Getting rid of illegal guns: Engineering a peaceful transition in the Bangsamoro

This policy brief proposes a strategy for addressing the problem of illegal firearms in the Mindanao region of the Philippines.

The peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commits both parties to undertaking a ‘normalisation’ process.

This entails decommissioning MILF combatants and their weapons, redeploying some government military units and disbanding private armed groups. The proliferation of illegal firearms poses a real challenge to normalisation in the Bangsamoro territory. The success of the normalisation process and the peace process depends on the ability of both parties to effectively address the problem of illegal firearms.

This policy brief proposes a three-pronged strategy that combines the work of:

  • decommissioning weapons in the hands of ex-combatants and other rebel groups
  • disrupting the activities of private armies and other criminal groups as well as capturing their weapons
  • reforming the institutional framework that guides the control and management of firearms in Philippine society