Thursday, March 27, 2014

Palace says CAB to pave way for 'offensives' vs 'spoilers' but BIFF dares govt to 'bring it on'

From InterAksyon (Mar 27): Palace says CAB to pave way for 'offensives' vs 'spoilers' but BIFF dares govt to 'bring it on'

BIFM spokesman Abu Misri Mama with followers (AFP file)

The signing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will pave the way for coordinated offensives against armed groups dubbed “spoilers of peace” in Mindanao, Malacanang said Thursday.

But Abu Misir Mama, spokesman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Movement, which broke away from the MILF after refusing to give up aspirations for an independent Islamic state, dared Malacanang to "stop talking and just do it."

While the CAB is expected to end decades of hostilities between government and the MILF, there remain other factions, notably the BIFM.

The Abu Sayyaf also remains active in Sulu and Basilan while a number of other armed independent groups, mostly engaged in kidnapping and extortion, continue to operate in other areas of the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which will eventually be dissolved to give way to the new Bangsamoro political entity.

In a briefing aired over Radyo ng Bayan, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said such groups would be considered law enforcement problems.

"Law enforcement operations will be implemented," Coloma said. "We are determined to address such developments.”

“If you recall, when we signed the Framework Agreement (on the Bangsamoro) in 2012, there was conflict but it was immediately addressed through the effective partnership of the MILF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he added, referring to a rash of violence between government forces and fighters of the BIFM, which was founded by former MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato.

Coloma said law enforcement activities would continue in areas "where there are spoiler groups."

But Mama, in a phone interview, said: "Huwag na sila madami pang salita, gawin na lang nila. Kami, kapag sinabi namin, gagawin talaga namin (They should stop talking too much and just do it. We, when we say we will do something, we do it)."

"Handang handa kami, at nasubukan na nila 'yan (We are ready, and they have tried that already)," he added.

While he declined to reveal any plans, Mama said they have been waging a "guerrilla" campaign, claiming that they had attacked military outposts in Datu Piang town and the capitol of Maguindanao province earlier in the week.

Mama said after the CAB is signed, "baka hindi na nila kami mahanap, kami na ang maghahanap sa kanila (they might not be able to find us anymore, we will be the ones to go looking for them)."

Coloma also said the peace pact’s annex on normalization would also ensure no more factions break away from the MILF.

"There are clear parameters for decommissioning through a third party and the eventual integration of armed MILF to the Philippine National Police," he added.

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