Games to replace war for Aquino’s visit to MILF rebel camp

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. AP

MANILA – Soldiers and Muslim guerrillas will meet in sporting events instead of combat when Philippine President Benigno Aquino makes a historic visit to a rebel camp to promote a peace pact, officials said Sunday.

A “fluvial parade” of dozens of colorfully-decorated motorboats will also welcome Aquino on Monday when he visits the outskirts of the main base of the 12,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the country’s south.

Aquino and MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim will meet in the strife-torn island of Mindanao to hand out social security benefits to impoverished Muslim residents to show their sincerity in furthering the peace process.

Local military spokesman Colonel Dickson Hermoso said both soldiers and MILF fighters would guard the area although presidential guards would handle Aquino’s personal security.

The two sides, who once fought each other fiercely, will also play “friendly matches” of football, softball and volleyball to welcome the president, Hermoso told radio station DZBB.

However popular sports like basketball were deliberately left out, he said.

“We did not include the contact games for now because there might be some people who will be provoked. They might lose their tempers and things might get heated,” the colonel said.

There are no reports of any threat to the president, Hermoso said. But he added: “We are not complacent in our security precautions. The worst-case scenario has been considered”.

Chief MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told AFP the event was historic as it as the first time for a president to enter the main MILF stronghold.

The two leaders may not have time to discuss substantive issues, he said. “The most special thing (about the event) is the confidence-building”.

Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the president’s visit would show the sincerity of both sides in reaching out to Muslims who are among the poorest people in the archipelago.

She said the mood would be “very festive”.

An estimated 150,000 people died in a decades-long fight by Muslim guerrillas for a separate state in the southern third of the mainly Christian Philippines.

But in October last year the MILF signed a “framework agreement” with Aquino’s government committing both sides to form a new autonomous entity on Mindanao by 2016, when Aquino ends his six-year term.

The MILF vowed to give up its quest for an independent homeland in exchange for significant power and wealth-sharing in a new autonomous region.

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  • Lapu Lapu

    As-salaamu ‘Alaykum    =    Peace be with you.

  • Love God

    John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
    May Peace be with the Philippines forever!

  • Makabayan_cebu

    Peace and more peace to people of goodwill–God, Allah, Yahweh, Poong Maykapal, please BLESS OUR COUNTRY AND OUR LEADERS WHO SEEK WAYS TO END WAR AND SOW THE SEED OF LASTING PEACE!

    • buttones

      Well considering that for every day you have lived, and I also, and your father and your grandfather, and his before him as well, there has been a conflict going on this earth- I doubt your wishes will come true. But maybe this ‘peace’ you speak of , might be achieved when the last ‘king’ on this earth has been strangled by the entrails of the last priest.. That’s a quote- not my words- but I agree with them……

  • kilabot

    don’t forget the favorite presidential game, psp.

    • dgboy

      at least meron, eh ikaw, baka piko d mo pa alam. Ay meron pala bahay bahayan.

  • EdgarEdgar

    “We did not include the contact games for now because there might be some people who will be provoked.” — Local Military Spokesperson Colonel Dickson Hermoso

    The colonel and organizers are right to be cautious. Our homosexual pervert of a president Noynoy has a habit of forcing himself on men whom he fancies. Emotionally insecure Noynoy does not take rejection very well. Corona rejected Noynoy’s ungentlemanly advances under the table during a social lunch at Ballsy Aquino-Cruz’s place back in 2010 and that triggered Noynoy’s vindictive unseating of Corona. Of late, Noynoy has taken a fancy on ABS-CBN’s Korean talent Ryan Bang. To make sure he gets the man he covets, Noynoy has tapped the resources of the state and unleashed the BIR to harass his prospective victim.

    Had the organizers and the colonel included contact games, Noynoy would surely have taken advantage of the opportunity to prey on our unsuspecting brothers in the south. Sexual predators like Noynoy should not be allowed to roam freely in the ancestral domain of our Holy Muslim brothers without a leash, lest he jeopardizes the entire peace process.

    • akongednamzug

      Ang sama ng epekto sa iyo ng paglabas mo sa pelikula noong araw na kung saan ay wala kang dialogue. Sa mga pinagsasabi mo, I will honestly believe you, if you will tell me that you only spoke out your mind. Isang kaisipan na tanging ikaw lamang ang nag-aari.

    • dgboy

       obvious namolestiya ka ng bakla noong kabataan mo,

  • sakinlang

    Okay yung moderator, biased!

  • JasonBieber

    Hold on…social security benefits?

    Is this a talk for peace or some sort of campaign strategy and part of the President’s campaign stops?

    The President rarely makes trips to tough areas like these so for him to actual make it somewhere that’s not Davos or Australia or Austria or the US or Baguio…it must be for something important to him.

  • disqusted0fu

    This will be interesting. A meeting of two stubborn leaders. But no matter how stubborn Pnoy is, he will be in the mercy of MILF. If they don’t get what they want, they can easily call the peace deal off and start war again, making the much trumpeted unconstitutional achievement of this administration fail. This could also make the PH government in the mercy of the Bangsamoro government. 

  • AlexanderAmproz

    Ramos, as soon as elected, he did Peace with Malaysia, MILF, and NPA.

    Erap, was a Marcos’s puppet elected to protect Marcos’s dummies interests.

    Danding Cojangco isn’t it Mindanao main Marcos’s land owner and grabbers ?

    Then the “Erap puppet” launched a war at once on dividing to rule purposes,

    with his “Charles Bronson” B movie populist style talented,

    saying “I will corner every single Muslims in two months”,

    while knowing perfectly that the war was lasting since over 400 years,

    this war is opportunistically re-ignited time to time for the “divide to rule” Laws.

    The Duende fake President did the same shamelessly, again and again,

    the Generals selling stollen weapons to the rebels on soldiers killings purposes.

    Senator Trillianes should remember about it, Palparan the NPA specialist too.

    The Dynasties, Clergy and Trapos laughing to the Banks,

    the Juan de la Cruz striving and perspiring blood to his final destiny, 

    the supposed to be Paradisiac tomb…

    Do P-Noy has the determination to end this death circle initiated at early Spanish time,

    to protect the Christian Pinoy’s against their real Muslim’s brothers, 

    protecting on that way the undue Colonial Clergy rapists and powers interests.

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