Army, MILF agree to halt clashes in Basilan | Inquirer News
Localized ceasefire

Army, MILF agree to halt clashes in Basilan

/ 04:35 AM November 15, 2022

ISABELA CITY—The two parties involved in last week’s skirmishes in Ulitan village of Ungkaya Pukan town reconciled on Monday inside 104th Army Brigade headquarters in Tabiawan of this capital city of Basilan province.

Lt. Col. John Ferdinand Lazo, commanding officer of the 64th Infantry Battalion (IB), and Cmdr. Huram Malangka, head of the 114 Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), shook hands and agreed to give way to peace after almost six hours of dialog.

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Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. spearheaded the meeting of the two forces to thresh out unresolved issues following the declaration of localized ceasefire on Nov. 10, after two days of armed confrontation between one unit of the 114 Base Command and soldiers of the 64th IB.

The fighting that erupted on Nov. 8 claimed the lives of three soldiers, seven MILF members and a student; wounded at least two dozen fighters from both sides and displaced a total of 1,867 families, or around 4,000 people, not only in Ulitan village but also in neighboring villages of Tongbato, Materling, Bohe Pahu, Bohe Suyak and Songkayot, according to Ungkaya Pukan Mayor Jomar Maturan.

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Galvez, a retired general and brigade commander of the 104th Army Brigade here before he assumed his current post as a peace adviser, said he was saddened by the effect of the clashes and expressed condolences to the families on both sides of the conflict who lost their loved ones during the two-day gunfight in Ulitan village.

Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament member Hadji Dan Asnawie led the MILF during the meeting while Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force Basilan, led the government forces during the closed-door dialog that started from 10:30 a.m. and ended at 3:50 p.m. on Monday. It was also attended by the joint coordinating committee on the cessation of hostilities, the ad hoc joint action group teams and the local government unit of Ungkaya Pukan.

Maturan said his people were still displaced until now and were still waiting for a genuine settlement to finally end the hostilities between the two parties.

Despite the signing of a localized ceasefire four days ago, residents of the six affected villages still refused to return to their homes, unless genuine settlement of the conflict would be drawn up between the parties in conflict, said Maturan. INQ

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TAGS: Basilan clashes, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Philippine Army
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