Gov’t, rebels fail to reach peace deal

BussinessWorld online May 06, 2010

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Peace negotiators from the government and the Moro rebels have failed anew to forge an agreement that would commit the next administration to proceed from where the current peace talks would end.

Both sides meeting in Kuala Lumpur disagreed on some items in the so-called interim agreement targeted to be signed before the Arroyo administration exits on June 30.

In a statement, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said talks on Wednesday “bogged down” on the issue of self-governance.

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Troops overrun Abu Sayyaf  camp in Basilan

By Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer 05/01/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Government troops overran an Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan following a two-day clash that killed one soldier and five members of the extremist group, a military official said Friday.

The capture of the Abu Sayyaf’s encampment in Baiwas village in Sumisip, Basilan on Wednesday was a result of the continuous combat operations against the group that launched a series of attacks in Isabela City, said Lt. Steffani Cacho, spokesperson of the AFP Western Mindanao Command.

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THE PROFILE: Harry K. Thomas Jr.

Kenney’s RP stint tough act to follow

By Jocelyn Uy

Philippine Daily Inquirer 01/07/2010

MANILA, Philippines—From feeding poor schoolchildren to meeting with Moro rebels to dancing the “Papaya” song on a prime-time TV show, outgoing US Ambassador Kristie Kenney has set a tough act to follow for diplomats posted in the Philippines.

No less than the Armed Forces of the Philippines acknowledged Kenney’s accomplishments by honoring her Wednesday in a testimonial parade traditionally given to a retiring officer or a head of state, and rarely to diplomats.

“Nobody in this country, not even the MILF or the communist rebels, will contest the now common knowledge that Ambassador Kenney is the most popular and best-liked ambassador, American or otherwise, in Philippine history,” said Gen. Victor Ibrado, AFP chief of staff.

In November, US President Barack Obama named Harry Thomas as Washington’s new envoy to Manila, replacing the media-savvy Kenney after more than three and a half years in the country.

Kenney supported Philippine efforts to end the decades long separatist insurgency in Mindanao by traveling to Camp Darapanan(map), the main base camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in February 2008 and meeting with MILF chair Murad Ebrahim.

“We saw her with Filipino veterans, with schoolchildren all over the country, with ‘Wowowee’ host Willie Revillame… serving food for victims of Typhoon “Ondoy,” cheering for Manny Pacquiao … even doing the Papaya dance with Edu Manzano,” Ibrado said.

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MILF leadership has no control of its ground commanders 01/08/2010

Abu Sayyaf & Moro Islamic Liberation Front kill navy commandos in clash 12/30/09

Moro Islamic Liberation Front pushing for Mindanao self-rule 12/28/09


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Posted by: JWP | 04/29/2010

Rangers clash with Islamic militants

Rangers clash with ASG in Basilan

By Anthony Vargas Dateline Philippines

Posted on Apr. 28, 2010 at 10:39am |

MANILA, Philippines – Elite Army Scout Rangers clashed with the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) in Basilan province Wednesday morning, leaving at least four soldiers wounded and four ASG fighters dead, the military said.

In a message, Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said a combat group of the 4th Scout Ranger Company had managed to approach the ASG encampment in Barangay Pamatsaken, Sumisip town, undetected but ran into a booby trap, triggering a “fierce firefight.”

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Posted by: JWP | 04/26/2010

Libya rejects Muslim secession

Gadhafi rejects RP Muslims’ secession

By EDD K. USMAN

April 25, 2010, 5:52pm

TRIPOLI — The Leader of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Col. Muammar al-Gadhafi has always stressed in his meetings with Moro leaders that they should remain within the realm of the Philippine society and sovereignty, said Ambassador Salem Muhammad Adam, ex-Libyan envoy to the Philippines.

Adam said this has been the repeated message of Gadhafi when he granted an audience in the past to leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He said this has not changed.

Adam spoke with the Manila Bulletin after the signing on April 20 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Manila Government and the MNLF at the restrictive Islamic Call College (ICC), about 30 minutes from downtown Tripoli.

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10 suspected MILF members killed in Shariff Aguak firefight

GMANews.tv 04/25/10

KIDAPAWAN CITY — AT least 10 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were believed killed and six others were wounded in a gun battle with government troops in a remote village in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao last Thursday, belated reports from the Army said.

Lt. Gerard Dennis Lonesa, chief of the civil military operations of the 45th Infantry Battalion, which is based in Poblacion, Shariff Aguak, said the bodies had been abandoned by fleeing rebels in the village of Bako as they withdrew towards the marsh.

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MILF, RP sign new agreements, but peace deal is likely

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao / April 22, 2010) – Philippine peace negotiators and Muslim rebels signed several agreements ahead of national elections, but a major accord that would end decades of secessionist war in the restive southern region of Mindanao is still uncertain.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for self-determination, said it signed the agreement in Kuala Lumpur after two days of tough negotiations.

Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF’s chief peace negotiator, said the agreements will provide administrative support to the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute, the cease-fire committees; the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and a mechanism to return the internally displaced persons.

Peace negotiators also agreed on the civilian protection component of the International Monitoring Team and the Philippines campaign to ban landmines.

The MILF, however, said the fate of the interim agreement is still not settled, even if the peace panels agreed on some common areas which are yet to be discussed in their next meeting early next month.

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GRP, MILF to revive talks

Mindanao Times Written by: Dalumpines , Jose G.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

NORTH Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol revealed that the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front negotiating panels will leave for Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia this week to review their respective drafts in the effort to sign a new peace deal before the end of President Arroyo’s term.

