PRESIDENTIAL peace adviser, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., yesterday warned on the presence of fake peace negotiators in Mindanao who may derail government efforts to forge a lasting peace in the South,.
“We have received reports that certain individuals, posing as representatives of the national government, were planning to conduct a forum on the peace process and federalism to be participated in by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) last October 30, 2019 in Zamboanga City,” Galvez said in a press statement.
“To set the record straight, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has not authorized any of these personalities and/or their organizations to carry out such activity,” he stressed.
Sec. Galvez said that the people behind this so-called peace forum in Zamboanga City are clearly misrepresenting the Philippine Government, the OIC and the MNLF, as stated in their letter request addressed to the City Government of Zamboanga.
“We therefore support the call of Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar for authorities to look on this matter and prevent further misrepresentation that can create misunderstanding, confusion and unnecessary public alarm,” he added.
Galvez likewise clarified issues over the engagements between the Government and the MNLF, particularly with the group of MNLF Founding Chairman Nur Misauri.
He said that under the Peace Agenda of President Duterte, the government shall continue to engage MNLF Founding Chair Nur Misuari to complete the remaining commitments under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement by virtue of the Tripartite Review Process and the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF) with the OIC.
“In compliance with our peace agenda, OPAPP recently organized the GPH-MNLF Joint Peace Coordinating Committees (JPCC) in order to have continuous dialogue, coordination and collaboration with the MNLF in maintaining lasting and enduring peace in Mindanao, particularly in troubled island of Sulu.
We are advising some quarters, particularly those who are not privy in the dialogues, to refrain from issuing premature statements that will derail the current peace efforts of the Duterte Administration,” he said.
The other day, the Police Regional Office 9 denied having monitored the presence of armed MNLF rebels in some parts of Zamboanga City and who were allegedly plotting to lay siege on the city anew.
“We deny the presence of MNLF in areas like Rio-Hondo, Mariki, Sta Barbara, Sta Catalina and Bugguck and no presence of MNLF or any stranger was found,” said PRO9 director, Brigadier General Froilan F. Quidilla said.
The official said that members of the Task Force Zamboanga at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday conducted house-to-house visit in
Kasanyangan, Bugguck and Sta. Catalina and Zamboanga City Police Office director, Colonel Thomas Joseph Martir and his men likewise visited Rio Hondo and Mariki areas and found no sight of any MNLF rebels or even strangers.
Martir confirmed that the request for permit of an MNLF group to hold a forum in Zamboanga City has been denied by local authorities following verification from the Office of the Presidential Peace Process and the Department of Interior and Local Government that the said meeting is not santioned by either offices.
“A follow-up call was made to the permit applicant, Muksan Taguid-id and he stated that they respect the decision of the City Government and forgo any activity sought to be conducted,” said the official.
“We urge people not to panic due to unverified information. Let the authorities handle them and wait for further advice for proper action,” he added.
The PRO9 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Command have called on the local populace and all their barangay intelligence network and ‘force multipliers’ to maintain their vigilance in reporting the presence of unidentified men in their neighborhood.
On September 9, 2013, an MNLF faction known as the Rogue MNLF Elements under the Sulu State Revolutionary Command led by Ustadz Habier Malik and Khiad Ajibon attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik at Zamboanga City and declared their independence.
Security troops moved to free civilians taken hostage by the group triggering clashes for days which caused the displacement of more than 100,000 people, the occupation of several barangays by the MNLF, the closure of the Zamboanga City International Airport and the death of over 200 persons including many of the gunmen and the wounding of nearly 300 others.
The government declared the siege as over 19 days later.