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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. GMA’s Claim of Improved Peace Condition in Mindanao Contradicted by AFP Report
GMA’s Claim of Improved Peace Condition in Mindanao Contradicted by AFP Report PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 15:55

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the military’s admission of increasing incidence of Muslim-rebel attacks in Mindanao means that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) was caught lying again by claiming that the peace condition in Mindanao is improving.


In an interview with CNN during her visit to the United States last month, Mrs. Arroyo assured her American and Filipino audience that law and order is stable in Mindanao following the abduction and subsequent release of broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon by the Abu Sayyaf.

 
PGMA tries to conceal the truth about the condition of peace and the insurgency problem in Mindanao while the people there cower in fear and suffer economically as armed skirmishes between government troops and insurgents become more frequent.

 Senator Pimentel said the President’s claim is belied by the report of Gen. Alexander Yano, chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was responsible for 40 incidents of ambuscades, harassment and sabotage in just two months – from May 1 to June 30 this year.

 

He assailed the Chief Executive for trying to conceal the truth about the condition of peace and the insurgency problem in Mindanao while the people in the conflict areas cower in fear and suffer economically as armed skirmishes between government troops and insurgents become more frequent.

 

“As usual, GMA is living in neverland. She tries to hoodwink the Americans into believing that things are under control and that she is their best bet to fight off terrorism in Southeast Asia,” the senator from Mindanao said.

 

“She also deceives our people by saying that the Moro rebellion is under control. It will not – and will not be until Bangsa Moro federal state is put in place.”

 

Senator Pimentel said no amount of bluffing on the part of the government can hide the fact that the peace condition in Mindanao has deteriorated due to the breakdown of the peace talks with the MILF, which forced Malaysia to pull out its peacekeeping contingent from the International Monitoring Team which is helping in the enforcement of the ceasefire.

 
The situation in Mindanao will not improve as long as there is no comprehensive peace settlement between the government and the Moro rebels that can be brought about by establishing a Bangsa Moro federal state within a Federal Republic of the Philippines—Senator Pimentel

He said General Yano’s frank admission of 40 incidents of attacks and provocations by the MILF implies that the ceasefire is no longer working.

 

Apparently, he said the ceasefire agreement is being violated to warn that the MILF is considering a resumption of war as an option especially in the light of the reported internal fight in the rebel group between the hawkish or pro-war faction and the dovish or pro-peace faction.

 

“Definitely, the situation in Mindanao will not improve as long as there is no comprehensive peace settlement between the government and the Moro rebels that can be brought about by establishing a Bangsa Moro federal state within a Federal Republic of the Philippines,” Senator Pimentel said.

 

Mr. Pimentel said the prolonged impasse in the peace talks has been taken advantage by the Abu Sayyaf and rogue elements in the MILF to engage in kidnap-for-ransom and other terrorist activities.

 

He also observed that the New People’s Army remains very active in some regions in Mindanao – such as Southern Mindanao, Compostela Valley, Caraga Region and Western Mindanao.

 

Senator Pimentel expressed apprehension that the peace and order problems will further worsen if Malaysia makes good on its threat to carry out a mass deportation of Filipino migrants who are undocumented or overstaying in Sabah. He said this will add to the unemployment problem which inevitably will cause an increase in criminal activities. # # #



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Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2008 01:33
 

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