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Home Community RP Government Updates Philippine Government to Resolve the MILF Occupation of Some Towns in North Cotabato
Philippine Government to Resolve the MILF Occupation of Some Towns in North Cotabato PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Saturday, 09 August 2008 23:22

The government will “have to walk the extra mile” to resolve the present conflict in North Cotabato brought about by the forcible takeover by some 850 armed men of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) since Sunday of some barangays and towns in the province, displacing some 5,000 individuals.

 

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, in a press briefing in Malacañang this afternoon, said a meeting set at 5 p.m. today between the MILF and the government peace panel ceasefire committee is expected to resolve the issue peacefully.

 

“This is a clear violation of laws but we have to exhaust all the remedies under the mechanisms of the peace process. There is a 24-hour period allowed by security forces to follow the peace process. There is a ceasefire agreement…before any punitive action will be taken,” Dureza stressed.

 

Earlier, Secretary Dureza said government security forces have given the MILF armed group 24 hours to leave the barangays and towns it has occupied by force in North Cotabato province or face police and military action.

 

"We are giving individuals 24 hours to vacate otherwise they will forcibly be separated from the area," Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno said in a press conference at the national police headquarters in Camp Crame this morning.

 

Secretary Dureza said the military and the police will take punitive action if the MILF failed to meet deadline.

 

“This is a clear violation by the MILF of the ceasefire agreement…that their armed elements without prior coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, occupied these civilian areas that include Aleosan and Midsayap,” Secretary Dureza said.

 

He added that the government will take punitive actions to “protect the civilians.”

 

The press secretary said punitive action means “a surgical, calibrated police action to be supported by the AFP if necessary.”

 

“This morning up to tomorrow is an opportunity for a peaceful mechanism to succeed,” he stressed.

 

Mr. Dureza said AFP Chief General Alexander Yano was in Cotabato province to brief commanders on the government’s plan of action.

 

Secretary Dureza echoed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Presidential Adviser Hermogenes Esperon’s view when Dureza said that the government wants to stabilize the situation and put back the rightful owners of those lands.

 

Secretary Dureza has clarified that the proposed government action was not a declaration of war.

 

“This is not a declaration of war, this is a normal enforcement of the rule of law,” Mr. Dureza stressed.

 

* * * *

 

Occupiers of 5 non-MILF barangays warned to leave peacefully or face punitive action

The government has given alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have taken over five barangays in North Cotabato, 24 hours to leave the occupied areas peacefully or face police-military “punitive” action.

 

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told members of the media covering Malacañang this afternoon that the countdown for the occupiers to leave the civilian areas peacefully started at 10 a.m. today.

 

The armed men have occupied the five non-MILF barangays since Sunday.

 

Secretary Dureza pointed out that while the government is prepared to “walk the extra mile” to resolve the long-festering Mindanao conflict, the forcible occupation of the five barangays and the burning of the houses in the area by MILF forces were clear violations of the government-MILF ceasefire agreement.

 

“This is a clear violation of laws, but we have to exhaust the mechanisms of the peace process. There is a 24-hour period allowed by security forces to follow the peace process,” he said.

 

The government will take punitive action to “protect the civilians” if the problem cannot be resolved peacefully, he added.

 

Mr. Dureza described punitive option open to the security forces of the government as “a surgical, calibrated police action to be supported by the AFP if necessary.”

 

The marauding occupiers numbering more than 800 also torched 72 houses, forcing 5,000 residents of the occupied areas to flee their homes and seek shelter in evacuation centers.

 

Mr. Dureza said that a hopeful note in the latest explosive situation in Mindanao was the convening of the Mindanao ceasefire committee to take up the matter. The committee was set to meet at 5 p.m. today.

 

* * * *

 

PGMA visits Chengdu in Sichuan, receives Chinese business leaders

CHENGDU, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived here today en route to Beijing to witness the opening tomorrow of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

 

Accompanied by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, the President and a small party of government officials and Filipino businessmen, arrived at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport shortly before noon onboard a special flight of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL).

 

On her second visit to this city in two years, the President held discussions with several business leaders who have expressed interest in investing in the Philippines.

 

The President and her party, which also included some Cabinet members was welcomed by Sichuan20Province Protocol Director Ms. Zhang Tao and Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.

 

Also on hand to welcome the First Couple at the international airport here were Sichuan Executive Vice Governor Wei Hong and Philippines Special Envoy Carlos Chan.

 

President Arroyo who had committed last year to put up a Philippine consulate in this key city of western China motored to the Jinjiang Hotel here where several business leaders awaited her arrival.

 

Among those who paid a courtesy call on her were officials of the Huaquiao Fenghuang Group headed by Board Chairman and CEO Cheng Su, who is also the vice chairman of the Sichuan Provincial Federation of Industry and Commerce.

 

The Sichuan-based Huaquiao Fenghuang Group is a leading shareholding company engaged in hi-tech agriculture, traditional industries and real estate, aside from being a main shareholder of two “AAA” commercial banks.

 

In 2000, it received an award from China’s Agriculture Ministry in National Aquatic Products Demonstration Base for Technology Popularization. In 2001, the company was cited for Industrialization Managing and Advanced Agricultural

Enterprises.

 

In the same meeting with the President were Anthony Puttergill, chief executive officer (CEO) of Peermont Global Ltd.; Robert Yearham, chief operating officer (COO) of Peermont Global; and Tian Ning, Peermont market development manager.

