Pimentel lauds GRP, MILF for easing Midsayap tension

Led by Lt. Col. Nazeri bin Ismael of Malaysia as head of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the JMAT got a commitment from the government troops and the MILF to “strictly adhere to the General Ceasefire Agreement signed in Cagayan de Oro City in 1997.”

It was also agreed that “a JMAT composed of representatives from GRP Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the MILF CCCH, the IMT and Bantay Ceasefire be established in the area to maintain and monitor the ongoing Ceasefire Agreement as soon as possible.”

The JMAT has been established in the area of conflict.

 “A Tripartite Fact-finding Committee to be composed of the IMT, GRP-CCCH, and MILF-CCCH will be created in order to verify the proximate cause of the armed clashes and to come up with a viable solution to preclude repeated violations of the General Ceasefire Agreement,” said Pimentel.

In a press statement, the lone senator from Mindanao also cited the work of NGO peace advocates Alvaro and Linda Senturias of the Southern Christian College and the Mindanao Peoples' Peace Movement (MPPM) and other groups in “searching for the root causes and working for a just and lasting solution to the problems in Midsayap and in the whole of Mindanao.”

Pimentel said that at least, the situation in Cotabato has been eased considerably by means of negotiation.

“Had the problem worsened, it could have led to a resumption of a full scale hostilities between our troops and the MILF rebels in mainland Mindanao,” he stressed.

Also, the senator cited that “the happy ending” of the Sulu face-off where Marine Brig. Gen. Ben Dolorfino and other government functionaries were held by MNLF fighters the other day.

He said it is worthy of celebration although like the MILF rebellion, “the root causes of the problem should be thoroughly addressed earlier than later,” he said.

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