Separation of two warring forces in Aleosan starts today (Full Text of the Joint Resolution on the “Separation” included)


August 8, 2008
Rasid T. Ladiasan, Correspondent

The Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) together with the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) will give way today for the repositioning of the warring forces in Aleosan, Cotabato Province .

In a special meeting last night, the GRP – MILF CCCH and IMT flesh out the facilitation for the withdrawal of forces belonging to the MILF and Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVOs) / CAFGU and military. This morning the Joint CCCH and IMT will go to Aleosan tojumpstart the repositioning of troops.


The non local residents who got entangled with the three-weeks long sporadic firefight between the MILF forces and government forces in the embattled barangays of Pagangan, Bago Libas, Dualing, and Dungguan in Aleosan and in barangays Baliki, Upper and Lower Labas in Midsayap shall be moved out from the area back to their places of origin.


The repositioning of warring troops, particularly those who not from of the area, is part of the Joint Resolution of the GRP – MILF CCCH and IMT forged last August 1, 2008.


The full text of the joint resolution is as follows:


JOINT RESOLUTION


WHEREAS, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH) in Cagayan de Oro City on July 18, 1997 with the primary intent of providing a conducive environment for the GRP – MILF peace process aimed ultimately at forging a negotiated political settlement of the conflict in Mindanao and the Bangsamoro problem.


WHEREAS, there has been an intermittent armed clashes and hostilities in some barangays in Aleosan, Cotabato between the armed local Civilian Volunteers Organizations (CVOs) and forces of the MILF which started on July 14, 2008 , which can potentially affect the bordering barangays at the adjacent municipality of Midsayap , Cotabato.


WHEREAS, the prevailing situation had rendered adverse effects and repercussions to the civilians, good relationships, and the GRP-MILF peace process.


WHEREAS, there is an immediate need to stop the aforementioned armed clashes and hostilities between the two contending forces in order to sustain the truce, preclude unnecessary loss of lives, destruction of  properties, displacements of civilians, effect restoration of normalcy in the area, and above all, uphold the primacy of the peace process.


THEREFORE BOTH PARTIES, resolve as it is hereby resolved:

A. That both the warring forces must immediately cease and desist from firing each other and strictly adhere to the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities signed in Cagayan de Oro City on July 18, 1997, particularly and especially on the movements and activities of respective forces.


B. That a JOINT MONITORING and ASSISTANCE TEAM (JMAT) composed of representatives from GRP CCCH, MILF CCCH, IMT and Bantay Ceasefire be established immediately in a strategic area, mutually agreed upon, in Aleosan to maintain and monitor the ongoing Ceasefire Agreement; and that to strengthen the existing JMAT-Rangeban in Midsayap in order to prevent spillover of the conflict.


C. That the repositioning of warring forces be facilitated in order to preclude repetition of armed clashes and hostile acts that undermine the Ceasefire Agreement and the peace process.


D. That a Fact-Finding Committee to be composed of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), GRP CCCH, MILF CCCH and Bantay Ceasefire be created in order to verify the proximate cause of the armed clashes and come up with a viable solution / recommendations leading to the normalization of the situation.


E. That the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) must be facilitated through concerted efforts of duly constituted and concerned entities.


F. That relief and rehabilitation programs must be given priority for the affected areas / communities / families / individuals.


G. That peace advocacy, dialogue and reconciliatory programs must be undertaken particularly in the municipalities of Aleosan and Midsayap, both of Cotabato Province.


H. That advocacy and engagements, as far as practicable, with the concerned local government units must be initiated to ensure their support for the implementation of this resolution.


Meanwhile, the GRP – MILF CCCH and IMT appealed for the full cooperation of all concerned agencies and stakeholder in order to ensure the success of the resolution.They also expressed confidence that the 24-hour ultimatum given by the government for the withdrawal of the MILF forces from the area, who are non locals, will also give way for the smooth and successful implementation of the resolution.


JMAT, paragraph B of the Joint Resolution, was already installed last week August 2, 2008.

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