Thursday, June 28, 2012

GPH ceasefire committee chief confident on peace gains in Mindanao

From the Website of OPPAP

GPH ceasefire committee chief confident on peace gains in Mindanao

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Posted on Wednesday, 27 June, 2012 - 10:21

Davao City, June 27 – Brigadier General Gilberto Jose Roa, newly appointed chair of the Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH) expressed his satisfaction with the way the ceasefire is holding between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in southern Philippines.
“I am happy to note that each time we meet and work, we continue to move forward to a more conducive, more comfortable and healthy working relationship,” Roa addressed his counterparts from the MILF and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) Mindanao 7 contingents during the 42nd Joint GPH-MILF CCCH Meeting and 21st GPH-IMT-MILF CCCH Tripartite Meeting held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel here.

Roa, together with his MILF counterpart, Said Sheik, shared the same resolve that the CCCH along with the IMT have become established pillars of the peace process over the years. It has significantly reduced armed conflicts in Mindanao through its ceasefire mechanisms enforced in the areas covered by the GPH-MILF peace negotiations. Since January 2012, there have been no recorded armed skirmishes between the government and the MILF.

“I am therefore enjoining everyone here to continue giving your best without let-up in our mutual quest for peace,” he said.

Improvements in the Mindanao peace situation has helped gain positive results which have been reflected on both national and international studies. In the recently released 2012 Global Peace Index, the Philippines made it to the Top 5 Most Improved Countries. On the other hand, Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan survey taken between March and May 2012 reported that 50% of the Filipinos approve of the Aquino administration's work in the area of promoting peace.
Keeping mechanisms in place

During the meeting, the GPH and MILF contingents of the Joint CCCH discussed issues and concerns from both ends to iron out problems and further strengthen their collaborative efforts to keep the ceasefire mechanisms effectively on hold and in place especially in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.
In his message during the event’s closing program, GPH peace panel chair Dean Marvic Leonen expressed his appreciation to the joint ceasefire committee’s “heroic acts of maintaining the peace despite the many vulnerabilities that present themselves on the ground".

He also appreciated that the members of the joint ceasefire committee have chosen to build trust and confidence among themselves and are making things happen.

“I ask that we all build on this trust. Our peoples deserve just peace. Let us give them what they deserve,” Leonen urged the participants, adding that “the current ceasefire mechanisms will be more relevant once an agreement is signed.”

The Joint CCCH has also been active in addressing “ridos” or clan wars among Moro clans in southern Philippines as well as providing assistance and coordination for the implementation of development projects such as farm-to-market roads and other infrastructure projects in remotely-situated conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

Created in 2003, the CCCH is mandated to monitor the implementation of the GPH-MILF Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities and settle complaints on ceasefire violations to contain and prevent conflicts from escalation.

IMT Team 7 Head of Mission Major General Dato’ Abul Rahim Bin Mohd Yussuf also lauded the gains achieved by the CCCH and the ceasefire mechanisms underscoring the spirit of unity and harmony among its members as its key to success.

“This spirit and the professional handling of issues despite all challenges have allowed the ceasefire to hold and created an atmosphere conducive for the peace process to proceed unhindered,” Yussuf acknowledged.
Yussuf also challenged the CCCH members to confront effectively common challenges like ignorance, perceptions, personal agenda, and greed to ensure that the ceasefire holds as well as ensure that “true peace” exists creating an opportunity that makes life worth living especially in conflict-affected communities.

“We in the ceasefire mechanism are called upon to confront these forces that corrode the possibility of a lasting ceasefire,” he said, reiterating that the IMT and its participating countries will continue to uphold its mandate based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality and fairness.

The Malaysian-led IMT is composed of contingents from the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Norway, and the European Union who since 2004 has been tasked to monitor the implementation of the security, civilian protection, humanitarian, rehabilitation, socio-economic, and development aspects of the GPH-MILF peace process. #

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