Hataman wants ceasefire, answers on MILF-Army encounter in Basilan | Inquirer News

Hataman wants ceasefire, answers on MILF-Army encounter in Basilan

/ 07:59 PM November 09, 2022
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman has called for the immediate cessation of hostilities between government troops and MILF members.

FILE PHOTO: Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Wednesday called for the immediate cessation of hostilities between government troops and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Ungkaya Pukan town.

Besides making an earnest appeal, Hatman demanded to know why the armed clash occurred despite the fact that a peace treaty was already in place.

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“Nananawagan tayo ng isang agarang ceasefire sa pagitan ng mga nagtutunggaling puwersa sa aming lalawigan ngayon, para sa kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan na maaring madamay sa palitan ng putukan at para hindi na lumala pa ang sitwasyon. Kawawa ang ating mga kababayan,” Hataman said.

(We are calling for an immediate ceasefire between the forces fighting in our province today, for the safety of the people who may be affected by the crossfire and so that the situation would not escalate. Our people suffer the most from this.)

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“Ngayon, ang tanong sa ating isipan, bakit nangyayari pa ang mga ganitong engkwentro? Buong akala natin ay wala nang giyera sa pagitan ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) at MILF dahil may kasunduan na para sa kapayapaan at nariyan na ang [BARMM] na pinamumunuan ng MILF. Pero bakit nagkakaroon pa ng karahasan sa pagitan ng puwersa ng pamahalaan at MILF?” Hataman also asked.

(Now, the question on our minds is why do encounters like this still happening. We all thought that there is no more war between AFP and MILF because an agreement existed and the BARMM was led by MILF. But why did violence erupt between the government and MILF forces?)

READ: MILF, Army clash in Basilan: Gov’t ‘deeply concerned,’ calls for calm

“Nais nating ilatag ang ating hamon para sa gobyerno at MILF na ipaliwanag kung bakit nagkaroon ng ganitong klaseng engkwentro lalo na’t may mekanismo tayo ng koordinasyon sa pagitan nila sa ilalim ng Ad Hoc Joint Action Group o AHJAG,” he added.

(We now challenge the government and the MILF to explain why an incident or an encounter happened when there is a mechanism regarding coordination under the AHJAG.)

Both sides, Hataman said, should be able to explain to the people, especially those affected by the encounter, why it even started in the first place.

“Nananawagan din tayo ng review para sa mekanismo ng koordinasyon sa pagitan ng pamahalaan at MILF sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa kooperasyon ng magkabilang panig. Kailangan sigurong pagtibayin na ang mga proseso para hindi na nagkakaroon ng mga ganitong klase ng engkwentro na hindi lamang inilalagay sa peligro ang buhay ng mga tao, kundi pati na rin ang kapayapaang matagal nating pinaghirapang matamo,” he noted

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(We likewise call for a review of the coordination mechanism between the government and the MILF, regarding issues involving cooperation on both sides. Maybe there is a need to strengthen the processes so that this kind of encounter, which endangers not only the lives of the people but also the peace that we have long fought to obtain, won’t be happening again.)

Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade and Joint Task Force (JTF) Basilan, said government soldiers and around 100 MILF forces and members of lawless groups have been in a gun battle since 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, November 8, in Barangay Ulitan.

“Continuing kasi nagre-reinforce ‘yung ibang MILF,” Gobway told reporters in a Viber message also on Wednesday.

(The encounter is continuing since the MILF is reinforcing.)

“Ang sabi sana namin na ‘wag nang mag-reinforcement … eh ang problema umaatake sila ngayon, kaya nasa defensive na actually ang military ngayon,” he added.

(We urged them not to bring reinforcement, but the problem is they are attacking now, so the military is now actually on the defensive.)

Gobway even said the MILF “are coddling lawless elements” in the area.

KGA/abc
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TAGS: AFP, Basilan, clash, MILF, Mujiv Hataman
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