Monday, January 27, 2014

Govt keeps MNLF deal’s best features

From the Manila Times (Jan 27): Govt keeps MNLF deal’s best features
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro does not abrogate the 1996 peace treaty with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said on Monday.

She noted that the peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “wishes to take all the best features of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, as well as RA 9054 onward into the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

”To date, we know that there have been statements coming from some MNLF leaders saying that they would like the tripartite process to be completed, and that, yes, they are requesting the OIC [Organization of Islamic Conference] to help—to push that solidarity mechanism that have, in fact, already been started before,” Deles said.

”We fully support that. We have been speaking with the OIC, particularly the PCSP [Peace Committee for Southern Philippines], with regard to this matter,” she added.

According to Deles, they are getting signals that some MNLF leaders support the government peace initiatives with the MILF.

“There are requests for meetings with some MNLF leaders in the coming period. We hope that that will come up with some clear suggestions about how the continued engagement of the MNLF can happen also in this process,” she told reporters.

Deles reiterated that “the door still remains open” for the MNLF, saying that the government’s representatives have agreed to set up all sorts of mechanisms, including special consultative mechanisms with the MNLF.

“The call continues to be that this should not be a matter—that more than a matter of attribution of who got what, the important thing is to think about what will be best for the Bangsamoro,” she said.

Local and international stakeholders have voiced out high hopes for the consummation of a peace agreement between the government and the Muslim insurgents, but a lawmaker called for closer scrutiny of its provisions to avoid conflict with the Constitution.

Malacañang also on Monday thanked members of the international community for their support to the peace process with the MILF.

Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland and international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations, praised the Philippines for signing the final annex to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“This milestone gives the entire nation confidence that the next steps in the peace process are on track,” Lacierda said.

But Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the House committee on defense, urged the government to further study the peace agreement with the MILF.

Biazon said the conditions in the Bangsamoro framework agreement should be examined carefully to ensure that these do not violate provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

He said there can be “traps” in the annexes, or the demands of the MILF that require constitutional amendments, or the enactment, repeal, amendment of a law.

One of the contentious provisions Biazon cited is the creation of a new police force within the new Bangsamoro territory.

“The Constitution is very clear: there shall only be one Philippine National Police, civilian in character and national in scope. I am not saying that it is hard for us—we need to examine all the scope of the annexes and find out and begin to study which of the provisions of these four annexes will require deeper examination so that we will know where the traps might be,” he said.

Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile also stressed the need to carefully study the framework agreement because it involves serious security and political issues that may run in conflict with the Constitution.

“We cannot just make a judgment on that until we have seen and read the whole text of the agreement,” Enrile said, noting that the agreement involves issues on territory and the subdivision of the country.

“Some are talking about cessation, independence, division of the country. And there’s a foreign content here, like the involvement of international players, dealing with the Organization of Islamic Conference, you’re dealing with Malaysia, you’re dealing with the Muslim world,” he said.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are in favor of granting amnesty to members of the MILF who have pending cases or have been convicted of rebellion and other rebellion-related charges.

“It [amnesty] is a necessary provision under any peace agreement. We trust the normalization annex is consistent with international policies and practices,” Party-list Reps. Sitti Hataman of Anak Mindanao, the wife of Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said.

“We still have to review the normalization annex, but the deactivation and disarmament of forces will go through a process agreeable between the two parties.

We have to understand the cultural perspective on the issue of arms,” Hataman added.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also lauded the signing of the final annex.

“Any step towards peace is a positive step,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said.

Villegas said the Catholic Church is willing to extend its help to any of the two parties negotiating for the final peace deal.

Malacañang, however, admitted that more work needs to be done before peace can be achieved in the South.

“The work does not end here. In particular, we look forward to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro Transition Commission is also working on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which our legislators will enact, moving forward,” Lacierda said.

(Update) 2 BIFF men confirmed killed in clashes

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): (Update) 2 BIFF men confirmed killed in clashes

The Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division announced that it has recovered the bodies of two "Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters" (BIFF) men killed in the series of clashes with military forces in Maguindanao over the weekend.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, the unit's spokesman, said that they are still verifying reports that another 15 BIFF men were killed in the fighting in Sharif Saydona Mustapha and Sultan Sa Sabarongis towns in Maguindanao.

This was reported to them by local government officials and their intelligence assets.

Air and artillery bombardments took place in the above-mentioned fighting which took place Monday and Sunday, respectively.

But as of the moment, he said they only have confirmation on two BIFF casualties as they have managed to recover the bodies of the brigands.
These were recovered in Barangay Ganta in Sharif Saydona Mustapha.

On-and-off fighting is still ongoing in the above-mentioned areas.

Surgical strikes were conducted in Shariff Saydona, Datu Piang, and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao and Pikit in North Cotabato after large numbers of BIFF men were spotted in these areas.

'So many ifs' in pact with MILF - Enrile

From InterAksyon (Jan 27): 'So many ifs' in pact with MILF - Enrile

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday cautioned against hastily celebrating the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, saying many issues surrounding the pact still need to be resolved.

 “We’ll have to study the problem very carefully because this has a very lasting impact on the future of this Republic,” Ernile said, adding that, “there are so many ifs” about the new agreement, among these how it will impact on the peace pact with the Moro National Liberation Front signed in 1996.

Complaints from the MNLF about government’s failure to honor its side of the 1996 pact have time and again flared up in violence, the latest last year’s close to month-long fighting in Zamboanga City that killed more than 200 people and displaced upwards of 120,000.

But he declined to comment on the MILF position that the new agreement abrogated the 1996 pact with the MNLF.

