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    Posted December 8, 2013 by

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    Philippine rebels violate ceasefire?


    A senior military adviser on Sunday asked the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement as the peace process between the Philippine government and the Muslim rebels is now in its final stretch.
    Maj. Gen. Leo Cresente Ferrer made the appeal following information that MILF members were involved in the abduction of 12 persons in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte last December 5.
    “We ask the MILF leadership to rein in their forces in the spirit of the positive strides of the peace process as both sides (government and MILF) have steadfastly worked on for so many years. A fruitful conclusion would benefit not just the Bangsamoro people but the rest of the people in Mindanao (Southern Philippines),” Ferrer said.
    A report from the ground said eight of the 12 civilians abducted in Balo-i town by MILF members under Abdul Macalunto of the 102nd Base Command were released Friday night.
    It said MILF members seized the 12 civilians in Balo-i town as part of the group’s alleged anti-drug and anti-gambling campaigns in the area.
    The report spread like wildfire as the GPH and MILF peace panels are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the conduct of the 42nd exploratory talks and the prospects have become brighter than ever for the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
    “With the peace talks in the end stage, let us not allow any untoward incidents, isolated they may be, to obstruct the momentum gained so far by the peace process,” Ferrer stressed.
    The military general echoed the sentiments of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, who issued a statement after MILF members abducted and later freed the police chief of Marawi City, Supt. Christopher Panapan.
    Deles had credited the peace process mechanisms—the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, the AdHoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) -- for the crucial role they played in securing the safe release of Panapan, and preventing possible escalation of hostilities that might have compromised the existing ceasefire between the Government and the MILF.
    “At this point in time when we are in the last stage of the negotiations towards the completion of a comprehensive agreement, the MILF must be able to prove that they have control over their forces, so that together we can protect our communities and achieve the much deserved peace and development in the region,” Deles said after the Marawi incident was resolved peacefully.
    As of Saturday, the GPH and MILF peace panels remained locked on the negotiations on the two remaining annexes (Power Sharing and Normalization) of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), which envisions the creation of a Bangsamoro government that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 2016.
    Founded by former governor Nur Misuari, the government granted the ARMM autonomy in 1995 during the administration of Fidel Ramos.
    Misuari, however, strongly opposed the creation of a Bangsamoro state in Southern Philippines and warned of bloodshed should the agreement push through. #

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