Wednesday, April 13, 2016
4 of 18 soldiers slain in Basilan clash were MNLF integrees
Ferrer said Staff Sergeant Makin Jarani from Basilan; Sergeant Akmad Usman from Zamboanga Sibugay; Corporal Reezvi Archcelo Gandawali from Sulu; and Corporal Ibrahim Rajab Palaw, a Tausug, were among those killed in action in the encounter in Barangay Silangkum and Barangay Baguindan in Tipo-Tipo town last Saturday, April 9.
She said the four soldiers were part of the longstanding efforts to seal the peace with the MNLF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
She added part of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF was the integration of at least 5,000 of its combatants or their next of kin into the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Many of the 'rebel-integrees' have served the AFP well and some, like our brothers Jarani, Usman, Gandawali and Palaw offered the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism and lawlessness,” she said in a press statement.
She added that Palaw was also a member of the GPH-MILF Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) assigned in Zamboanga Sibugay.
The JPST is one of the security mechanisms under the GPH and MILF panels as outlined in the Annex on Normalization of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Their responsibilities include: tracking and documenting of private armies and other armed groups, and the reduction and control of weapons; supporting the observance of the existing ceasefire agreement to address and prevent hostilities; working on security arrangements for activities related to and personalities involved in the peace process; and supporting dispute resolution initiatives on the ground.
Ferrer said Palaw belonged to the third batch of trainees composed of 15 members from the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the MILF, eight from the Philippine National Police (PNP), and seven from the AFP who underwent training on peace keeping from 10-21 December 2015 in Maguindanao.
“Palaw’s trainers and fellow trainees remembered him as jovial, sociable, and always full of life. Socialization activities were less lively without his participation and occasional dancing, said one trainer,” she said.
She said the April 9 operation was part of a series of major offensives launched against the ASG in Basilan beginning in December 2015.
She added the operations have succeeded in neutralizing at least 13 bandits including their key fighters like Ubaida Hapilon -- the son of ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon -- and Moroccan terrorist Mohammad Khattab.
Ferrer said the military offensives fully observed coordination protocols of the 1997 GPH-MILF ceasefire agreement as well as the 2001 agreement relating to law enforcement operations and subsequent guidelines.
“These protocols have prevented misencounters between government and MILF troops and have provided the AFP and local governments with valuable support against hostile enemy action,” she said.
She thanked the ceasefire mechanisms of the government and the MILF, particularly the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, as well as the MILF leadership, for their strong and continuing cooperation in the ongoing law enforcement operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.
Ferrer, meanwhile, said the April 9 loss manifests the difficulty and gravity of the fight against lawlessness and terrorism.
“At the same time, it strengthens our resolve to continue with our fight for peace alongside our AFP and our valuable security partners in the peace process, believing that we must quell the spread of extremist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf that threaten the lives and security of our brothers and sisters in Muslim Mindanao and the country as a whole,” she said.
The government peace panel head expressed her sympathies to the families and comrades of the fallen soldiers and wished those wounded fast recovery.
“True to the valor and heroism that we recall during the annual remembrance of Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor, we honor our soldiers' sacrifice for the well-being of our country,” she said. —ALG, GMA News
Posted by wikisabah at 3:26:00 PM