Police ready for BOL plebiscite

COTABATO CITY — The Philippine National Police is all set to secure Monday’s plebiscite here and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, police officials said Friday. 

Senior Supt. Michael Lebanan, acting city police director, said voters should have nothing to worry about as enough number of police officers have been deployed to the city and its environs.  “We are 100 percent ready,” Lebanan said.

He said the city police is backed by members of the Philippine Army’s Special Forces Battalion plus additional personnel from Police Regional Offices 10 (Northern Mindanao) and 13 (Caraga) to secure all entry and exit points of the city in time for the January 21 plebiscite here.

The police official said he has also urged city residents to alert the police of any suspicious individual, group or thing that may endanger the lives of city residents.

In a similar development, Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, police director for the ARMM, also said that everything is in place to ensure that Monday’s referendum would be peaceful and orderly in their jurisdiction.

PRO-ARMM covers the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, and the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Lanao del Sur.

In a statement, Mijares said all police units in the region are in their respective areas of assignment in preparation for the upcoming plebiscite. (PNA)

Mayor Sara asks PRRD to junk peace talks with Reds

“Counterproductive and useless”

npa by sunstar

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to reopen the negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Fresh from her trip with the President in China, Mayor Sara issued a statement on Friday, saying that suspending the peace talks would not only mean ending the delusion of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDFP, but would also allow the realization of long-delayed growth and the development of the countrysides.

She said, “It also means giving justice to the victims of these terrorists. “Just like a battered lover, there is a time to finally say no to pain and suffering.”

She pointed out that pursuing peace talks with the communist group is counterproductive and plainly useless.

“While I trust the wisdom of the President and his intention to end the insurgency problem peacefully, I believe pursuing peace talks with the NDFP-CPP-NPA is counterproductive and plainly useless,” she said.

“Mr President, the country will move forward if the government is able to eliminate the rebels and end this senseless rebellion,” she urged the President.

Earlier, the President said he was open to the resumption of the peace talks but, demanded a bilateral ceasefire, no taxes, no other atrocities and harassments.

He repeated this Friday following his fruitful trip from China.

The President wanted the peace talks in the country and would be willing to cover all the expenses of all NDFP peace panel and consultants from plane fare to hotel.

He even guaranteed their safety and security while in the country.

“I have invited everybody outside of the Philippines who are communist members to come home, the leaders, and we can talk. I will give them my personal and official guarantee during the two months na magpunta sila ditto (when they come here), they will not be arrested, they will not be molested, and they will not be whatever, caused any inconvenience,” he declared.

“Just come here as a plain citizen, you are protected by our policy of rapprochement with an open heart and wala man sila ‘yang pera kaya nanununog ‘yang mga yan kasi ‘yung hindi magbigay sunugin nila (they have no money that is the reason they burn and those who do not give they burn),” he said.

The President even offered to deliver assistance, food in all their camps just to hold the line until there is a concrete and substantial peace agreement to sign.

Duterte said he is doing all these in furtherance of his desire, the nation’s desire to have peace.

But Mayor Sara in her statement said the insurgency problem can only be ended peacefully if the NDFP and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are sincere, honest, and committed to working toward the direction of peace and reciprocate the gesture offered by the government.

However, she added there are no indications at all that the CPP-NPA-NDFP are willing to negotiate for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“History will also tell us that the communist movement is not to be trusted as they have consistently shown us their deep-seated proclivity to sow hate, violence and extremism, destruction, and senseless killings. These are groups motivated by the desire to overthrow the government and rule the nation,” she said.

She pointed out that peace for the CPP-NPA-NDF is not an option because they are terrorists. “We maintain our position that we are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but deal with them the way we should — tough, strong, high intensity, and one that gathers all sectors to completely crush their influence in communities where they are present,” she added.

The mayor recalled the many atrocities perpetrated by the NPA like the killing of Larry Buenafe, the fish vendor who died because the NPA detonated a landmine in Mandug last year; the orphaned children of the poor civilians, the soldiers, police officers who were killed by the NPA in the name of a rusty ideology and deranged revolution.

