MILF urged to surrender wanted persons hiding in MILF camps PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 October 2011 17:34

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Executive Secretary Sitti DJalia Turabin-Hataman yesterday called on the top echelon of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender wanted persons who are seeking refuge or staying within the so-called MILF-ATS (Area of Temporary Stay) if indeed they are sincere in obtaining lasting peace through the finalization of the peace negotiation with the government.

Mrs. Hataman, who was appointed as NCMF Executive Secretary last year by President Aquino, issued the call during aninterview over Tatak-RMN Zamboanga saying that the government has all the right to execute what is needed if only to enforce the law but what was lacking in the Al Barka incident was a proper coordination or probably a miscommunication when the soldiers tried to serve the warrant of arrest to a wanted individual hiding inside the MILF-ATS.

Hataman said the incident must be properly investigated to determine culpability and that is why “we are also gathering information from the ground relative to the killing of the 19 soldiers in Al Barka Municipality, Basilan last week.

“There seems to be communication gap. Kaya kailangan talagang imbestigahan ang mga pangyayari,” Hataman said as she made it clear that her office is supporting to the call of the national government for the MILF leaders to surrender their members or any wanted persons who happens to be within their ATS.

Hataman assured that once the peace talks will resume, one of the discussions would probably the idea of telling MILF top leaders to consider the call of the national government by bringing out wanted persons with warrant of arrest who are reportedly staying in their ATS.

The government has agreed before the start of the peace negotiation that places which are considered as MILF camps must be considered as their ATS and that should not be touched by forces of the government or if necessary, proper coordination with the local government is highly recommended.

The lady NCMF executive secretary also said that she is giving full support to the call of President Aquino for an all out justice and the call of members of the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Basulta Chapter ( Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi) for an all-out peace instead of the all-out war as suggested by some sector after the brutal killing of the 19 soldiers in Al Barka.

“We cannot correct things by declaring war against them (MILF) where many civilians or innocent people will definitely be affected. It would not really bring good if our intention is to really achieve the peace that we are longing for in this part of the region,” Mrs. Hataman, who is the wife of former Anak Mindanao Party List Representative Mujiv Hataman said.

Meanwhile, Hataman stressed that her office, which is directly under the Office of the President, is also providing inputs to the peace negotiating panel in drafting the peace accord.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos is a government agency whose objective is to promote the rights of Muslim Filipinos and to make them active participants in Philippine nation-building.

On August 11, 2008, the Commission, which also serves as a link between the government and the country’s Muslim minority, replaced the Office on Muslim Affairs, which had been pursuing the same aim since 1987.

The main difference between the Commission and its predecessor is its composition: the Office on Muslim Affairs was headed by three Directors, who were appointed by the President. The seven members of the new Commission are still appointed by the President. All of them, however, must be Muslim Filipinos; one female, one a religious leader, the other five each from a different tribe.  These provisions aim to represent the whole of the Muslim Filipino community equitably in the Commission. The members hold office for six years, the position of chairman changes biannually, so as to prevent any single tribe from gaining a dominant position in the Commission. — Jimmy Villaflores