Piñol, who is gunning the gubernatorial post this year, said the information was confirmed to him by Sec. Annabelle Abaya, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

He quoted Abaya as saying that the two sides will present their respective drafts on the proposed peace agreement to arrive at a common ground to finalize the document that will be called the Interim Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the MILF.

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Mb.com,ph By EDD K. USMAN 02/17/10

After an absence of over a year, the Malaysian contingent for the International Monitoring Team (IMT) will return to Mindanao, initially its nine-man advance delegation, to meet Thursday with the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Chairman Al-Haji Murad Ebrahim.

The IMT is a mechanism for the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and MILF that monitors the implementation of the two parties’ accords on ceasefire, rehabilitation, and development of conflict-affected communities, and the protection of non-combatants and civilian properties.

In a phone interview with MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, he confirmed the meeting with the MILF of the Malaysia advance IMT delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Datuk Raja Mohammed Affendi bin Raja Mohamed, chief of staff of the Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters.

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Posted by: JWP | 02/16/2010

Islamic militants attack army post

Militants attack Basilan army post

February 16th, 2010 Mindanao Examiner

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 16, 2010) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants whose group is tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya attacked a military post in the troubled province of Basilan, south of Zamboanga City.

Police said the attack occurred Monday in Sumisip town, but troops repulsed the militants headed by Puruji Indama, who is on the list of the government’s most wanted terrorists in the southern Philippines.

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Posted by: JWP | 02/11/2010

Govt panel rejects Islamist parliament

Govt panel rejects Muslim parliament

Manila Standard Today 02/01/10

THE government has turned down the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s proposal for a parliamentary system for Muslim Mindanao because the Constitution allows only a presidential system of government.

Antonio La Vina, legal adviser of the government peace panel, said over the weekend that the MILF panel, led by Mohagher Iqbal, broached the idea of a parliamentary system for the Moro homeland in Mindanao during formal peace talks in Kuala Lumpur hosted by the Malaysian government.

“They prefer a parliamentary system, but that is not possible under the present Constitution which provides for a presidential system,” Lavinia told reporters.

Under a parliamentary scheme, the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would not be elected directly by the voters but would be chosen from the members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who will be elected at large.

La Vina said government negotiators were surprised when the MILF panel proposed the shift because the rebel group was widely believed to favor a federal system.

“We are inclined to offer them the highest form of autonomy that is possible under the Constitution,” he said.

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Sun Star Thursday, February 11, 2010

A SECOND member of the government’s peace panel resigns effective February 8 due to secrecy policy of the ongoing talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Mayor Celso Lobregat have expressed apprehensions over the manner the government pursues negotiations with the secessionist group. He said lawyer Tomas Cabili resigned effective Monday.

Lobregat said Cabili’s resignation validates his observations that the government and MILF are not undertaking genuine and honest to goodness consultations with the concerned stakeholders on issues concerning the peace talks.

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Philippine Government and MILF agree on sharing of taxes, says lawyer 02/01/10

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Philippine Government and MILF agree on sharing of taxes, says lawyer

gulfnews By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief Published 02/01/10

This was one of the seven points that were reached by negotiators of the Philippine government and the MILF in Malaysia last week.

Manila: The Philippine government and a rebel Muslim group agreed to share wealth earned by the autonomous area for Muslims in the southern Philippines, a government lawyer told Gulf News.

Camilo Montesa, lawyer of the government negotiators, said the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed on “wealth sharing between the local government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the national government”.

This was one of the seven points that were reached by negotiators of the Philippine government and the MILF in Malaysia last week, said Montesa who was with the government negotiators in Kuala Lumpur last week.

At the same time, both the Philippine government and the MILF also agreed to have share in controlling the natural resources in areas controlled by Filipino Muslims in the south, said Montes.

This item was one of the two more important points agreed upon by the two camps in Malaysia, Montes said, adding that property rights were also included in the concept of control of natural resources in the south.

Earlier, both the Philippine government and the MILF have agreed to have a 75-25 per cent share of earnings between the national government and the ARMM.

At the same time, both the Philippine government and the MILF have agreed on governance structure in the autonomous area, said Montesa, adding that it was an important point agreed by both camps. The lawyer refused to give details, but experts said this is related to extending more autonomy in ARMM as far as governance is concerned.

Both the Philippine government and the MILF have categorically not stated if they are pursuing ARMM’s expansion.

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Posted by: JWP | 02/10/2010

Islamic terrorist seized 2 workers in Sulu

2 workers seized in Sulu

Sun Star 02/10/10

By Adelfa T. Vicente

GUNMEN believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits have burned a hauling truck and seized two people who are among the workers undertaking a United States (US)-funded road project in Sulu, the military reported.

Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) officials said the incident took place around 12:45 p.m. Monday in the town of Maimbung, where a six-kilometer US-funded road project is ongoing.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

The kidnapped workers were identified as Rajah Halud and a certain Jalal, who work for a Sulu-based construction firm contracted to do the project.

Investigation showed that the bandits burned the hauling truck and seized the two workers after the construction firm refused to give protection money.

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Troops alerted after abduction report

Sun Star 02/10/10

THE military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) has alerted all its units to keep a close watch on all possible landing sites in their respective areas of jurisdiction, officials said Tuesday.

Lieutenant General Benjamin Mohammad Dolorfino, Wesmincom chief, issued the order following reports that two Malaysian nationals were seized in Sabah, Malaysia and brought to the southern Philippines.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

The two Malaysians, one is described only as a 40-year-old seaweed plantation manager, and the other a 25-year-old supervisor, were reportedly seized Monday morning in Sempurnah, Sabah, Malaysia.

They were reportedly abducted by five gunmen, some of whom were foreign-looking.

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