Maguindanao execs, MNLF, Army cooperates on security issues PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 13:46

Elected officials in Maguindanao and the military are now cooperating on preventing any spill over to the province of the hostilities in Zamboanga City and Basilan, through continuing backchannel dialogues with local  forces of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Mayors, led by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, and officials of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over the province and surrounding municipalities under Administrative Region 12, announced over the weekend that MNLF officials in Central Mindanao have assured of their continuing recognition of their September 2, 1996 final truce with government.

Mangudadatu and Major Gen. Romeo Gapuz, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told reporters at Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat Saturday that mayors and their constituents identified with the MNLF are closely coordinating with each other to prevent any outbreak of hostilities in all of the 36 towns in the province.

The announcement was made after Gapuz, Mangudadatu and mayors from across the province held a two-hour dialogue at Camp Siongco, where they discussed security concerns spawned by the violent forays of followers of Nur Misuari in Zamboanga City.

Mangudadatu and Gapuz said they are thankful to former Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, chairman of the largest and most politically active faction in the MNLF, for leading efforts to pacify his forces that are scattered in Maguindanao.

“We have the assurance of local MNLF commanders that they will not join their companions fighting government forces in Zamboanga City,” Mangudadatu said.

Gapuz said there is one group of MNLF members in a secluded barangay in Ampatuan town, which local officials are still trying to contact for a backdoor dialogue.

“All of our efforts to prevent any spillover of the hostilities in Zamboanga City to Maguindanao are being done according to Moro tradition of peace-building, which is actually done through dialogues and consensus-building,” Gapuz said.

Sema, whose group has 20 “revolutionary states” scattered in mainland Mindanao and parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, earlier said that he and his followers are against Misuari’s actions in Zamboanga City.

Mangudadatu said even Tausog MNLF members, some of them already residing for more than two decades now in coastal towns in Maguindanao with their ethnic Maguindanaon wives, have assured of their support to the provincial government and the 6th ID’s peacekeeping thrusts in relation to the on-going strife in Zamboanga City and in Basilan.