She also recalled the four-month-old Malysha Machorao who died after an NPA staged an ambush in Bukidnon last year. And, the recent burning of heavy equipment in Davao City resulting in the delay of road projects and holding up the development of the communities in the affected areas.

The mayor said, “there should be a stop to the insanity of these terrorists — or more children will be orphaned, more civilians will be killed, more soldiers will die, and many more facilities and equipment will be burned, setting back development by a hundred years.”

The mayor was concerned that if talks are revived it is certain that the NPAs will continue to terrorize government forces and civilians, discharge offensives and unabated destruction, while recruitment of minors, farmers, lumads, workers, and students would continue courtesy of its legal fronts.

“We should stop rewarding these terrorists with our attention, resources, and time,” she added. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)

Dureza optimistic Reds will reciprocate offer of peace talks

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today expressed confidence that communist rebels will agree to the resumption of peace talks after President Rodrigo Duterte offered “another last chance” to forge a peace settlement.

npa by sunstar

In an interview on Super Radyo DZBB, Dureza said he believes both the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) have learned from the previous rounds of talks, which broke down after the failure to maintain an enabling environment for negotiations.

“There is really an intention of both sides to put an end to this problem, this tragedy of Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos. I’m confident that both sides will grab the last chance to work toward a final settlement,” he said.

The peace adviser emphasized that peace negotiations are essential in ending the decades-old communist insurgency.

Hindi kasi natin pwedeng tapusin itong problema ng insurgency sa bakbakan lamang (We cannot end the problem of insurgency just by fighting). We need to address the root causes,” he said.

Dureza also reiterated the importance of a ceasefire agreement for talks to move forward.

Kailangan wala munang insidente ng pag-atake para nakikita ng taumbayan ang (There should be no more incidents of attacks so that the people can see the) sincerity on both sides,” he said.

During the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the President instructed Dureza to work on the resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army–National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), with the order to work out a ceasefire agreement.

The President is also “committed to provide support, if necessary, in replacement of the revolutionary tax that he asked to be stopped.”

The government and CPP-NPA-NDF have conducted four rounds of talks from 2016, resulting in the signing of several agreements.

These include the supplemental guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee for the observance of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the reaffirmation of previously signed agreements such as The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.

GPH, MILF to sign comprehensive peace pact on March 27

After 17 long years of negotiations

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Friday confirmed that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be signed on March 27.

“After 17 long years of arduous negotiations, we are finally arriving at a political settlement that will seal enduring peace and progress in Mindanao,” said Deles.

“The signing of the CAB is expected to benefit not only the Bangsamoro but the entire country, and will radiate beyond our borders to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world,” she added.

Deles related that preparations for the event are currently underway.

“This is an event that requires careful planning and considerations especially in terms of the venue, etc. We will be sending out invitations soon,” she said.

On Tuesday, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo announced during his testimonial dinner that he was invited to the signing event by no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Quevedo, Mindanao’s first Cardinal and now fondly dubbed as “Cardinal Peace,” celebrated that day his 75th birthday and other milestones including the consistory of his cardinalate, for which the President flew in to Cotabato City and attended the thanksgiving mass officiated by the former. (PNA)

Moro-IP Kinship Commemoration in support of Bangsamoro


The celebration of 2nd anniversary of the Moro-IP ReAffirmation of Kinship was held in Sungko, Lantapan, Bukidnon last March 8, 2014. The commemoration was a gesture of support of the organizers to the GPH-MILF Peace Process and the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

