Mindanao Peace Process Ceasefire Mechanisms Disengage Fighting Military, MILF Forces in Basilan

GPH and MILF peace mechanisms flex muscles to stop fighting

Symbol of peace, a dove carrying an olive branch. Credit: MaxPixel.net

By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 Instagram: @bluestar0910 Facebook: SDN — Scitech and Digital News 

Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-nOo

(SDN) — Ceasefire mechanisms of the Mindanao peace process have worked to disengage elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the erstwhile revolutionary Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Barangay Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH CCCH), MILF CCCH, Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (GPH AHJAG), MILF AHJAG, Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM), AFP, CJTF Basilan/101st Infantry Brigade (IB), 18IB, Philippine Army (PA), and Non-Violent Peaceforce (NVPF) convened on November 10, 2022, to explore ways to implement a ceasefire between the fighting GPH and MILF forces in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan.

On November 8, a firefight between the elements of the two sides broke out, triggering the evacuation of thousands of civilians.

By night on Wednesday, the ceasefire mechanisms’ order to stop fighting was already implemented, but another firefight erupted again the next day, Thursday, at around 8 a.m.

 

From a copy of the minutes of the meeting sent to SDN — SciTech and Digital News of the various GPH and MILF peace process bodies, here the agreed points:

  • Immediate implementation of ceasefire between the parties engaged in the firefight through representatives of the MILF CCCH, MILF AHJAG, and NVPF relaying the agreement to the 114 Battalion Command, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF-MILF), with the commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB)/101st IB PA directing the government troops on the ground to act similarly.
  • Immediate implementation of pullout of the BIAF-MILF reinforcements who are not residents of the barangay/village where the fighting occurred.
  • Allow the return of the group of Commander Huram Malangka of 114 Battalion Command, BIAF-MILF who are live in Barangay Ulitan and their firearms should be kept in their respective houses as they await their decommissioning. On the other hand, BIAF-MILG members who are residents of Barangay Ulitan should be properly identified and registered.
  • Establish a composite detachment which shall be made up of AFP, Philippine National Police (PNP), and BIAF-MILF members for a joint cooperation in going after lawless elements and help in the maintenance of peace and order in the barangay.
  • Issues and concerns about the BIAF-MILF in Ungkaya Pukan municipality should be reported immediately to the GPH-MILF CCCH and AHJAG for immediate resolution.

2014 CAB source of peace, security in Mindanao

Signatories to the agreement arrived at on November 10 are, from the government side, Brig. Gen. Eduardo B. Gubat, PA, Chair, GPH CCCH; Col. Frederick M. Sales, MNSA (INF), PA, Team 3 Member, GPH AHJAG; Lt. Col. Cyril A. Santander INF (GSC), PA, Commanding Officer, 18IB, PA; Brig, Gen. Domingo B. Gobway, PA, Commander, JTF Basilan/101st IB, PA; and Brig. Gen. Arturo G. Rojas Philippine Navy (PN) (M), Acting Commander, WESTMINCOM, AFP; and MILF side, Butch P. Malang, Chair, MILF CCCH; Anwar P. Alamada, Chair, MILF AHJAG; Hadji Samad Ahaddin, Support Staff, MILF CCCH (not signed); Otoh J. Gapor, Team 3 Member, MILF AHJAG (not signed); and Malik Caril, Officer-in-Charge (OIC), WMF, BIAF-MILF/member, MILF CCCH.

Presidential Assistant David B. Diciano (OPAPRU) witnessed the signing of the accord. He is the head of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Bangsamoro Transformation, OPAPRU.

Apparently, news reports cited, the fighting in Barangay Ulitan erupted after AFP elements in September went after certain lawless elements who are suspects in two or more bombing attacks in Basilan after this year’s national and local elections (NLE) in May.

The target suspects were reportedly hiding in either the villages of Barangay Baguindan or Barangay Ulitan. As the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities the GPH and the MILF signed in 1997, government forces going after criminal elements have to coordinate with the MILF so residents in affected areas can first go somewhere away from the operation zone.

It can be recalled the GPH and the MILF signed on March 27, 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which is being implemented currently by the government through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Out of the CAB through the BOL, Congress established in 2019 the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), a new political entity (NPE) that abolished and replaced the 20 years old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Governance in the BARMM is being done by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) headed by Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim, also the chair of the MILF. (/)

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