From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 10): Scout rangers clash with BIFF in Maguindanao
Army’s elite soldiers in Maguindanao clashed with Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and seized an abandoned camp of the rebels on Sunday, the military said.
Soldiers from the Army’s 10th Scout Ranger Company figured with BIFF in Brgy. Macalag, Datu Unsay, in Maguindanao at about 7 a.m., said 6th Infantry Division public affairs office chief Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay.
The armed group fled toward an unknown area after 15 minutes of gunbattle. The soldiers recovered a 7.62-cal. rifle believed to be from the rebels.
Another batch of scout rangers located a kilometer away was able to find an abandoned camp with about seven huts that could accommodate an estimated 60 persons.
“The huts were already empty when the troops arrived,” Petinglay said.
There were also four jungle hammocks, two pairs of battle dress uniforms, one bandoleer for an M14 and M16 and a sweatshirt with the marking “BIFF.”
An upper Special Action Force uniform with name cloth bearing “Usman” was also found, she added.“The SAF uniform belongs to a SAF 44 because we believe that kind of uniform is not sold outside unlike other uniforms which can be purchased anywhere,” Petinglay said.
She added that it was possible that the name cloth was changed as it can be easily replaced.
Petinglay could not say if the name Usman referred to top bomb maker Basit, who was killed on May 3.
“It’s a common name,” she said.
The military launched all-out offensives against the BIFF in February after the Mamasapano incident in January. The Oplan Exodus that targeted top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan killed 44 police commandos in a firefight with members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and BIFF.
The PCPC will include in its proposed Provincial Children’s Code a provision for the protection of children from recruitment and use by armed groups.
In the 2015 First PCPC Meeting held inside the Provincial Capitol at Alabel on Tuesday, Plan International, one of the member-Non Government Organizations of the council, raised a motion which seeks provision for the children’s code “that persons below 18 years old must not be recruited or take any support roles in armed group.”
“It’s a grave violation of child’s rights if you involve a person below 18 years old in armed struggle as combatant or in any support roles like spy, porter or cook,” Jocelyn L. Kanda, Plan International Project Coordinator said.
Kanda presented in the meeting the Children Affected by Armed Conflict (CAAC) Project, a joint activity by Plan, United Nations Children’s Fund and Moro Islamic Liberation Front which promotes child’s rights and child protection.
The project is in support to the UN-MILF Action Plan, an undertaking primarily aimed to stop recruitment of minors in the military structure of the MILF.
The MILF has allowed UNICEF and its partner, Plan International, access to its base camps for the conduct of campaign to address “child soldier” issue.
The MILF is the only non-state group in the world which have signed an action plan with the UN to stop recruitment of minors in its armed struggle.
The initiative seeks to educate Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) (MILF’s military wing) Commanders and MILF community members about child’s rights and protection as well as the general order of the MILF leadership that prohibits recruitment and use of minors in the BIAF. In Sarangani Province, BIAF camps are Malapatan and Masim towns under the 107th Base Command.
Kanda related the BIAF commanders and its members were already oriented last year by UNICEF. “This June 16-18, we are going to orient children, parents and community leaders about the #Children Not Soldiers campaign at Barangay Pananag in Maasim,” she said.
Board Member Arman Guili, requested that the campaign for the MILF must also be replicated in the province in order to protect minors from far flung communities from joining other revolutionary groups.
PCPC is a special body of the provincial government which plans and crafts policies for the welfare of the children in the province.