GPH military adviser calls on MILF to continue adherence to truce pact PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 December 2013 10:53

Government senior military adviser Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer appealed to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to follow the rule of law and strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement now that the peace process is in the final stretch.

“We ask the MILF leadership to rein in their forces in the spirit of the positive strides of the peace process both sides [GPH 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,” he said.

Ferrer made the appeal as information came out that MILF members were allegedly involved in abducting 12 persons in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte last December 5.

Eight of the civilians were released Friday night, a military report from the ground said.

MILF members under Abdul Macalunto of the 102nd Base Command 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 said.

The report came out as the GPH and MILF peace panels are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the conduct of the 42nd exploratory talks.

Ferrer stressed that prospects are now 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,” he said.

He essentially echoed the sentiments of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, who on Friday 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 in 2016.

The two sides earlier this year signed the Annexes on Transitional Arrangement and Modalities, and Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing.

In her opening statement on December 5 for the 42nd Exploratory Talks, GPH peace panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer expressed optimism that both sides could finally complete the comprehensive agreement to bring the desired just and lasting peace and development for the Bangsamoro.

“Now, we are at the brink of completing the Power Sharing and Normalization Annexes,” she revealed.

Coronel-Ferrer stressed: “In all, we have the elements of a promising, just, and principled agreement that will stand scrutiny of informed and concerned students and practitioners of negotiated political settlements.”

“We know that there are details that we still need to come to terms with. But none are so great as to throw away everything that has been achieved,” she said.