MILF accused of violating peace pact

By Roel Pareño, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 05 2014 04:46 AM | Updated as of Aug 05 2014 12:46 PM

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Zamboanga City government has accused the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) of violating a peace agreement after members of the armed group reportedly conducted a mining activity in a village here.

This developed as authorities monitored the movements of some 40 to 50 unarmed MILF members in another village, also in this city.

Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the alleged illegal mining activity by MILF members, led by a certain Bob Jumadil, occurred in Barangay Baluno last July 31.

She said the MILF wanted to get samples of the village’s mineral products as they were reportedly given the authority to mine in any part of Mindanao.

“This is a clear violation of the peace agreement,” Salazar said.

Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, acting city police director, said about 40 to 50 MILF members were monitored at the border of Barangay Tagasilay.

Casimiro said the MILF men claimed they were in the area to attend the baptismal rites of a son of one of their members.

Salazar said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles responded after the issue was brought to her attention. She said Deles, in a text message, said the movement was illegal under the peace agreement.

Deles described MILF’s move as “unacceptable and nowhere allowed or authorized under the peace agreement.”

Salazar said Deles ordered the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostility (CCCH) to look into the complaint and the Armed Forces to take action on the matter.

Deles told Salazar that the issue has been raised with MILF commander Malik Karil, who is in charge of Western Mindanao.

Karil reportedly advised Jumadil, MILF city political chair, to stop all activities including the mining exploration, that could adversely affect the ceasefire and the peace process.

Salazar said this is the second time the MILF violated the peace agreement. The first was when the group tried to put up a satellite office in Barangay Cawit, a village near Baluno.