Mar 022013
 

Cotabato City — Despite government failure to reciprocate its unilateral suspension of offensive military actions (SOMA) the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) extended its unilateral SOMA for another ten days starting today.

The statement signed by Vice Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim stated that the “Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is declaring an extension of the Suspension of Offensive Military Actions (SOMA) for another ten (10) days beginning June 12, 2003 provided the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stop all offensives”

Vice chairman Murad said that the decision to extend the SOMA was taken in response to the request of Malaysia.

The decision to extend the SOMA was also in “answer to the growing clamor from various Church and Muslim groups, peace advocates, civil society groups and well-intentioned individuals for the MILF to extend its SOMA,” Murad added.

Murad instruction to all Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces members is to comply with the instruction to observe the SOMA and to remain in their defensive stance, “but to fight back resolutely if attacked.”

Last May 28 the MILF declared its unilateral ten days SOMA effective June 2 in response to the call of non-government organizations, religious leaders and peace advocates but the government did not reciprocate the action.

The military viewed the SOMA as tactical move for MILF forces to regroup after the military attacks on their camps.

The President brushed aside the call of peace advocates for government to reciprocate the MILF’s ceasefire declaration.

The new head of the GRP peace panel Eduardo Ermita said that the government is ready to declare a “permanent ceasefire” if the MILF will also declare a “permanent ceasefire.”

Senate President Franklin Drilon said he was “disappointed” with Eduardo Ermita for seeking a permanent ceasefire ahead of talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Philippine Daily Inquirer report says.

Ermita’s concept of “permanent ceasefire” is quite strange, according to a Bangsamoro leader, because ceasefire is a temporary cessation of hostilities and it cannot be permanent until there is permanent settlement of the problem.

The MILF and the government signed agreement on cessation of hostilities on July 21, 1997 in Cagayan de Oro City. The implementing guidelines were spelled out in various agreements but in April 2000 the military launched the all-out war against the MILF attacking their camps which were recognized by the government under existing agreements.

On August 7, 2001 the parties signed in Malaysia a new agreement on the Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement of Peace of 200 but in February this year, upon the order of the President, the military attacked the MILF enclaves in the municipalities of Pikit and Pagalungan. That started the resumption of hostilities.

 

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on June 19th 2003

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