GPH – MILF CCCHs sign mutual understanding for May Elections; Peace Panels in full support

  • Tuesday, Apr 23 2013
  • Written by  Luwaran News Center

The Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCHs) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed yesterday in Davao City a Guidelines for Mutual Understanding for ceasefire-related functions during the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections.

The 4-page Guidelines was signed by BGen Cesar Dionisio Sedillo Jr AFP, Chairman of the GPH CCCH, Said Shiek Al Haj, Chairman of the MILF CCCH and who is also a member of the Transition Commission that would draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and MGen Dato’ Fadzil Bin Mokhtar, Head of Mission of the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT).

Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel and Transition Commission, and Prof Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Chairwoman of the GPH Peace Negotiating Panel, attended the signing ceremony and expressed their full support to the mutual understanding for the May Elections. Also present were Atty. Abdul Dataya, Chairman of the MILF AHJAG, BGen Roland Amarille, Chairman of the GPH AHJAG.

The Guidelines were principally based on the policies of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the MILF Central Committee on the primacy of the GPH – MILF Peace Process, instructions from respective principals of the GPH – CCCH and MILF CCCH anchored on the goodwill and confidence building of the GPH – MILF Peace Process with the participation of the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT), especially for the GPH – MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 9561 –A, “The ban on bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons; and employment, availment or engagement of the services security personnel or bodyguards during the election period for the May 13 2013 automated synchronized National, Local elections and ARMM Regional Elections.

However, the Guidelines pointed out that the “undertaking is purely a GPH – MILF ceasefire and peace process- related function and only incidental but not as a Philippine elections-related function. This is not to be interpreted as MILF’s inconsistency to its standing policy not to take part or meddle in whatever capacity on the government electoral processes.”

“Its purpose is to safeguard the GPH – MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH) / Ceasefire Accord, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the GPH – MILF Peace Process, in general, from adverse effects and repercussions while the government ensures the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections on May 13, 2013.” 
This endeavor shall be implemented during the critical period of the election from April 2013 to 20 May 2013, as agreed upon by the GPH CCCH and MILF CCCH with the concurrence of the IMT M8.

The GPH CCCH and MILF CCCH shall ensure and warrant, and the IMT shall coordinate and monitor the unhindered movements and deployment of election personnel, equipment / paraphernalia, documents, voters, AFP / PNP election security personnel, as deputized by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), to and from all the Polling Centers situated within the MILF dominated areas.

Local ceasefire mechanisms such as the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Post (JCMPs) in Midsayap, Cotabato; Datu Saudie Ampatuan, Maguindanao; Pikit, Cotabato; Butig, Lanao del Sur; Maasim, Sarangani; Poona Piagapo, Lanao del Norte; and Tipo-Tipo Basilan Province composed of personnel from the GPH CCCH, the MILF CCCH and the Bantay Ceasefire of the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC) with the IMT’s assistance and the Local Monitoring Teams in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province, and South Cotabato shall be designated as the monitoring and quick response team (QRT) of the JCCCH and IMT for this endeavor.  Additional JCMPs could be set up in other areas, when necessary.

The Guidelines states “the main routes, water and land usually used by the MILF troops during movements and activities shall be left opened, the MILF shall refrain from consolidating its forces for any purpose/s including peace gatherings from the time the PCOS Machines are deployed until the Election has been completed except at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Camp Bushra in Lanao del Sur, and in the urban centers, when necessary, and in coordination with the GPH CCCH, the MILF armed elements should not go near polling centers and precincts, avoid display of firearms and uniforms along routes leading to the areas where electoral activities are ongoing.”

“Upon completion of all election functions within the MILF dominated areas, the deputized AFP/PNP election security personnel deployed thereat shall pull out immediately,” it stated.

Prof Miriam Ferrer, in her message of support, commended the initiative of the GPH – MILF CCCH and the Malaysia-led IMT, stressing the undertaking shall promote the integrity of the peace process and the heightened cooperation and collaboration between the government and MILF and the many peace partners and stakeholders.

For his part, Chairman Iqbal, without endorsing any candidate had appeal to the electorate to vote for those who really support the peace process and the GPH – MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro which was signed at Malacanang Palace last October 12, 2012.

“The MILF leadership will transmit to the commanders, leaders and troops on the ground the Guidelines for Mutual Understanding for adherence through Brother Sammy Al Mansur, Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF),” Iqbal said. 
 

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