Military Reform: Mindanao Final Agreement

II. The Transitional Period

Article 20:

a. Five thousand seven hundred fifty (5,750) MNLF members shall be integrated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), 250 of whom shall be absorbed into the auxiliary services. The government shall exert utmost efforts to establish the necessary conditions that would ensure the eventual integration of the maximum number of the remaining MNLF forces into the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF) and other agencies and instrumentalities of the government. There shall be a special socioeconomic, cultural and educational program to cater to MNLF forces not absorbed into the AFP, PNP and the SRSF to prepare them and their families for productive endeavors, provide for educational, technical skills and livelihood training and give them priority for hiring in development projects.

Implementation History

1996

Minimum Implementation

The 1996 accord specified a plan to integrate at least 5, 750 MNLF combatants into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with another 250 to be drawn into auxiliary units. The agreement called for the eventual integration of the maximum number of remaining MNLF forces into the Special Regional Security Force (SRSF). In November of 1996, screening began for MNLF fighters to be integrated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Following the screening process, MNLF officers and soldiers entered a formal training program.1

  • 1. Macapado A. Muslim, "Sustaining the Constituency for Moro Autonomy, " in Compromising on Autonomy: Mindanao in Transition, ed. Mara Stankovitch (London: Conciliation Resources, 1999).
1997

Intermediate Implementation

As of April 1,274 applications had been processed. The first batch (1,211) to complete training consisted of 1,106 candidate soldiers and 105 candidate officers to be deployment in SZOPAD areas.2 

  • 2. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “Integration of MNLF Forces into the PNP and AFP: Integration without Demobilization and Disarmament," (Paper prepared for the conference The GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, Phase 1: Pains and Gains, Center for Integrative and Development Studies, University of the Philippines, November 10-11, 1999).
1998

Intermediate Implementation

According to Ferrer's report, a "second batch" of 1,799 soldiers and 55 officers would have been in training during 1998 and 1999.3 As of the end of 1998, around 3,802 MNLF ex-combatants are said to have already been successfully integrated into the AFP and the PNP, representing roughly half of the quota. Another source reports 496 integrated into the PNP, which yields a total for the AFP of 3,306 (3,802 - 496) - which is quite close to the sum of batch one and batch two as reported by Ferrer.4 

  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Macapado A. Muslim, "Sustaining the Constituency for Moro Autonomy, " in Compromising on Autonomy: Mindanao in Transition, ed. Mara Stankovitch (London: Conciliation Resources, 1999).
1999

Full Implementation

Ferrer reports of a third batch named Alpha that consists of 1,506 MNLF members which passed the physical examination, and a third batch (Bravo) that consists of 1,036 soldiers, 50 officers, and 250 auxiliary service troops to start training in November (1999).5

Villanueva and Aguilar report that as of September 1999, a total of 4,850 MNLF members had graduated and had been integrated into the AFP: 160 as 2nd Lieutenants and 4,690 at the rank of private. This number comes very close to the sum of Ferrer's batch one, two, and three (1,211+1,854 = 4,571).6 

  • 5. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “Integration of MNLF Forces into the PNP and AFP."
  • 6. Cesar Villanueva and George Aguilar, “The Reintegration of the Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao,” Centre for International Cooperation and Security (University of Bradford, 2008).
2000

Full Implementation

The third Batch (Bravo), consisting of 1,036 CSs, 50 OCs, and 250 auxiliary service troops are enlisted by April and had on-the-job training (OJT) until the end of October.7

Bertrand writes that 7,500 MNLF fighters were integrated into the AFP and PNP and considered the provision fully implemented.8

  • 7. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “Integration of MNLF Forces into the PNP and AFP."
  • 8. Jacques Bertrand, “Peace and Conflict in the Southern Philippines: Why the 1996 Peace Agreement Is Fragile,” Pacific Affairs 73, no. 1 (2000): 37-54.
2001

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2002

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.