Friday, April 20, 2018

MILF: Unwavering Commitment to Volunteerism Prevails in BDA-Central Mindanao

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 20): Unwavering Commitment to Volunteerism Prevails in BDA-Central Mindanao

MOTHER BARANGAY BAGUA, COTABATO CITY – Top leaders of Development Catalysts (DC) of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA)-Central Mindanao gathered in a meeting at Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindnao last April 13-14, 2018 for presentation of their accomplishment report during the 1st quarter of 2018. 

 DC are designated heads of community-based pool of volunteers of the agency in Central Mindanao.

“On the bases of their reports, no adjective can fit to describe the intactness of commitment to volunteerism of the pool of volunteers of BDA in its development intervention headed by their respective DC,” said Abdulrasheed Ambil, Regional Manager of the agency.

“Despite the scarcity of funds, their commitment to volunteerism was not only sustained but strengthened,” added Ambil.

“This is proven by their increasing accomplishments compared to the previous year,” emphasized Ambil.

“For them, lack of budget can be a problem but not a hindrance to continue their volunteerism amidst the strong unity with continuing proper consultations,” Ambil further emphasized.

Guided by the mantra of BDA – to determine, lead and manage relief, rehabilitation and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, Umar Hamdan, DC, told his co-participants, “Let us continue and even strengthen our commitment to volunteerism to help the agency in its development track.”

“This is our only vehicle with licensed that will never expire in order to reach our centuries-old oppressed peoples in the farthest-flung areas of the Bangsamoro so as to educate and capacitate them in the most diplomatic and civilized ways,” Hamdan further said.

“They are the most deprived people of their right to education and development because of the continuing oppression and all other injustices in Mindanao,” Ali Talipo, DC, supplemented.

“Let us make volunteerism as our lifetime commitment for the Bangsamoro, and other stakeholders, said Guiamaludin Sampulna, DC.

The meeting was an initiative of the regional agency’s office with the supports of DC.

The activity aimed at assessing the capacity of the office in the pursuit of its development intervention in the spirit of continuing volunteerism for the Bangsamoro and other stakeholders.

MILF: House Joint Committee Retains BTC-Drafted BBL

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 17): House Joint Committee Retains BTC-Drafted BBL

Photo courtesy from Bai Sandra Sema facebook, at a Rally outside Congress in support of BBL.

The Joint Committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the House of Representatives namely, Committee on Local Government, Muslim Affairs, and Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity approved the omnibus motion of Rep. Sandra S. Sema, Deputy Speaker for Mindanao to “retain as is” House Bill 6475, the bill drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), and sponsored by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas, Jr. and about a hundred other representatives.

Yesterday, the three Committees voted separately on the omnibus motion of deputy Speaker Sema versus proposed amendments to adopt the original provisions of the proposed law.

During the voting only in the Committee on Local Government where the motion of Rep. Sema lost, voting 9-1.

In the Committee on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, the vote was 7 for Yes, 3 against, while in the Committee on Muslim Affairs, the vote was 5 for Yes, 3 against.

In a statement posted on her Facebook Account, Rep. Sema said, “The long struggle, the sacrifices, the prejudice, the hurting words uttered against our people took a favorable turn in today's Joint Committee Hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The approval effectively disregarded the working draft which was a consolidation of all four Bangsamoro bills filed before the House, including the BTC draft, opting instead to “retain as is” the standalone BTC version, said Mindanews in its report yesterday.

Rep. Sema told MindaNews in a telephone interview that the BTC Version will then move to the plenary for deliberations when sessions resume on May 15.

For her part, Tawi-Tawi Rep. Ruby Sahali, Chair of the Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, described what happened Monday as “a leap of faith.”

Sahali wrote on her Facebook page, “The decades-long Bangsamoro struggle took a leap of faith today.”

MILF 1st Vice Chairman and BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar extended his congratulations to all peace-loving leaders who are working with them so that just and dignified peace will prevail in Moro Homeland.