READ MOREhttps://durianburgdavao.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/re-affirmation-of-kinship-between-moro-and-indigenous-peoples-of-mindanao-bukidnon/
READ MOREhttps://durianburgdavao.wordpress.com/category/bangsamoro/moro-islamic-liberation-front/
The celebration was aimed at strengthening and preserving the centuries-old kinship of the Bangsamoro and theindigenous peoples who are descendants of Apo Datu Mamalu and Apo Rajah Tabunaway who were living in the Island of Mindanao prior to the coming of the colonizers.
Datu Migketay Vic Saway, a Talaandig tribe leader in Bukidnon said that the event was a cultural initiative to support the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in the finalization of the BBL and its consequent enactment by the Philippine Congress.
“The participation and appearance of key leaders in this historic event will strengthen the pillars of unity and peace in Mindanao and hasten our success.” Saway said.
“The event was an immense aid in achieving a genuine and lasting peace because Moro and the IPs belong to same roots, and if there is a problem or misunderstanding among members of a family, there is a need to talk and dialogue because they are the best ways to resolve a misunderstanding”. “And kinship is peace.” he added.
In his speech Mr. Yahya Kasan, a representative from the Central committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF) expressed his gratitude for being a part of the affair.
“We are here to join you in this program and be one of the witnesses of the commemoration of this big event. We must strengthen our kinship. We must be united in order for us to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao that we have been aspiring for.” Kasan said.
“We must put in our minds that when there is no peace and unity; conflict and poverty shall continue to affect us and our communities.” he added.
Bapa Joe Akmad,  from the Maguindanaon tribe who hails from Carmen, North Cotabato said that the event will bring back to memory the precious brotherhood of Apo Mamalu and Apo Tabunaway who separated merely by belief but their affinity being brothers still remain.
“We must maintain and uphold the immeasurable brotherhood of our ancestors. Keep on holding the tie that binds our relationship.” Akmad said.
Akmad firmly believes that Moro-IP kinship must be reaffirmed, preserved and strengthened for being brothers is divine and originated from the Almighty who created mankind.
“Our forefathers separated physically but their relationship as brothers had never been separated. And whoever attempts to separate or support the division of the Moro and the IPs kinship will be cursed by Almighty God.” Akmad said.
Akmad called on his brother Moros and IPs to fight the dissection being done by group of people whom he considered as opportunists and spoilers of peace.
“Those people who are bound to spoil the good relationship between the Moros and IP’s are obviously anti-peace and anti-development. Let us be vigilant and let peace prevail in our midst. Akmad pointed out.
In his speech Timuay Melanio Ulama, chairperson of the Organization of Teduray and Lambangian Conference (OTLAC), Inc. said that the primary objective of the gathering was to attain a just, comprehensive and lasting peace which we believed is the basic foundation for economic development and Bangsamoro prosperity.
“We, the descendants of Apo Mamalu and Apo Tabunaway must dream as one, speak as one and act as one, in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.” Timuay Ulama said.
Further replications of the Moro-IP kinship activities will take place in Iligan City, South Cotabato, Zamboanga City, Basilan and Sulu in coming months. (Mashod Salik)

Moro rebel camps to become zones of peace


MILF: We did not surrender


Six Moro rebel camps in Mindanao will become peaceful and productive communities after decades of being military centers of the Bangsamoro struggle.

The M16-to-ploughshare switch spins off from the historic conclusion to the 16-year old peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a bid to find lasting peace in troubled Mindanao.

On January 25, 2013 in Malaysia, the negotiating panels agreed on the fourth and last annex—normalization that includes decommissioning of the MILF military arm Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) — to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that would establish a new Moro homeland to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

  Under the decommissioning annex, six MILF camps in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur would be transformed into peaceful and productive communities by a joint task force.

milf iqbalIn report by davaotoday.com, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the MILF did not surrender to the government with the signing of the normalization annex.

We have to sacrifice to attain peace, davaotoday.com quoted Iqbal as saying at a peace summit in Davao City on January 13 organized by civil society groups.

Arms helped us in the war during Martial Law. But the frequent use of arms will be destructive as well. I’ve been fighting for forty years; I see more destruction in arms, said Iqbal.

Estimates placed at 150,000 people killed in the conflict.

       “It’s an ultimate sacrifice, but if we want to have peace, we have to bind to it,” said Iqbal.

Sema thanks Saudi Arabia for Maguindanao road project

By Shahana Joy E. Duerme

 KORONADAL CITY — The city government of Cotabato, with the help of Saudi Arabia is set to construct a “peace diversion artery” which will serve as an alternate route connecting the city to the southern side of Maguindanao province.

Maguindanao First District Rep. Bai Sandra Sema said her district is grateful to the Saudi Development Fund.  

