month.

The agreement provided for the integration of 5,750 MNLF members into the AFP and auxiliary services.

Meanwhile, Gazmin assured that the government will address the MNLF’s concerns over the accord with the MILF.

“Magkakaroon din ng consultation sa kanila (MNLF), hindi naman basta isusubo sa kanila ‘yun, magkakaroon ng mga interactions,” the defense chief said.

Television and newspaper reports earlier quoted MNLF officials, including chairman Nur Misuari, as saying that the deal with the MILF violates the one with the MNLF.

“That is a remote possibility,” Gazmin said, when asked whether he thinks there will be hostilities with the MNLF. (John Roson)

– end –