GRP, MILF hopeful of more success in peace process in 2007

This was the joint statement of Brig. Gen. Edgardo Gurrea and Von Al Haq, chairmen of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the GRP and MILF, respectively, during the Joint GRP-MILF CCCH meeting held at East Asia Royal Hotel, this city on Jan. 9-10.

 

“Faithful observance of the ceasefire by both parties had significantly contributed to the enhancement of peace, security and economics,” the two said in a joint statement. “The importance of upholding the primacy of the peace process such that its highest interest must prevail over all other things,” they added.

 

The two committees discussed more than 30 issues and came up with courses of action to be undertaken providing a favorable environment for the peace talks.

 

Among the important issues discussed were to enhance further the coordination between the GRP CCCH and the MILF CCCH in strengthening the ceasefire mechanisms on the ground, strengthening peace and ceasefire advocacy drives through the various media, maximizing engagements with the civil society groups and local government units, and avoiding malicious and provocative statements that would tend to undermine the ceasefire and the peace process as a whole.

 

They also considered revitalizing the joint ceasefire monitoring posts (JCMP) in Bagoinged and Pikit in Cotabato Province and Pagalungan in Maguindanao and further studying the viability of setting up JCMPs in Dapiawan and Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao, and referring to the GRP an MILF peace negotiating panels the proposed establishment of the MILF CCCH field offices in Marawi City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Isabela City and Mati in Davao Oriental.

 

They further considered taking action on the reported stoppage of the flow of irrigation in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao to boost agricultural production, tasking the Joint Monitoring and Action Team (JMAT) stationed in Kuloy, Shariff Aguak to design a scheme which will assist the communities in tending their farms and harvesting their products.

 

Both committees expressed appreciation to the Malaysian led IMT for its effort in advancing the cause of peace in Mindanao, particularly in the medical programs. They also lauded the 12 grassroots projects of Japan International Cooperation Agency.

 

On the other hand, the MILF CCCH clarified that Basit Usman, who is accused of the recent spate of bombings in Central Mindanao, is not a member of the MILF and gave assurance that the said person is not being coddled by anybody in the front. The MILF also denied any involvement in the reported rescue of a certain Badrudin from his detention cell from Maguindanao Provincial Jail.

 

General Santos City Mayor Acharon, who graced the meeting, expressed full support to all the efforts of the government and the MILF in achieving peace.

 

He stressed that the political identity of the Bangsamoro has to be squarely addressed in addition to the conditions of poverty and discrimination that pervade the region.

 

Acharon emphasized, however, that creative approaches and proper consultation with all the stakeholders are crucial in forging an enduring and just solution to Mindanao’s problems.

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