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    Posted February 20, 2014 by

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    Peace monitors to arrive Phl in March

    FOLLOWING the renewal of the mandate of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) last January, a new contingent of peace monitors will arrive in Manila next month to protect the ongoing ceasefire between the Philippines and the Muslim rebels.
    In a report filed Friday by Lilybeth Ison for the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA), it said the new batch of peace monitors under the International Monitoring Team (IMT) Mission 9 will replace the current group whose mandate will end on March 12, 2014.
    Ison reported that during the 43rd round of Exploratory Talks last month in Kuala Lumpur, government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signed the certificate of renewal of the mandates of the IMT and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).
    She said the IMT, which monitors the ceasefire, civilian protection component, rehabilitation and development, and socio-economic agreements between the government and the MILF, will be serving its mandate for another year until March 2015.
    Both parties also agreed to merge IMT sites 4 and 5. Site 4 in General Santos City covers the areas of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao del Sur; while Site 5 in Davao City operates across Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
    The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF also agreed to reduce the number of IMT members to 36 monitors. There will be 14 monitors from Malaysia, nine each from Brunei and Indonesia, and two each from Japan and Norway.
    The AHJAG, on the other hand, will be reinstated for one year until February 14, 2015.
    Initially formed in 2002, the AHJAG is a joint effort of the GPH and the MILF that seeks to interdict and isolate lawless elements. It coordinates, monitors, and disseminates information between and among the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the MILF to effect the unhampered law enforcement operations without jeopardizing the GPH-MILF peace process.

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