Gov’t, MILF vow to strengthen PH ceasefire mechanisms

Domestic Affairs

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-MILF CCCH) committed to further strengthening the existing joint ceasefire mechanisms amid the transition to the new administration.

Butch Malang, MILF-CCCH co-chair, on Wednesday said the committee “remains determined as ever” in strengthening the joint GPH-MILF peace mechanisms.

“We also take this opportunity to strengthen further our common commitment, teamwork, and dedication to work together with all our partners for a stronger proactive ceasefire accord during the post-agreement period of the peace process between the Government and the MILF,” Malang said during the committee's 28th Tripartite meeting.

Malang said the MILF’s adherence to the GPH – MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH) and the Security Aspect of the GPH – MILF Peace Process has been a "gradual success” but was “collectively realized due to the strong cooperation and partnership of the GPH and MILF highest leaderships, security forces, local governments, and communities on the ground.”

He acknowledged the support of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) contingents from the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Indonesia, Norway, and the European Union, saying peace gains could not have been reached without their help.

Meanwhile, GPH-CCCH chairperson, Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete, also recognized the IMT’s invaluable contribution to sustaining the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process.

He thanked the IMTs for “supporting the GPH-MILF peace process as the third monitor, independently and neutrally implementing their mandate in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.”

Nafarrete reiterated the government’s unwavering commitment to provide “an atmosphere conducive to the implementation of the GPH-MILF peace process from the negotiation to the implementation stage of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”

To reaffirm strong support for pushing for lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao, IMT-M16 Head of Mission Maj. Gen. Datuk Hamdan Bin Hj Ismail, assured the Philippines that “the Government of Malaysia and other participating countries, such as Brunei Darussalam and the European Union will strengthen the bond and close cooperation which had been displayed throughout our stay in Mindanao.”

“I wish that your dreams and my dreams of achieving lasting peace in this part of the region can be realized in the near future,” the Malaysian peacekeeper added.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) said the neutrality of the IMT as a third-party monitoring team that oversees the ceasefire agreement “has been crucial” in building on the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process over the years.

The IMT has been assisting the country to address ceasefire-related issues -- which prevented conflict situations between the MILF and the government.

Source: Philippines News Agency