Dureza: Libya to send 25 ceasefire monitors

Malaysia heads the IMT that monitors the ceasefire implementation between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The IMT has been in the Philippines since October 2004. Its mandate is renewed yearly. The tour of duty of Batch 4 is until August 31 this year.

“The Libyan government has agreed to send 25 ceasefire monitors to assist sustain the ceasefire in Mindanao. I received an overseas call from Secretary Bert Gonzales who is in Tripoli that the Libyan government will send an initial contingent of four monitors,” Dureza said, adding the four, along with the six Libyans presently deployed at the IMT Site A in Iligan City, “will have completed the 10-member contingent Libya committed in 2004.”

“We welcome this good news.  We thank this gesture of faith to our peace process and we continue to hope for Libya’s sustained and deepening participation in the IMT,” Dureza said.

But the “actual deployment” of the Libyans “will have to depend on mutually agreed arrangements with the proper levels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). We are confident that all sectors will welcome this positive development.”

MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal said “that only confirms that GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) is only interested in the ceasefire, not the talks.

The number of skirmishes between both government and MILF forces have significantly gone down, with only eight recorded last year, records from the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of  Hostilities (Joint) CCCH showed. .

Fr. Roberto Layson, former parish priest of Pikit in North Cotabato and head of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate’s Inter-Religious Dialogue,  said, “we welcome any development that can help preserve the peace process and strengthen the ceasefire on the ground provided this is mutually agreed upon by both parties.”

Guiamel Alim, chair of the Consortium of Bangsamoro  Civil Society, said the news is “a welcome development.”

“We pray that the GRP is able to convince the MILF to sit down and talk about the incoming facilitator. What we know is that a meeting is only possible if the agenda is the implementation of the consensus points,” Alim said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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