No ceasefire with BIFF - Deles

By Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Feb 08 2014 04:23 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2014 12:27 AM

COTABATO CITY -- Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita "Ging" Deles on Saturday said there will be no ceasefire between government troops and the renegade group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

This is following the statement of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator Mohager Iqbal that the MILF has already done its part in trying to convince the BIFF to join them in crafting the Bangsamoro Government.

"Walang ceasefire between the government and the BIFF. Sa kabila ng pagsisikap ng MILF na makipagusap at magkaroon ng pagkakaintindihan sa kanila, wala pa rin nangyari. Klaro na ang BIFF they are not covered by the ceasefire," Deles said during the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Cotabato City.

Iqbal said, "Ang concern namin is yung collateral damage sa mga sibilyan. Lahat ng paraan ginawa po namin para magkaintindihan sa grupo ni Ameril Umbrakato."

Nonetheless, the MILF is not closing its door to the BIFF and is still hopeful that the rebel group will join its endeavor of achieving peace in Mindanao through the soon-to-be Bangsamoro Government.

"Yung bridge namin hindi pa rin namin pinuputol yan, it's still open... Ipagkakatiwala na lang namin sa Poong Maykapal kasi naubos na lahat ng effort natin na magkabalikan... Sana bigyan tayo lahat ng Allah ng liwanag at mabuting pag-iisip para makamit ang tunay na pagkakaisa," Iqbal said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, who was present at the inauguration, said government troops will continue to run after BIFF bandits since they have outstanding warrants of arrest.

"There are outstanding warrants for Umbra Kato, mayroong sinusunod na protocol ang tropa ng gobyerno. Nagpapaalam sa MILF kung may operation. In fact recently nagkaroon ng matagumpay na pagpapatupad nitong protocol na ito kung saan hinahahabol itong mga rebelde, nagkaroon ng maneuver para hindi tayo makasakit o makadamay ng mga hindi naman kasama diyan sa paghahabol na yan," Roxas said.

Since the the normalization annex of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement was signed by both parties, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission is now fully operational in crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Deles said they hope the bill will be submitted to the Congress on December 31 of 2014 as an urgent bill.

"Seryoso ang dalawang party, walang naglolokohan dito...talagang mangyayari ito...hindi lang ito para sa mga MILF kundi para sa buong Bangsamoro," Deles said.

"Ang leadership ay nagpulong na at pursigido na tutukan ito... Kung ayaw maraming dahilan, kung gusto may paraan," Roxas added.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman, meanwhile, reiterated that they are ready to step down anytime the transition authority starts to operate.

"Immediately after nung plebiscite, magkakaroon ng transitory commission, ilalagay doon yung kelan yung effectivity at composition ng transitional authority...by that time ready kami iturn-over yung present ARMM sa bagong transition authority," Hataman said.