Gov’t peace adviser calls for calm, sobriety over Maguindanao clash
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential adviser on peace process Teresita Deles on Monday called for sobriety pending investigation into the recent clashes between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao which resulted in the death of at least 34 people.
”We ask everyone to be calm,” Deles told reporters after attending a Senate hearing, adding ”accountabilities” would be exacted against those responsible for the firefights.
At least 30 members of the Philippine National Police Special Task Force and four members of the MILF have been reported killed in the clashes that occurred in Mamasapano in Maguindanao early Sunday.
“I think it’s clear that our ceasefire mechanisms, while they were not used to prevent the (firefights) problem, are certainly being used to resolve the problem, to bring it to a containment,” she said.
”Without the ceasefire mechanisms between the government and the MILF,” Deles said, ”the firefight between members of the PNP Special Task Force and the rebel group would have continued up to now.”
“You can just imagine that without the ceasefire mechanisms, something like this happening, that firelight would be continuing up to now. It would have spread and it’s because we have a ceasefire mechanism in place that it was immediately contained…” she said.
“We are of course in great sympathy with the families (of the fatalities) and certainly both sides will be studying this further to ensure how we can further tighten coordination and maybe this means coordination not just between the two parties but also within the parties to ensure that this will not happen again,” she added.
Deles also expressed hope that the clash would not affect the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) pending in Congress.
“That’s why we call on our people, please wait. Let’s be sober in this,” she said.
“Certainly the BBL should be bigger than this, the search for peace and justice, the search for development, for a lasting solution to this long troubled situation. This should certainly be bigger than this and that we are sure accountabilities are going to be exacted and that institutions, some of (the) mechanisms of which are already in place, are even going to be strengthened,” Deles added.