Lanao town attacked in ’08 forms peace commission

KAUSWAGAN, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/13 August) — The municipal government here has formed its own peace commission to enhance peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims, Mayor Rommel Arnado said.

Arnado said he has created the commission to protect civilians against armed conflict and violence arising from other kinds of disputes.

Aside from rebellion, “rido” (family feud), private armed groups, land disputes, cattle rustling, and illegal activities are also prevalent in the area, the mayor said..

Officially called the Local Peace Commission of Kauswagan, the body is composed of five Christian and five Muslim representatives. It is chaired by Sultan Camlon Moner of Delabayan, a highly regarded Muslim leader.

The LPCK’s tasks include suppression of violence and conflict resolution through traditional processes and other means resolving disputes.

Lawyer Tomas Cabili, a former member of the government peace panel in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), serves as an adviser to the peace commission.

Arnado said that after a commemorative mass he will sign Executive Order No 12 creating the commission, on Aug. 18 in barangay Lapayan.

Aug. 18 marks the second anniversary of the attack on Kauswagan and neighboring Kolambugan town by Moro rebels resulting in the deaths of several civilians and burning of houses and other structures.

Thousands of civilians were forced to evacuate to Iligan City and other areas of the province.

The attack came a few days after the Supreme Court struck down the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the MILF as unconstitutional.

“Let the rule of law prevail in our homeland and bring justice to the victims. With utmost community vigilance, we pray and hope that this [attack] will never happen again” Arnado said. (MindaNews stringer)