Sibugay MILF official, Army brigade commander vow to uphold primacy of the peace process

Salman Jawarie, spokesperson of 113 Base Command of the MILF, said  “our forces in Zamboanga Peninsula are fully committed to the primacy of the peace process” despite the impasse between the government and the MILF.

The peace talks between the government and the MILF was stalled last December when the negotiating panels failed to agree on the sensitive issue of territory.
    
“We are resolute to help maintain a peaceful Sibugay as we hold on to the peace process,” Jawarie, who is also a member of the MILF’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), told this writer.

The CCCH is a body that helps in monitoring the observance of the ceasefire mechanisms on the ground.

Brigadier General Jovencio Magalso, commanding general of the Army’s 102 Infantry Brigade, said forces under his command will maintain “active defense and respect the primacy of the peace process.”

“We strictly follow the order of the Commander-in-Chief to observe the ceasefire agreement and respect the primacy of the peace process,” Magalso said.

Jawarie’s assurance came after text messages circulated that a local elective official was kidnapped allegedly by armed Moro and the public is fidgety over the security situation after the incidents in Baangay Tenan last week.

Two police informants, Stephen Bayking and Danny Gamo, were riding a motorcycle when they were fired at by motorcycle-riding gunmen. Bayking was seriously wounded and was evacuated to Zamboanga City while Gamo sustained a gunshot wound on his left arm.

Two hours later, Barahama Ali, a senior MILF official of Sibugay, was arrested by police operatives in the same barangay.

In the evening, the house of barangay chair Rashid Bual was strafed by motorcycle-riding gunmen. His 26-year-old niece and her one-year-old daughter were wounded in the strafing incident.

Bual is set to file charges against the suspects whom witnesses have positively identified.

“The MILF forces in the province would not move even a finger that will endanger the peace process,” Jawarie said, adding that “the MILF has a very positive relationship” with Governor George T. Hofer.

Jawarie, however, warned the public to be vigilant against the “third party who might exploit the situation for their selfish gains.” He did not elaborate who this “third party” is.
He added they have a “positive working relationship with Magalso. (Antonio M. Manaytay/MindaNews contributor)

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