“Well, that’s their position, I cannot comment on that until I’ve studied” the new agreement that will, among others, replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was created through the 1996 pact, with a new entity, the Bangsamoro.

He also said the agreement with the MILF “involves a very major security and political issue and constitutional problem for the country. So, you cannot just make a judgment on that until you have seen and read the whole text of the agreement.”

Enrile noted that the new accord, specifically the creation of the Bangsamoro, would impact on the country’s territorial integrity, which is a constitutional issue.

And the involvement of foreign entities also made it a national security concern.

Enrile said he will study also the national security implications on the new accord since there was foreign content on the issue.

“There’s a foreign content here,” he said. “Merong mga (There are) international players involved. You are dealing with the Organization of Islamic (Cooperation). You are dealing with Malaysia. You are dealing with the Muslim world. Marami ‘yan (There are plenty of them),” he explained.

And while he acknowledged that everybody is hoping for a peaceful settlement to the Mindanao conflict, he asked if the price would be worth it.

“What’s the price for that peace settlement? Is it commensurate to the peace that we want or is it going to be just like what Prime Minister (Neville) Chamberlain of England concluded with Hitler? ‘Peace in our time’ when it turned out to be World War II. I cannot say. I do not know. I’m not saying that we’re going to have a problem like that. You are asking me a futuristic questions that I do not know of,” he said.

MNLF: Framework abrogates 1996 peace treaty

From the Philippine Star (Jan 27): MNLF: Framework abrogates 1996 peace treaty

The Moro National Liberation Front said yesterday that the framework agreement signed over the weekend in Malaysia by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) effectively abrogated the 1996 peace treaty with the MNLF.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said their group could never accept the annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

“The Bangsamoro framework is an abrogation of the 1996 final peace agreement with the MNLF. The 1996 peace pact should prevail and not whatever agreement with the MILF,” Cerveza said.

He warned the government that hostilities could break out if things do not turn out well with peace agreement with MILF that was signed Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

“War is a possibility but it is not a program. It is not in the program but if the situation demands for it, then we cannot help it,” Cerveza said.

But Cerveza said the MNLF is not pushing for war and is instead going to explore the peaceful and political solution to the problem.

MNLF Islamic Council Command chairman Habib Hashim said the MNLF is going to the United Nations to seek the decolonization of Mindanao.

“We are seeking the decolonization of Mindanao which would comprise not only Mindanao but also Palawan and the Spratlys,” Hashim said.

Cerveza said the government is stupid and naïve for entering into a peace negotiation with its rival faction the MILF when it has reneged on its commitment to implement the provisions of the 1996 final peace pact signed in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Hashim said the MNLF would question before the Supreme Court the legality and legitimacy of the expected final peace agreement with the MILF.

“There are now three petitions filed before the Supreme Court to declare the FAB unconstitutional and illegal. There is a chance that the Supreme Court will declare the FAB as unconstitutional and illegal just like what it did to the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain) in 2008,” Cerveza said.

Both Cerveza and Hashim said that the MNLF has already closed its doors on any renegotiation on the 1996 final peace accord.

“No renegotiation, no talks or anything with government,” Cerveza said.

Hashim said the MNLF would never enter into a convergence with the MILF in drawing up the comprehensive peace accord with the latter.

“It is the MILF that should join us and not the other way around. The 1996 peace accord came first before the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro,” Hashim said. Cerveza said “convergence” with the MILF is totally improbable.

Hashim reiterated that the agreement forged by the government and the MILF continues to violate the existing 1996 agreement with the MNLF and the previous accord, the 1976 Tripoli agreement.

“We (MNLF) are dismayed because any agreement they signed violated the existing peace agreement,” Hashim said.

He also explained that they ignored calls to participate in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) because there is the 1996 final peace agreement which has not been fully implemented by the government.

“Once we participate it will be a violation of our existing agreement because it’s highly unconscionable,” Hashim added.

He said they received reports that about 70 percent of the MILF leaders were dissatisfied with the FAB, which detracted from their original demand of independence.

“Hopefully, the government will not betray the MILF (who agreed on the deal). But there is an exodus of MILF leaders, about 70 percent are going out and most of them are ground commanders,” Hashim said.

He said based on unconfirmed information those who are defecting from the MILF might go back to the MNLF or join Ameril Umbra Kato’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF).

Cerveza said the MNLF would accept defecting MILF members.

The MNLF official said the latest agreement forged between the GPH and MILF has not affected the MNLF faction that is calling for independence not only in the area covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but the whole of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

MNLF sees betrayal of 1996 peace pact

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 27): MNLF sees betrayal of 1996 peace pact

While the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are celebrating their agreement to end four decades of conflict in Mindanao and drawing global praises for it, another armed group on the island, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), is mourning and feeling betrayed.

“This is a violation of the 1996 final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MNLF. It serves as the last nail on the coffin of the peace agreement,” Habib Hashim Mudjahab, head of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, said on Sunday.

The government and the MILF agreed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Saturday on a “normalization” deal to deactivate the MILF insurgent forces and end the conflict in Mindanao.

The normalization annex is the last of four documents that make up the final peace agreement that both sides are looking to sign in February or March.

Malacañang said on Sunday that the deal was legal, as it complied with the Constitution.

“The government negotiators followed the President’s directive to make sure each provision is constitutional, reflects the lessons of previous peace processes and, most important, consistent with the political, cultural and economic capabilities of both parties,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said on state-run radio.

The final peace agreement between the government and the MILF will be the basis of a Bangsamoro basic law that both sides will draft and submit to President Aquino, who, in turn, will certify it urgent when he submits it to Congress for approval.