Saudi Arabia has allotted a fund worth P709.3 million from its Saudi Fund for Development which would include three long bridges that would interconnect riverside villages. 

The assistance from Saudi Arabia was committed several years ago in support of Malacañang’s Southern Mindanao peace process. 

The project will connect a strategic stretch of the Cotabato-General Santos Highway in Barangay Daiwan in Datu Odin Sinsuat town to Cotabato City. 

Rep. Sema said sectors in her district are grateful to Saudi Arabia, President Benigno S. Aquino and to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson. 

She added the Saudi-assisted road project complements the peace and development initiatives of her office for the city and the 11 towns in the first district of Maguindanao that are funded out of her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

ARMM businessmen urge speedy signing of peace pact

    The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Business Council (ABC) wants the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to immediately sign a final peace agreement as a means to neutralize the threat posed by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM).
Datu Haron Bandila, ABC chairman, said the offensives launched by the BIFM have been affecting the business community.
“We want a final peace agreement that would also address the problems posed by this group. The business sector in the ARMM is worried by this turn of hostile events,” said Bandilla.
Bandila said the business sector in the impoverished Muslim region strongly condemns the attacks, noting this happened at a time when Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadhan.
By signing a final peace agreement, Bandila said the government and the MILF “can become accountable or responsible to look after lawless groups” that disrupts the peace in the area.
Ricardo Juliano Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for Mindanao, lauded the government and the MILF for trying to resolve the conflict on the negotiating table than in the battlefield.
A final peace agreement in the long run would augur well for Mindanao’s business community, he said

GPH, MILF to resolve conflict peacefully

    The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will pursue the path of peace to resolve the long-drawn Mindanao problem at the resumption of the informal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur – undaunted by a series of coordinated attacks by a breakaway rebel group apparently aimed at disrupting the peace talks.
“The negotiations are proceeding with undeniable momentum,” said Marvic Leonen, chair of the GPH panel, in his opening statement at the 30th formal exploratory talks with the MILF.
The GPH-MILF peace panels met in Kuala Lumpur on August 7 to continue formal exploratory talks.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said she expects hard issues “will surely arise in this difficult stage of negotiations.”
But Deles said “the GPH panel is prepared and committed to tackle & seek solutions to the hard issues…determined never to lose sight of the big picture which is the peace and development our people have long desired.”
Leonen formally informed the MILF about the simultaneous attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters of the Bangsa Islamic Freed Movement (BIFF-BIFM), a breakaway rebel group, on several detachments of the Philippine Army in Maguindanao and Cotabato on August 5 but the attackers were repulsed.
Fighting erupted between the Army soldiers and BIFF-BIFM forces under Ameril Umbra Kato in Barangay Bagan, Talayan, Barangay Kauran, Ampatuan, all in Maguindanao, and in Barangay Tugal, Midsayap in North Cotabato.
“These attacks were suspiciously timed to coincide with the opening of the 30th formal exploratory talks where the passion is high that there may be an agreement this year,” Leonen said.
MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal described the violent acts of Kato’s group as an example of “dirty spoiling” and stressed that the “MILF has demonstrated itself as a reliable partner in peacemaking.”

GPH, MILF resume talks

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 7 (PNA) — The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Tuesday met in the Malaysian capital for the first day of the 30th formal exploratory talks.

This round of negotiations is crucial as both parties continue to build on the modest gains achieved in the previous round of talks. In April, the parties signed the Decision Points on Principles which GPH chief negotiator Marvic Leonen described as a “guide in the continuous discussion on the substantive agenda.”

In July, Leonen said that both parties are “at the door of an agreement,” as he urged the MILF to continue working with the government and “persevere” to finally bring peace to the troubled south.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that “government remains firm in its resolve to find a just and peaceful settlement to the conflict in Mindanao on the negotiation table and not in the battlefield.”

Deles stressed that “the GPH panel is prepared and committed to tackle and seek solutions to the hard issues which will surely arise in this difficult stage of negotiations, determind never to lose sight of the big picture which is the peace and development that our people have long desired.”

For the first day of talks, both panels were engaged in an executive session with Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ghafar Tengku bin Mohamed. (PNA)