 

With Trade Secretary Peter Favila, and Ambassadors Sonia Brady and Carlos Chan, President Arroyo also met with the following Chinese investors: Mr. Zhou Minqian, chief of the Overseas Chinese Affairs of the Sichuan Provincial Government; Ms. Cao Hui, vice division chief of the Sichuan Provincial Overseas Chinese Affairs Office; Mr. Yeng Shangyan, GM and vice chairman of the Sichuan Jinfeng Paper Co. Ltd.; Mr. Chen Luweh, chairman of the board of the Sichuan Jinguang Industrial Group Co. Ltd.; Mr. Gong Ji Hua, secretary and GM of the Sichuan Tobacco Monopoly Co; Mr. Hao ShiQuan, chairman and GM of the Sichuan San You Group Co.; Mr. Tang Rixin, chairman and director of the Chengdu Qiaoxing Industry Co. Ltd.; and Mr. Wan Ji, Party Secretary of China Eastern Electric Corp and chairman of the Dongfang Electric Corporation.

 

The President also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allows two Chinese mining investors -- Ni Hao and Jiangxi Rare Earth – to explore for nickel in Zambales. 

 

* * * *

 

Meetings with fellow heads of state, business leaders await PGMA in Beijing

BEIJING, China (via PLDT) – A series of meetings with fellow heads of state and top business leaders await President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who’s due to arrive here late afternoon today (Thursday) from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and the first stop of her four-day working visit to China.

 

Shortly upon her arrival in the Chinese capital, the President will have a working dinner with her delegation at the Asia Hotel, the official residence of the President during her stay in Beijing.

 

On Friday morning (Aug. 8), the President will receive Yujian Xu, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Fujian Longlin Group Co. Ltd. at the Jinshou Room of Asia Hotel.

 

This will be followed by a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister H.E. Kevin Rudd at the Jinshou function room of the hotel.

 

After the two meetings, the President, together with First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, will proceed to the Great Hall of the People for the luncheon/reception to be hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao for visiting heads of state/governments.

 

President Jintao is expected to deliver a message to welcome the elite group of visitors to China. A cultural presentation will follow to signal the start of the luncheon.

 

After the Great Hall of the People reception, the President will motor back to Asia Hotel for a meeting with Chinese businessman Lucio Tai Yen, chairman of Sunshine 100.

 

At around 7 p.m. also on Friday, the President, together with US President George W. Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and other heads of

states and sports ministers will proceed to the National Stadium “The Bird’s Nest” to attend the grand opening rites of the XXIX Olympiad (2008 Beijing Olympics).

 

The $423-million complex, with a seating capacity of 91,000, is The Bird’s Nest which is the epicenter of the Beijing Olympics not only for the opening and closing ceremonies but also the venue for the track and field events of the World Games.

 

On Saturday (Aug. 9), the President will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Fujian Room of the Great Hall of the People. The two leaders are expected to discuss possible business exchanges and economic cooperation between the Philippines and China.

 

After her meeting with the Chinese leader, President Arroyo will motor back to Asia Hotel for a meeting with the top executive of the Chinese Commercial Television (CCTV), the largest television network in Beijing.

 

A luncheon with the Filipino community will follow at the Grand Ballroom (Asian Conference Hall). She will also accept calls by prospective Chinese investors Jiangxi East Asia Palm-Fiber Stock Co., Ltd., and the Wei Wei Group.

 

Late in the afternoon, the President, together with the First Gentleman, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Ambassador Marciano Paynor and Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Cataumber Brady will watch the RP athletes compete at the Beijing Olympic Green Archery Field in Chaoyang District.

 

On Sunday the last day of her visit here, the President will attend a private Mass and watch Filipino athletes compete in the three-hour Men’s Trap Shooting Qualifying Round at the Beijing Shooting Range in Fuquiansi, Shijingshan District.

 

Before flying back to Manila Sunday evening, the President will also watch the RP Men’s Basketball event at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium at the Wukesong Culture and Sports Center, also in Fuquiansi, Shijingshan District.

 

* * * * *

 

PGMA orders close monitoring of developments in Mindanao

TERMINAL 3, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Pasay City) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed her Cabinet this morning to closely monitor developments in Mindanao in the wake of the aborted signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on ancestral domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

 

The President issued the directive before boarding the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) chartered flight to Chengdu, Sichuan province, the first stop in her three-day working visit to Beijing to watch the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics and  hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other world leaders.

 

Set for Tuesday (Aug. 5) in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the signing of the MOA on ancestral domain was cancelled after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO).

 

"The President just reminded us that we have to look at the situation developing in Mindanao because of this development on the failure (of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to sign the MOA on ancestral domain)," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said minutes after the President boarded PAL flight PR-001 for China.

 

Ermita said the President issued the instruction to assure the people that the government, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), were doing everything to keep the situation in Mindanao under control.

 

"Just to be sure that everyone will have peace of mind, the President gave out instructions to see to it that our people know that the armed forces and the police are monitoring the situation para ma-aksyonan kung ano man ang nangyayari," Ermita said.

 

Ermita categorically debunked claims by certain sectors that the cancellation of the signing of the MOA posed a "security threat" to the country, saying the AFP and PNP activities were "only in anticipation of what they (splinter groups of the MILF) might do."

 

"Sa ngayon, wala namang major security threat…kaya lang we go by the assumption that we need to be prepared in case may manggulo sa kanilang mga splinter groups," he said. # # #




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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 August 2008 23:38
 

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