Coloma said he hoped Congress would work fast on the basic law so that it could be submitted to a plebiscite by next year and the officials of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region be elected in 2016.

He also said he hoped the deal would lead to the silencing of guns in Mindanao.
Saturday’s deal should serve as a signal to all parties, including the MNLF, to get involved in the peace process, he said.

The MNLF opposes a separate peace deal with the MILF, although the government says the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF will be incorporated into the Bangsamoro basic law.

To demonstrate its rejection of a separate peace, a faction of the MNLF led by Nur Misuari attacked Zamboanga City last September and took scores of hostages.

The government threw thousands of police and military troops into the fight, forcing the rebels to withdraw after 200 of them were killed in three weeks of fighting, which also destroyed coastal communities in Zamboanga, displacing thousands of people.

Authorities are hunting Misuari to make him face criminal charges that have been brought against him and his followers for the attack on Zamboanga.

The military is also watching out for “spoilers” who want to derail a peace deal between the government and the MILF.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief of the military’s public affairs office, said on Sunday the Armed Forces welcomed the normalization deal and would stay vigilant, as there might be forces and threat groups who  wanted to disrupt the peace process.

“Rest assured that our focused military operation will continue to ensure that the peace process is not hampered or disrupted by spoilers and other threats,” Zagala said.

Habib said his MNLF faction had 10,000 followers who saw the deal between the government and the MILF as a “blessing in disguise” because the abrogation of the 1996 peace agreement meant the group was back to the “clamor for independence through peaceful political means.”

He gave assurance that his group’s “armed component” would maintain a defensive stand, “unless provoked or attacked.”

He added that more MILF commanders were leaving to join the MNLF or the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group that broke away from the MILF three years ago and vowed on Saturday to continue fighting despite a peace deal between the government and the MILF.

Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema, head of another MNLF faction, the MNLF Committee of 15, said on Sunday that his group was cautious about making statements for fear of being branded as spoilers.

Sema said the MNLF, the government and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were still reviewing the 1996 peace agreement.

On Saturday, Sema said the MNLF remained firm that all earlier agreements should  be enforced first before it would allow the conclusion of a peace deal with another group.

The private group Initiative for International Dialogue on Sunday saluted the government and the MILF peace negotiators for clearing the last hurdle to a final peace agreement.

The “collective path” for the peoples of Mindanao has become “clearer and [the] burdens lighter” as the peace process moves to the next stage, the group said.

Patricia Sarenas, head of Mindanao Coalition of Development NGOs, said her group would continue to support the next steps toward the establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous region.

In Manila, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate looked forward to handling the basic law that would create the Bangsamoro region, vowing to give it “utmost priority.”

Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Teofisto Guingona III, both from Mindanao, called Saturday’s deal an “achievement.”

Pimentel, however, said the proposed Bangsamoro law should capture the “essence” of the four annexes.

He said the Senate would scrutinize the bill for compliance with the Constitution.

Bomb hits Zamboanga village chief's residence

From the Philippine Star (Jan 27): Bomb hits Zamboanga village chief's residence

ZAMBOANGA CITY - An improvised bomb exploded outside a barangay captain's residence in this city, before dawn on Sunday.

Chief Inspector Felixberto Martinez, Police Station 6 chief, said the bomb exploded outside the fence Hadji Attang Mohammad Nur's house at Flordeliz Drive, Barangay Mampang at around 2:15 a.m.

Martinez said Mohammad Nur, barangay captain of Tigtabon Island, east off this city and his family members were asleep when the explosion occurred.

“No one was reported hurt but the occupants of the house were awakened by the loud explosion,” Martinez told newsmen.

Elements of the police explosive ordnance and disposal (EOD) unit that responded in the area disclosed that the bomb was made of ammonium nitrate with fuel oil (ANFO), nails as shrapnel placed in a plastic container, a time fuse that was rigged to the concrete fence outside the house of the village chief.

The loud explosion, which sent the neighboring residents to panic, damaged the ceiling, windows and fence of the house.

Police have yet to determine the motive of the attack and the identities of the bombers.

Meanwhile, the Maria Clara Lobregat Highway was temporarily closed on Monday morning due to a suspiciously parked car near a mall.

With suspicions that the car was rigged with a bomb, alert members of the local city police's bomb disposal unit rushed to the car park and examined the vehicle that has been abandoned since Sunday night.

After a thorough inspection, police forcibly opened the car. Instead of a bomb, the policemen found boxes of medicines inside the abandoned car.

The vehicle's owner, who went to the area, after hearing about the commotion about the vehicle said he left his car after it failed to start due to engine trouble.

MNLF factions laud peace deal between gov't, MILF

From the Philippine Star (Jan 27): MNLF factions laud peace deal between gov't, MILF

Rival leaderships of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) lauded the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the completion of the 43rd Exploratory talks, describing it as a breakthrough in the peace negotiation.

Jimmy Labawan, MNLF central committee vice chairman under the faction of Nur Misuari, in his statement Monday, hailed the signing of the annex on normalization.

In a copy of the statement obtained by the STAR, Labawan also welcomed the call of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the GPH, MNLF,  and the MILF to find common ground and develop a mechanism to ensure that the gains of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement are preserved and the Framework of Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes are fully implemented with the aim of consolidating the gains achieved by all of these agreements.

Abdul Sahrin, secretary general of the 15-man MNLF Council under the Muslimen Sema faction, also welcomed the resolution issued by the OIC last year urging the consolidation of the gains of the 1996 GPH-MNLF FPA with the FAB of the GPH and the MILF.

