From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 15): Bomb defused at State College
Kidapawan City, Cotabato — Bomb experts defused an improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned from a 60-mm mortar ammunition which caused panic at a a state-run college in the municipality of Arakan in North Cotabato yesterday morning.
Senior Inspector Rolly Oranza, local chief of police, said the IED was found at 7 a.m. inside a plastic box planted near the flag pole in front of the administration building of the Cotabato Foundation College for Science and Technology (CFCST).
Security guard James Ramos discovered the suspicious-looking package and reported it to school authorities for an immediate evacuation of students and teachers.
Two hours later, operatives of the Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from the Philippine Army were able to defuse the explosive, Oranza said.
The investigation on who planted the IED considers a group of CFCST scholars, many of them orphans, who held a rally calling for the ouster of the school president as possible suspects, Oranza said.
“Investigations are still ongoing. We want to dig deeper on this case,” he added.
“This was the first bomb threat in this school and it happened inside the campus. We know there are problems inside the CFCST but we have yet to find out if the IED recovery has something with the previous incident,” said Oranza.
After the bomb was rendered safe, classes have resumed at the CFCST, reports said.
The peace forum was initiated by Abdulaziz B. Talib and attended by hundreds of participants from the sectors of professionals, women and youth. It aims to update stakeholders on the current status of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Speakers came from the Committee on Information, Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and Mr. Wahab Guialal, Research Officer of BTC Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.
Mr. Guialal gave updates on the peace talks between GPH and the MILF. He emphasized the significance of the four annexes that will complete the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) in order for the BTC to start crafting the Basic Law (BBL). He lamented that the panels failed to agree and sign any of the two remaining annexes during the 40th Exploratory Talks at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last September 9-19, 2013.
But Mr. Guialal expressed his optimism that a breakthrough shall be reached in the succeeding talks. He recognized the sincerity of both panels in pursuing the negotiation and sign the final peace deal before the end of 2013. The head of the secretariat of the MILF Committee on Information-Central Committee compared the proposed Bangsamoro Region with the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which failed to fully address the marginalization of the Moros and their sentiments towards the government.
Samin Unti, BLMI Administrative Officer underscored the essence of advocacy for all stakeholders and urged them to monitor and be aware on the progress of the peace talks. Nasrullah Muhammad, the HRDC Point man to the MILF presented the roadmap of the agreement. He emphasized that the road to realizing real peace is very difficult because there are challenges encountered along the way. Every step is a struggle for everyone so that the aspiration for the realization of Bangsamoro can be achieved. He stressed that the path towards self-determination is not easy and there is no straight path to attaining lasting peace. One has to work hard and make sacrifices.
Professor Esmail Abdula, member of the BLMI Steering Committee and Education Department of KDFI synthesized the inputs given by the speakers. He also delved on the pre-colonization, colonization and the neo colonization period of the Bangsamoro where he said the Moro history started from 13th century to the present situation. The sacrifices of the Bangsamoro forebears shall not be wasted and the next generation shall harvest the fruits of their sacrifices. He also stressed that the MILF leadership needs to develop future leaders for the Bangsamoro.
“KDFI is a non-government organization, registered at Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) and to date had trained hundreds of Moros for advocacy works. Moreover, it engages in various programs for the benefits of the tri people commencing with rigid workshops on human rights”, said Shiekh Moidjodin Talusob, Executive Director of the foundation.