From the Philippine Star (Jun 17): Royal Brunei Armed Forces execs arrive in Maguindanao for Ramadan visit
Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, huddle with visiting officials of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. Philstar.com/John Unson
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Top officials of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces on Thursday paid their compatriot-peacekeepers in Central Mindanao a “Ramadan visit” and offered dates as gift.
It is a sunnah (tradition) among Muslims to feast on dates after a day-long fast during the month-long Ramadhan.
The visiting dignitaries, Generals Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya and Dato Paduka Seri Mohamad Tawih bin Abdullah and Police Commissioner Dato Seri Pahlawan Shah Al Islam, were personally welcomed at the Maguindanao Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town by Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
Pangilinan led the traditional planeside military honors for them as they alighted from the aircraft that flew them from Brunei to the Maguindanao Airport.
Senior military officials in Brunei regularly visit their compatriots helping enforce the government-MILF ceasefire during the Ramadan.
Muslims abstain from food and drink at daytime as a religious obligation and as atonement for wrongdoings when they observe the Ramadan fasting season, which lasts for one lunar cycle, about 28 to 29 days.
They also focus on charitable acts and reconcile with adversaries during the Ramadan, which is for them a “holy month.”
Brunei has a contingent in the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT), which is helping oversee since 2004 the ceasefire between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Soldiers from Brunei are helping observe the enforcement of the interim truce in all of the 36 towns in Maguindanao province, through their office in Cotabato City.
The IMT is comprised of soldiers and policemen from Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia and non-uniformed conflict resolution experts from Japan, Norway and the European Union.
WITH the ongoing clash between the New People’s Army rebels and the government troops in Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, the dialogue between the military and some 28 displaced families of Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental on Friday, June 17, has been aborted.
Misamis Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDDRM) Officer Fernando Dy Jr. said that the military is engaging with another important matter as the fighting erupted in Talisayan town.
"Naa man gud giatiman ang military sa Talisayan nga panghitabo, syempre ila gayud to unahon busa walay available karon maong nasibog," Dy said.
Dy expects that the dialogue will resume today, June 18.
Dy assures the displaced families to get appropriate assistance they most need such as food, medicine and shelter.
But, he worries that individuals including children may get sick due to sanitation issues and frequent rains.
"Ato lang kabalak-an nga basin magkasakit unya sila kay sige ra ba ulan, but we see to it that the needs are met like food. Nabalaka pud basin naay gubot-gubot sa palibot maapil unya sila kay public park baya na," Dy said.
Dy admits that they didn't expect the families to flock at the capitol and air their demands as he thought everything was already set for the safe transport of families back to their community.
The fact finding team sent to the area has recommended the community is already safe and the fleeing families can go back home.
Tagtabolon Secretary General Nenita Helogon said they were excited to face the army in the presence of the provincial government officials to air their demands so that they can go back to their homes.
"Naghinam-hinam na unta gyud mi nga mapaabot sa ila among hangyo aron makapauli nami kay dili baya sayon ang kahimtang namo dinhi," Helogon said.
Displaced families are still camping at the provincial capitol grounds since Thursday, June 16, and would only go back to their homes once they secure the written agreement that the government troops composed of the 58IB, Philippine Army would no longer stay and build detachment inside their community.
"Ang amo ra man gayud nga mobalik lang mi sa among sitio kung makadala mi sa papel kasulatan nga ang mga sundalo igo ra molabay ug dili magpondo ug walay detachment himoon ug dili na mag-interoga sa mga sibilyan," Helogon said.
It can be recalled that some 47 families trooped to Lagonglong gymnasium to seek shelter fearing the presence of the military would ignite chaos, while some families went back to their homes due to health reasons.
"Ang uban manganakay na, ang uban naay sakit, naay angkan nga nabughat, naay disable and dili na namo pwede kuyogon dinhi," Helogon said.