“It is good if we can make the two peace agreements together so that we can come up with a more comprehensive, inclusive and meaningful solution to the Bangsamoro problem,” he said.

Sahrin issued the pronouncement two days after the GPH and MILF peace panels signed the Annex on Normalization and the Addendum on Bangsamoro waters to the Annexes on Wealth Sharing and Revenue Generation and Power Sharing.

The Annexes on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, Wealth Sharing and Revenue Generation, and Power Sharing were signed by the GPH and MILF last year in separate occasions in Malaysia, the third party facilitator.

The FAB and the four annexes will comprise the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace deal between the GPH and the MILF both sides expect to sign soon.

Labawan reminded the MNLF has earlier signed a peace agreement with the Philippines and the OIC is facilitating three-party talks with the GPH and the MILF in the completion for full implementation of the 1996 final Peace Agreement and the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

Labawan reiterated his appreciation on the continued effort of the OIC with its new secretary general, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and OIC-Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP) Chairman , Egypt with their assistance and guidance to finally resolve all the MNLF issues during the tripartite meeting.

The MNLF leader further stressed his support to the advocacy in uniting all the Bangsamoro as one in the quest for a pacific resolution of the conflict in Southern Philippines.

Other senior leaders of the MNLF have earlier dropped calls from the government for the MNLF to participate the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) citing it as unconscionable with the existing 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF.

The BBL will be the guiding police once the GPH and the MILF forged the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

However, Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles said the government and MILF have explained that “the BBL is not just for the MILF but for the entire Bangsamoro people.”

“We continue to hope that the various MNLF leadership blocs will come around to seeing the value of engaging themselves, together with other Bangsamoro stakeholders, in crafting the best possible law for the Bangsamoro,” she added in her statement last week.

Army hot on trail of BIFF in Maguindanao, North Cotabato borders

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): Army hot on trail of BIFF in Maguindanao, North Cotabato borders

Government forces are hunting down a band of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) facing multiple charges of extortion, kidnapping and bombings, an Army official said Monday.

Colonel Dickson Hermoso, speaking for the regional Army unit based in Maguindanao, said combined police and military troops from the Army's 7th, 40th, 46th 45th Infantry Battalions are running after about 20 BIFF who were charged with criminal offenses that involved kidnapping of teachers, bombings, murders and frustrated murders.

"These lawless elements with warrants of arrest were hiding in the marshland in the borders of North Cotabato and Maguindanao," Hermoso said.

The military's surgical operations are being conducted in the adjoining towns of Shariff Saydona, Datu Piang, and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao and Pikit in North Cotabato.

Two MG-520 attack helicopters, armored personnel carriers and 105 howitzers have been helping the military operations.

Hermoso explained that the offensive was done in coordination with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which signed the final annex of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement.

He said that the police was in possession of several warrants of arrest for the BIFF which could fill up a passenger jeepney.

Police and military authorities in the towns surrounding the marshland were also placed on heightened alert to prevent the BIFF from setting off improvised bombs to divert military action.

Traditionally, when the military launched punitive action against lawless elements in the Maguindanao marshland, the rebels would set off IEDs in the towns of Midsayap, Kabacan, M'lang, Tulunan and Tacurong City, Isulan, Shariff Aguak, as part of the rebels' diversionary tactics, Hermoso said.

"We anticipate this BIFF strategies so we placed our troops on alert," he told reporters.

While Hermoso was saying the Army is ready, it appealed to the BIFF not to harass civilian communities because it will displace people who are mostly Moro and affect the region's economy.

Already, close to a 200 families from interior villages of Pikit, North Cotabato have fled their homes following sightings of BIFF forces and the mortar shelling carried by the Army in the marshland.

The local government unit is now attending to their immediate needs.

Army’s 3rd ID turn over P369,500 cash aid to victims of Negros ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): Army’s 3rd ID turn over P369,500 cash aid to victims of Negros ambush

The 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army turned over P369,500 in cash assistance to the survivors and families of the victims of the ambush-massacre perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) in La Castellana, Negros Occidental exactly a year ago today.

The atrocity in Barangay Puso led to the death of eight civilians and a policeman, and injured 12 others.

Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, said Monday the Philippine Army facilitated the support to survivors and families of the victims.

They were supported by peace advocates, non-government organizations, local government units and the Catholic church.

Both the Paghili-usa sa Paghidaet Negros and the Diocese of Kabankalan are providing psycho-social interventions and spiritiual guidance to the victims.

Assisting them are the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the municipal government of La Castellana.

Col. Jon Aying, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said the financial assistance granted by the 3rd ID to the victims will serve as “seed money” for them to establish a cooperative.

The Alter Trade Foundation Inc. and the Diocese of Kabankalan are profiling the recipients to identify the projects suited for them.

Earlier, the provincial government of Negros Occidental provided scholarship grants to children of the victims, including those inc college.

The turn-over of the financial assistance from the Army was part of the rites commemorating the first anniversary of the incident.

A mass officiated by Fr. Artemio Tubongbanua with five other priests was themed “Adlaw sa Pagdumdum (Day of Remembrance)”.

Tubongbanua led the blessing of the ambush site and unveiling of the marker in Barangay Puso.

Also present were Mayor Alberto Nicor and Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao, who represented Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr, and Supt. Alexander Munoz, Negros Occidental Police Community Relations Officer.

Palawan police verifies claim NPA launched assault on U.S. Army veteran's home

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): Palawan police verifies claim NPA launched assault on U.S. Army veteran's home

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY --Police and military authorities in Palawan are currently evaluating and verifying a letter that was supposedly sent by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) claiming they are responsible for the assault on the home of a U.S. Army veteran, who now resides in Brooke’s Point in the southern part of the province.

