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MILF lambastes North Cotabato Resolution for relieve of Gen Sealana

July 31, 2008

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) hit the resolution issued by the North Cotabato provincial government seeking the ouster of BGen Reynaldo Sealana, Chief of the Government Ceasefire Committee, as more than unfair.

“Gen Sealana is not defending the MILF with what is happening in Aleosan, Cotabato for the past weeks. Gen Sealana is merely doing his mandate, without any reservation, to protect and sustain the ceasefire on the ground and to uphold the primacy of the peace process,” relayed Toks Ebrahim, Chief of the MILF Ceasefire Committee.

“But the implication or inner layer of the resolution is actually an express manifestation of call for the government to abandon the ceasefire accord with the MILF, an indirect act of sabotage to the peace process,” Ebrahim added.

“My counterpart is doing very well and it is so unfair that an ouster call was imputed on him,” he said.

The situation in Aleosan had worsen when the local government to Aleosan and its armed civilian volunteers organizations (CVOs) started to undermine the ceasefire mechanisms and even chided that the ceasefire is inutile and favoring the MILF.

Subsequently starting July 24, the CVOs and other civilians took up their arms, perhaps heeding to the call of some officials of the province to armed themselves and fight the MILF fighters in a mortal combat. The CVOs are, in fact, using 81mm mortars in targeting the MILF fighters.

Since then, sporadic firefight in Aleosan had not been abated causing some houses burned down, damages to properties and livelihood, evacuation of more than a thousand families, and igniting a conflict between Muslims and Christians in the area.

The GRP – MILF Ceasefire Committee, International Monitoring Team (IMT) and Bantay Ceasefire held a meeting yesterday to discuss the prevailing clashes and other acts of hostilities in Aleosan, and it potential escalation to bordering barngays in Midsayap town, where a draft resolution containing measures to address the situation in Aleosan was reached.

Putting up of a Joint Monitoring and Assistance Team (JMAT) and conduct of Fact-Finding Investigation composed of IMT, GRP – MILF CCCH and Bantay Ceasefire were emphasized in the draft resolution which is expected to be approved anytime today.

The situation in previous clashes in Maguindanao, Basilan and Midsayap in 2006 and 2007 was even more tense and the aggravating circumstances were even stronger but it never reached to a point of passing a resolution calling for the relieve of either chairman of the Joint GRP – MILF Ceasefire Committees.

“There can be no perfect ceasefire agreement and mechanisms on the ground but at least it is working well and effectively,” Von Al Haq, former and longest-serving chairman of the MILF ceasefire committee said.

“We call on all to stop fueling the clashes and hostilities in Aleosan and allow the ceasefire mechanisms to perform their mandate so we can help restore normalcy in the area,” both committees appealed.

An appeal was also made by the ceasefire mechanisms to all stakeholders, relief and donor agencies to help in addressing the situation in Aleosan in order to thrive sooner than later in restoring normalcy and good relationships.

Admittedly, both sides had committed violations of the ceasefire accord but the best way to address redress is utilizing the proper venue and avenue.

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July 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment