Friday, March 8, 2013

BIAF/MILF to NPA: Be fair and just to all peoples

From the Website of MILFlinks:

BIAF/MILF to NPA: Be fair and just to all peoples

March 4, 2013 News: A ranking member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has urged the New People’s Army (NPA) belonging to the Mt. Alip Command, Front 72 – Far South Mindanao to be fair and just to all tribes irrespective of ethnicity and religious beliefs in their area of jurisdiction.

The BIAF Commander, who refused to be identified for lack of authority to speak on the matter, told Luwaran in an interview that it is disgusting to know that supposed revolutionaries who are supposed to fight for the interests of the people can be biased in favor of one tribe over the other.

He said that what the NPA did to the Moro residents of Sitio Lacobe, Barangay Malabuan, Makilala, North Cotabato Province last February 23 was an anti-people activity that is no-no in revolution.

“The Moro victims deserved to be given justice,” the BIAF commander said, adding that Moros everywhere are watching anxiously about how justice is to be rendered by the NPA.
At least 60 fully armed NPA fighters, posing as soldiers belonging to the 38th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army entered their village, disarmed them of their home-made firearms and carted away other valuables.

An earlier rundown of this incident was carried by this site, as follows:

“Datu Jainudin ‘Toks’ Baclid, the leader of the Baclid Clan that is native to the village, said the NPA rebels took away an M-79 grenade launcher, eight home-made Uzi pistols, five home-made Ingram pistols, two 38 caliber revolvers, and five 12-gauge shotguns.

Together with some other Moro Maguindanaons, the grandfather of Toks Baclid settled in Lacobe in the late ‘40s.   It was in 1969 when the government gave them certificate of titles for the land that they occupied.

When the war broke out between the Black Shirts and the Ilaga terror gang in 1970, the members of the Baclid Clan were forced to leave Lacobe. Then, Christian settlers occupied the village.

All the attempts of the Baclid Clan to return to their village were met with strong opposition by the Christian settlers.

The members of the Baclid Clan, however, were able to settle again in Lacobe in the ‘90s.  The Moro and the Christian settlers became beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government.

“But in 2001, members of the NPA attacked the Moros in Lacobe.  They burned our houses and destroyed our means of livelihood,” Toks Baclid said.

In 2007, the Baclids decided to settle again in Lacobe.

“And on September 15, 2007, the NPAs ambushed us.  Two of my brothers were killed,” Baclid added.

The ambush on their family members by the NPAs, according to Baclid, was repeated on September 17, 2011, four years and two days after the first one.  Teding Baclid and PFC Nas Matiagal, a member of the Philippine Army and a close relative, were wounded, then.
What ensued were series of dialogues and signing of peace covenants between the Baclid Clan and that of the farmer-beneficiaries in Lacobe.  These were facilitated by the North Cotabato Provincial Government, the Municipal Local Government of Makilala and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

On February 9, 2012, a mediation conference between the Baclid Clan and the Farmer-Beneficiaries’ Group at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel in Kidapawan City.

Present in the conference were Toks Baclid, representing the Baclid Clan; Jose Danny Llup, representing the Farmer-Beneficiaries; Edris P. Gandalibo, North Cotabato Deputy Governor for Muslim Affairs and Alex Lalaguna, barangay captain of Malabuan, among others.

In the said conference, the Parties agreed that, “All areas not occupied by the Farmers’ Group belongs (sic) to the Baclid; all areas occupied  by the Baclids belong to the Baclids” subject to some stipulations such as, “For the affected areas, the farmers will be resettled to another vacant area.”

The document that the Parties came up with and signed contained provisions on how the different lots were distributed either to the Baclids or to the farmers’ group.
The Parties again met at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel on July 5, 2012.  They came up with Joint Agreement with provisions like, “We fully observe the Agreements made between the group of Sitio Lacobe ARBs (Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries) and the Baclid Family on February 9, 2012 at the AJ Hi-Time Hotel, Kidapawan City” and “We agree that any clarification, requests, complaint arising from the implementation of the Agreement, everything will be directed at the Project Management Team tasked to implement the February 9, 2012 Agreement.”

On March 12, 2012, members of the Baclid Clan and that of the farmer-beneficiaries gathered in the municipal hall of Makilala where their respective representatives signed a peace agreement that provided, among other things, that the Baclids agreed to give away some of their owned land and the farmer-beneficiaries accepted the relocation area allotted to them.

The signing of the peace covenant was witnessed by North Cotabato Provincial Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliňo-Mendoza, Makilala Municipal Mayor Rudy Caoagdan and representatives from the DAR.

On January 31, 2013, the residents of Barangays Malabuan, Villaflores and Bato converged in Sitio Lacobe in the gathering dubbed as “Kanduli” for Peace and Development.

The main highlight of the gathering was the signing of the final Peace Covenant between the Baclid Clan and the Lacobe Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries.

The signing was witnessed by DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Governor Taliňo-Mendoza and Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong of North Cotabato, and other officials.”

The purpose of said gathering was to end the already 6-decade land conflict.


Government forces intercept Kiram followers bound for Sabah, police report says

March 6, 2013 News: Some 67 followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were intercepted March 5 as they were about to leave the country to reinforce their comrades holed up in Lahad Datu, Sabah, a police official in Tawi-Tawi said.
This news report was bannered in Sunstar tabloid today.

The Sabah stand-off started after about 180 members of the so-called Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of Sultan Jamalul, landed on February 12 in Lahad Datu to stake a claim to Sabah.

The clansmen, armed with rifles and grenade launchers, defied stern warning from the Malaysian authorities to leave, as they insist Sabah is their ancestral birthright. This prompted the Malaysian police and military to launch an assault, triggering hostilities the past few days.

The report said that the reinforcement group was intercepted in the municipality of Bongao, the capital of Tawi-Tawi, said Provincial Police Director Joselito Salido, adding the followers returned to their respective provinces after they were prevailed upon to return home.

The men told Police that they came from the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.  However, it was not reported whether the men were armed or not.

However, effort by Luwaran to validate the report is still ongoing.

The Philippine Government has tightened the watch in the country’s southern border to prevent followers of the Sultanate of Sulu from reinforcing their comrades in Sabah, who have been in a standoff with Malaysian forces.

Meanwhile, prices of basic goods including gasoline skyrocketed to all-time high due to the stand-off in Sabah. Goods sell lower when bought from Sandakan or Lahad Datu than purchased from Zamboanga City. Trip by ordinary boats take only three hours going to Sabah than in Zamboanga City which usually lasts for eight hours.

There is panic-buying in Tawi-Tawi especially Bongao, the capital of the province, report added.

MILF Website