According to Provincial Police Office (PPO) Senior Superintendent David Martinez, they cannot just accept the letter as “reliable” even if the sender claimed he is from the Bienvenido Valleber Command of the NPA.

He did not say when the letter was sent.

Martinez said they are now verifying the source of the letter sent following the assault on the home of ex U.S. Army veteran Bob Violett in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point last week.

“The Bienvenido Valleber Command came out with a letter of the NPA acknowledging the assault and ransacking of Mr. Violett’s home. We are continuously evaluating and validating if the letter is authentic, if it really came from them,” he said.

The provincial police chief said that if they can prove the letter’s authenticity, they will use it as evidence to file a case against the leadership of the Bienvenido Valleber Command.

As of press time, Martinez said the pursuit operation of the PNP and the Marine Battalion Landing Team 12 in southern Palawan remains in Brooke’s Point, and the town of Sofronio Española, where an armed group was also reportedly sighted following the incident.

On January 22, police and military authorities here launched a pursuit operation against 18 suspected armed members of the NPA for assaulting and ransacking the house of Violett, a 78-yr. old U.S. Army veteran.

The armed men reportedly introduced themselves as members of the NPA in Palawan. They carted away a .45 caliber gun, light vision goggles, Swiss knives, cellular phones, and other appliances. They escaped towards the mountainous areas of Maasin.

Army now on 'medium term' phase of modernization program

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): Army now on 'medium term' phase of modernization program

The Philippine Army (PA) on Monday announced that its modernization program is now on its "medium term" phase.

Capt. Anthony Bacus, Army spokesperson, said that this will commence on 2014 and will end on 2016.

Initial stage of the PA modernization program took place during the previous administration and this includes acquisition of modern body armor, assault rifles, and armored personnel carriers.

However, he cannot give details on the particular projects, involving this phase, as the group that will plan the acquisitions are still to convene.

"The concerned offices cannot yet give the details because talks are still to convene for these projects," Bacus stressed.

But the PA spokesperson disclosed that these programs will involved improvement on firepower, communications, and night fighting capability of the Army.

"(This has) an estimated fund of P8 billion," he added.

This sum includes acquisition of a shore-based missile system worth P6.5 billion.

Patrick Velez, Department of National Defense vice chair for the bids and awards committee, said once acquired, the weapon will be placed under the control and supervision of the Army.

The shore-based missiles will be carried out through “limited source bidding".

No other details were given for security reasons.

Trillanes to consult AFP hierarchy on bill increasing standing force

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 27): Trillanes to consult AFP hierarchy on bill increasing standing force

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday promised to consult with the Armed Forces of the Philippines leadership before coming out with a decision on whether or not to push through with his proposed law increasing the AFP standing force by 20,000 provisional enlisted personnel.

Trillanes made this commitment after some officials of the AFP expressed fears that Senate Bill 1830 would create demoralization among regular enlisted personnel of the military.

”We are assuring that we are approaching this (bill) very carefully. Be assured, sirs, that I will not move forward with this bill if the AFP will not agree,” Trillanes told the AFP officials present during the Senate public hearing on the proposed measure.

In the hearing, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Philip Cacayan said while he supports the bill increasing the AFP troops, the recruitment of provisional enlisted personnel might create implication on the morale of the active soldiers.

”If we have provisional soldiers performing with the same duties of regular soldiers but with different rank after five years and different benefits, these may have an implication on the morale of the soldiers,” Cacayan told the panel.

Cacayan also said if the AFP had a preference, “we would rather continue with our current recruitment system where we recruit regular forces rather than provisional system.”

Under the bill, Trillanes said the 20,000 provisional enlisted military personnel will serve for only five years but those who will excel will have the opportunity to be absorbed in the AFP regular units.

”We have manpower shortage in the AFP but we cannot easily recruit this much because of the pension system that we have,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes said he has been consulting with President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Department of National Defense (DND) on the proposed law.

”That’s why I’m wondering there seems to be sudden change of mind but anyway we will consider the issues you have raised today in a technical working group meeting,” Trillanes said.

He added that under his bill, those who will not be absorbed in the regular units will be given separation pay after five years tour of duty.

The senator also said the bill is timely considering various armed groups in Mindanao are expected to come out to oppose the soon to be completed peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government.

”It (the bill) can solve the manpower shortage specially now in the light of the peace agreement with the MILF. We’re expecting some groups to get in the way of that peace agreement. We need more troops this time,” Trillanes, a former Navy officer, said.

Trillanes said he is expecting to solve the internal security problems within five years.

”So by then, our needs will not be as big as they are now. So this is the best we can come up with,” he added.

The bill, Trillanes said, aims to reduce the ballooning cost in terms of pay and retirement benefits and provide a long-term solution to the looming military pension crisis.

Fine points in the GPH-MILF peace deal to be defined

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Jan 27): Fine points in the GPH-MILF peace deal to be defined

While the negotiation on the substantive issues of a political settlement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has concluded, the parties are still expected to work on the fine details of the normalization process.

As envisioned by the peace panels, normalization is the process of returning to conditions “whereby communities can achieve their desired quality of life, which includes the pursuit of sustainable livelihood and political participation within a peaceful deliberative society.”

Based on the Annex on Normalization just signed, the peace panels are expected to constitute the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) within two months, that is, by March 25. The JNC is primarily tasked with coordinating the activities related to normalization.


