AFP beefs up troops in south after deal with MILF

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2012 06:47 PM | Updated as of Oct 09 2012 02:47 AM

MANILA - The military said forces will be in place in case the breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) launches attacks in view of the framework agreement signed with the government to end the rebellion in the south.

Army spokesperson Maj. Harold Cabunoc told reporters the military is always on alert against possible attacks from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM).

He said they have already beefed up forces in the area.
The Ameril Umbra Kato-led BIFM was known formerly as the Bangsamoro Freedom Movement. It allegedly has 400 men.

"Our soldiers, in cooperation with the local police and even the peaceful citizens in Maguindanao, are ready to defend the communities from harm in case the BIFM insists on using violence to advance its cause," he said.

Additional troops have been deployed in Maguindanao, a known BIFM bailiwick, he said.

"Our troops are ready and what we are doing there is joint security operations with the police. We are prepared in case they sow violence,” said Cabunoc.

He is hoping the BIFM will soon rejoin their colleagues in the MILF, to be covered by rights provided in the new political entity called “Bangsamoro”.

"We had opened the doors of reconciliation to the BIFM and asked them to give peace a chance....They must emulate their brothers in the MILF to forge peace with government," he said.

In a separate press conference in Malacañang, government peace panel chief Marvic Leonen said the government will no longer negotiate with other splinter groups. “As far as this government is concerned, this ends here.”