In all, the whole package of normalization constitutes measures on policing inside the Bangsamoro and interim security arrangements; decommissioning of the MILF’s armed wing—the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF); redeployment of government forces within the Bangsamoro; clearing of unexploded ordnance in once battlefront areas; disbanding of private armed groups (PAGs); socio-economic support to former combatants; transitional justice; and grant of amnesty or pardon to persons who committed “offenses connected to the armed conflict in Mindanao.”

The nature, character and structure of the police force in the future Bangsamoro is currently being worked out by the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) which is headed by a representative of the Canadian government.

Work of the ICP started mid-October last year and is expected to wind up by April so that its recommendations will be in time for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the charter of the new autonomous entity.

Such police force is envisioned to be professional and civil in character, and responsible to the Central government, the Bangsamoro government, and the communities it serves.

In the period prior to the establishment and functioning of the Bangsamoro police force, government and the MILF will cooperate in the maintenance of peace and order through the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) that will, in turn, overse e the work of Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPSTs).

The JPSTs will be composed of contingents from the BIAF, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).


Decommissioning involves the “smooth transition for the BIAF members to productive civilian life” so that “they are put beyond use.” This is agreed to be on a graduated manner.

An Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) will be created to oversee this specific process. It was agreed to constitute with three experts nominated by foreign governments and four local experts to be nominated by the parties.

The IDB will be responsible for doing inventory, verification and validation of BIAF members, arms and weapons. It shall also establish the methods of retrieval of and rendering the weapons beyond use.

The grant of livelihood assistance to former BIAF members and to their communities is related to the process of decommissioning.

Although the detailed schedule is yet to be released by the parties, the normalization annex provides that decommissioning of the MILF forces “shall be parallel and commensurate to the implementation of all the agreements of the Parties.”

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro sources said that in that schedule, a specific number of BIAF members and weapons have to be decommissioned “for every political milestone” in the peace process such as, for example, the enactment of the Basic Law.

AFP redeployment

In the normalization annex, the parties agreed that the AFP “shall only retain installations necessary for national defense and security.”

But the redeployment of AFP troops will be done based on the result of a joint security assessment “to avoid a security vacuum in the Bangsamoro.”

Hence, just like the gradual manner in which the BIAF is being decommissioned, the redeployment of AFP troops is also “consistent with a normal and peaceful life and the progress in other aspects of normalization.”

Disbanding PAGs

Disbanding of private armed groups (PAGs) will be a joint initiative of the government and the MILF. The parties have yet to adopt guidelines on how to undertake this task.

As agreed, the JPSTs will be responsible for tracking and documenting these groups.
As a further confidence-building measure between government and the MILF, the annex on normalization provides for the creation of task forces responsible for planning measures to transform a select number of BIAF stronghold areas into “peaceful and productive communities.”

These are Camp Abubakar in Maguindanao, which was the MILF headquarters; Camp Bilal that straddles towns in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur; Camp Omar in Maguindanao where some elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters roam; Camp Rajamuda straddling Liguasan Marsh communities in North Cotabato and Maguindanao; Camp Badre in Maguindanao; and Camp Bushra in Lanao del Sur.

All these strongholds were verified in 1999 as MILF camps for the purpose of ceasefire coordination. All these were overran by AFP troops during the 2000 all-out war campaign of then President Joseph Estrada who was wary such “camp verification” processes was a sign of formally giving up territories of the Philippine republic to rebel control.

Army battles Moro rebels opposing peace deal

From the Sun Star (Jan 27): Army battles Moro rebels opposing peace deal

Government troops clashed with hardline Muslim rebels opposed to the newly concluded peace deal with a main insurgent group and wounded at least two militants in ongoing fighting.

Regional Army Spokesman Col. Dickson Hermoso said police backed by troops were on the way to arrest commanders of the rebel Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) when the clash erupted Monday in a vast marshland of southern Maguindanao province.

Hermoso, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the BIFF set off an improvised explosive device in Barangay Ulandang, Midsayap, North Cotabato while another band of guerillas were seen massing in the borders of Pikit, North Cotabato and the towns of Saydona Mustapha, Datu Piang and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao.

Police also came under fire Sunday when they attempted to arrest the rebel group's commanders in Maguindanao.

The massing of BIFF forces came after the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the last of the four annexes of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [Read: Gov’t, MILF clinch peace deal]

“We have been trying to bend our tolerance but the bandits continue its lawlessness, we cannot allow this to happen,” Hermoso told reporters.

The Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade fired more than 20 rounds of 105 howitzers toward Barangay Paidu Pulangi in Pikit, North Cotabato Sunday to prevent the bandits from crossing toward North Cotabato.

As this shelling was happening, residents of Barangays Paidu Pulangi, Kabasalan and nearby villages, have fled to the town center to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

“So far no casualty was reported,” Hermoso said. “We act even before they can occupy civilian communities.”

More troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion based in Pikit were also moved to the North Cotabato-Maguindanao border as blocking force while the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade was deployed in the towns of Datu Piang, Shariff Saydona and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao.

“We are containing the BIFF in one area in the marshland so they cannot sow terror in other areas,” Hermoso said.

Tahira Kalantungan, chair of the Pikit municipal disaster risk reduction and management council, said the local government has imposed forced evacuation to residents in the boundary of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

“We have no actual number of evacuees, but we are asking them to leave their homes due to mortar shelling,” she said.

Rebel spokesman Abu Misry says two fighters were wounded by Army gunfire and shelling in the clashes.

The rebels involved in the fighting are opposed to Malaysian-brokered peace talks concluded Saturday between the government and the larger MILF.

Army-BIFF clash mars breakthrough in GPH-MILF talks

From GMA News (Jan 27): Army-BIFF clash mars breakthrough in GPH-MILF talks

Government troops clashed with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Saturday, the day the government announced it has signed the last annex of a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A Philippine News Agency (PNA) report on Monday said the BIFF have consolidated its forces and set off an explosive device in North Cotabato last Saturday after the annex was signed, considered as a major breakthrough in the GPH-MILF years-long on-and-off negotiations.

The last annex tackles the decommissioning of the armed wing of the MILF.

“Another band of guerillas [was] seen massing in the borders of Pikit, North Cotabato and the towns of Saydona Mustapha, Datu Piang and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao,” Col. Dickson Hermoso of the 6th Infantry Division said in the PNA report.

“We have been trying to bend our tolerance but the bandits continue its lawlessness, we cannot allow this to happen,” he added.

Last Saturday, Hermoso said BIFF forces set off an improvised bomb in Barangay Ulandang, Midsayap, after a convoy of Army soldiers passed by. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

As “shelling” operations commence on Sunday at Pikit, North Cotabato, residents in the area and nearby villages fled their homes after the local government imposed forced evacuation.

“We have no actual number of evacuees but we are asking them to leave their homes due to mortar shelling,” said Tahira Kalantungan, chair of the Pikit municipal disaster risk reduction and management council.

The PNA report said more troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion based in Pikit town moved to the North Cotabato-Maguindanao border as blocking force, while the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade was deployed in the towns of Datu Piang, Shariff Saydona and Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao.

The MILF has already downplayed the threat from other armed groups in Mindanao.

According to a Reuters report, the four-decade battle in Mindanao has claimed more than 120,000 lives and millions more displaced.

MNLF plans to revive petition for Mindanao independence

From GMA News (Jan 27): MNLF plans to revive petition for Mindanao independence

Claiming the government has abrogated the peace agreement it earlier signed with them, the Moro National Liberal Front (MNLF) is planning to revive its petition before the United Nations seeking the independence of Mindanao.

“Para sa akin ay stupid step na you abrogate one agreement in favor of another agreement,” said Rev. Absalom Cerveza, MNLF spokesman, in a report on “Balitanghali” on Monday.

“Now we can pursue our original intention of decolonizing the whole of Mindanao at maging malayang bansa ang Mindanao,” he added.

Cerveza made the statement as the government announced it has signed the final — and most contentious — annex in the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

On Saturday, presidential peace process adviser Teresita Deles noted the Annex on Normalization is the last of four annexes to the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro, which seeks to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The signing “paves the way for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” Deles said.

The “Balitanghali” report said although the MNLF wants to achieve freedom through peaceful means, it cannot assure that an incident similar to last year's siege of Zamboanga City, where more than 200 people were killed, will not be repeated.

“Sila ang may magandang intelligence network. Kung balewala na ang revolutionary movements dito sa Mindanao, e di balewala. Tignan natin kung anong mangyayari kasi mahirap naman sabihin ko na kailangan tingnan kami ng Presidente,” Cerveza said.

In 1996, the MNLF signed a peace agreement with the government, but years later it claimed that the latter failed to implement it.

Unhappy groups

Prof. Julkipli Wadi, dean of the University of the Philippines-Institute of Islamic Studies, said the government should expect that there will be groups who will not be happy with the peace agreement with the MILF, especially if they were not consulted.

He added that the signing of the peace agreement is no assurance that the armed struggle in Mindanao will end.

“If the same conditions persist, I'm very sure there will be new Nur Misuari, new Hashim Salamat, new Janjalani, who will come forward to advance the struggle,” he said, referring to the leaders of MNLF, MILF and the bandit group Abu Sayyaf, respectively.

Sultanate of Sulu

One of the groups expressing displeasure over the agreement is the Sultanate of Sulu.

“The unilateral inclusion of the Sulu Sea by the GRP at MNLF in the agreement without consultation ay patunay na prejudicing the interest of the Sultanate of Sulu and its ancestral constituents, including the Christian brothers and the indigenous people,” said. Abraham Idjirano, secretary general and spokesman of the Sultanate of Sulu .

He said In February, they will be conducting an assembly in Zamboanga City, together with the indigenous people, religious groups, and other members of MNLF not connected with Misuari.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it respects those who have a different opinion on the peace agreement.

“Meron pong mga ibang elemento na hindi sumasang-ayon, ginagalang na lang po natin yung hindi sumasang ayon,” said Herminio Coloma, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

MILF: “Let it be the real final peace agreement”

From the MILF Website (Jan 27): CAB: “Let it be the real final peace agreement”

Local and international heads of institutions and the international community lauded last Saturday’s signing of   Annex on Normalization and addendum on Bangsamoro territorial waters that would complete the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), with Sulu-based Professor Octavio Dinampo saying, “Let this be the real final peace agreement.”
Prof. Dinampo, Chief Executive Officer of Tulung Lupah Sug, Inc. who attended the talks as an observer, told reporters who covered the 43rd GPH-MILF formal peace talks at the Palace of Golden Hoses Hotel that the Bangsamoro peoples welcome the agreement “not only because we are tired of war and decades of destructions in the homeland but also because of the blessing in the reintegration of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement in the CAB after its years of selfish implementation by its tripartite parties.”

“Indeed, let the CAB be the real Final Peace Agreement and the last vehicle, too, towards finding the Bangsamoro’s rightful place in the Philippines,” he said.

In a report by MindaNews on January 24, it quoted Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed who described the peace agreement as “world’s showcase” and the Philippine’s second major contribution to the world, after the 1986 People Power.

Last month’s Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers called on the OIC Secretary-General to exert efforts to “find common grounds” between the peace agreements entered into by the Philippine government with the MNLF in 1976 and 1996 and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) with the MILF on October 15, 2012 and to “integrate the gains achieved in the peace agreements into the Bangsamoro Basic Law” that is presently being drafted by the 15-member GPH-MILF Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said MindaNews in its report on January 26.

CFM Resolution No. 2/40-MM On Question Of Muslims In Southern Philippines, passed on December 11 in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, also urged the Secretary-General to develop a mechanism “to ensure the gains of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement are preserved and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its Annexes are fully implemented with the end goal of integrating the gains achieved in these peace agreements in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

In a statement, Kristian Herbolzheimer, Director of the Philippines Programme at Conciliation Resources, said the signing that marked the end of the negotiations phase of the 17-year old peace process “settles one of the most protracted armed conflicts in the world..”

Herbolzheimer, whose London-based organization  works with people in conflict “to prevent violence and build peace, said the GPH-MILF peace deal “is the most significant peace agreement since the Nepal agreement in 2006” and  has become a reference in the world of  peace-making.

He said the peace agreement “brings a closure to a conflict that is rooted in centuries old resistance against colonisation and assimilation” and that both GPH and the MILF are proving that “unity in diversity is not only possible, but a cornerstone for a healthy democracy.”

Emma Leslie, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia  and Philippines Programme Associate also at Conciliation Resources, said other peace processes in Asia such as Myanmar and Kashmir “have sourced many lessons and much inspiration from the Mindanao peace process. It is indeed a significant milestone for the long journey to peace for the Southern Philippines.”

Herbolzheimer and Leslie are both members of the International Contact Group (ICG) which accompanies the GPH-MILF peace process. The ICG, composed of representatives from states and international NGOs was set up in 2009 when the GPH and MILF resumed talks after about a year following the botched signing of the already initialled Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in August 2008.

Normalization, Leslie said, is a “significant term for peace theorists and practitioners” as it moves the emphasis from the simple removal of guns, to a “holistic understanding that the whole community craves ‘a relative normal’ life and requires a range of inputs and actions to achieve it.”

“This,” she said, is the contribution of the GPH – MILF peace process to global thinking of post armed conflict processes.

The Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), formally established in 2013 as part of the GPH-MILF peace process, to observe and report on the implementation of all signed agreements, also welcomed the agreement.

In a statement quoted by MindaNews, Alistair MacDonald, Chairman of Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), congratulated the parties but acknowledged there is still “much hard work ahead.”

“There will certainly be many challenges to be faced in implementing the Framework Agreement and its Annexes. But the commitment of both Parties is clear, and the path to peace is well sign-posted.”

The GPH and MILF peace panels have yet to decide on the date and venue in the Philippines of the signing of the CAB although GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews on Friday that it would be in February or March.

MacDonald said the TPMT “will now be able to carry forward fully its efforts to monitor the implementation of the signed agreements, through towards the election of the Bangsamoro Assembly and creation of the Bangsamoro Government in 2016, consulting with all stakeholders to identify the gains achieved and obstacles encountered, and reporting to the Parties and to the public.”

Pastor Reu Montecillo of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, an observer like Dinampo, said he hopes that when the CAB is finally singed, “it will address the more than 40 years conflict (war) in Mindanao that has badly affected our peoples.”

Another observer, Datu Hussayin Arpa, President of the Philippine Council for Sama and Bajau, said the panels “really tried to provide equal representation of the peoples of Mindanao.” He views his being invited as an observer as ensuring they will be properly informed.

He referred to the peace deal as “very accommodating” but acknowledges he is still not sure if the Badjaos can benefit from it.”  He said he hopes they will.

Johaira Wahab, the youngest commissioner at the Bangsamoro Transition Commission that is drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, said: “Back when we set on this work to continue the peace negotiations with the MILF under PNoy (President Aquino), most sectors were not only critical of the task, but were also skeptical of its chances. They said we had nothing to go on with. This wasn’t exactly true. We had hope and we held on to it, if nothing else.”

“Now, less than four years later, we have been able to create something more than we’d have imagined back then. We don’t just have a peace agreement, we have a partnership. We have been able to resuscitate hope,” said Wahab, who was chief legal counsel of the GPH peace panel under then chair Marvic Leonen (now Associate Supreme Court Justice) until she was named BTC commissioner early last year.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland said the signing is a “momentous milestone towards a long-lasting peace in the southern Philippines” and signals the “end of a lengthy and complex negotiation process and demonstrates the parties’ commitment to achieve peace through this historic agreement.”

It also welcomed the “MILF’s pledge as a signatory to the Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment banning antipersonnel mines, and that it has agreed to work with Geneva Call on the prohibition of sexual violence and the protection of women.”

Patricia Sarenas of the Mindanao Coalition of Development Network wrote: “Great blessings today! With the signing of the Normalization annex, last annex to the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro, we move closer to the creation of the Bangsamoro!”

ARMM Gov Mujiv Hataman commended the panels for “persevering and braving the needed sacrifices and heeding the clamour of the great majority of Filipinos. “As we promised, we are more than willing to sacrifice while we prepare the bureaucracy for a smooth transition of power towards the new political set-up,” Hataman said.

Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., in an e-mail to MindaNews said he hopes “that whatever it is that the government and the MILF are signing will truly address all the concerns of all the Moro sectors — the MNLF, the Sultanate of Sulu, other rebel bands, etc. — and recognize the concerns of the Lumads, e.g. their ancestral domains, and the non-Muslims, i.e., the other tribal groups and the Christians living in the area covered by their agreement.“let-it-be-the-real-final-peace-agreement