In an interview by Mindanews over the phone, Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel sounded a bit more cautious. “We are relieved and happy, but the way ahead is still very challenging. The fight is not yet won”.

The approval of Sema’s motion hastened the deliberations at the committee level but the bigger hurdle, however, is in the plenary, Mindanews also said in its report.

The House Joint Committee retained version of BBL is the same version that President Rodrigo Duterte wants to implement to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

Once enacted into law, and ratified in a plebiscite, the BBL will put in place a new, and inclusive political entity called Bangsamoro, where the Moro, Indigenous Peoples, migrant settlers can freely practice their beliefs, customs and tradition.

MILF: JWGRLP holds preparatory meeting for larger peace forum of religious leaders

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 16): JWGRLP holds preparatory meeting for larger peace forum of religious leaders

IN PHOTO-Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (fr left to right- seated center) Archbishop Antonio Ledesma Shiek Abdulhadie Gumander and Ustadz Marhan Burhan

The Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (JWGRLP) held a preparatory meeting for a larger peace forum intended for religious leaders of all denominations in support to the immediate passage of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) crafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at The Mallberry Suites Business Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City on April 12, 2018.

It was attended by JWGRL President Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and his counterpart Shiek Abdulhadie Gumander of MILF Da'wah Committee for Non – Muslims, and other religious leaders.

The preparatory meeting was the 2nd considering the 1st was previously conducted in Manila with the same agenda.

The Joint Working Group agreed to organize a forum in Manila and Mindanao to be attended by at least 400 - 500 participants and 300 of it will be allocated for religious leaders of all denominations and 100 - 200 will be for non - religious stakeholders.

It was also agreed during the meeting that representatives from the Supreme Court, Congress, the Cardinal and the Bangsamoro Grand Mufti, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, GPH and MILF Peace Implementing Panel and Office of Presidential Assistant on Peace Process (OPAPP) will be the resource speakers on the proposed peace forum.

Part of the forum is a panel session that aims to discuss about religious freedom and liberty provided for in the BB.

During the previous meeting held in Manila some members of the Joint Working Group proposed an enhancement on the BBL particularly on free exercise of religious beliefs.

Shiek Gumander and Ustadz Burhan of MILF Da'wah Committee defended the BBL by reading to them the provisions of Bangsamoro Identity, Basic Rights, Bangsamoro Justice System and the Preamble.

They lauded the members of the BTC chaired by Ghazali Jaafar for crafting a law that are more than enough they wished for as non - Muslim religious leaders.

In the course of the discussion, the situation in Marawi City were also tackled on what intervention the religious leaders could extend.

Shiek Gumander said that the situation in Marawi was already addressed by the government and non - government organizations, both international and national.

He argued that, " The best thing we can do now is to address the root causes of the conflict by correcting not only the historical injustices but also the current injustices suffered by the Bangsamoro people.”

He told the participants, “Let us be together regardless of our religious affiliation in pushing for the immediate passage of BTC crafted BBL which is now deliberated in Congress. "

MILF: Forum ZFD holds peace advocacy with IP communities in Upi, Maguindanao

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 14): Forum ZFD holds peace advocacy with IP communities in Upi, Maguindanao

IN PHOTO At the podium, MILF PIP Chair Mohagher Iqbal delivering his lecture during the peace forum. UPI Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr (in side view with eye glass) sitting at the presidential table

COTABATO CITY -- The Forum ZFD (Forum Zivilier Friedensdient e.V / Forum Civil Peace Service) in cooperation with Kutawato Multimedia Network ( KuMuNet), Bangsamoro Transition Commission  (BTC), and Local Government Unit of Upi conducted a " PEACE FORUM ON THE BANGSAMORO PEACE PROCESS WITH IP COMMUNITIES " at Municipal Gymnasium, Upi, Maguindanao on April 12, 2018.
Forum ZFD is a German International Non - Government Organization that is committed to peace building using the framework of non - violent conflict transformation and has been engaged in different projects with the aim of generating wider and active participation on social issues.

The said activity was attended by almost 200 participants composed of IP Barangay officials, Tribal leaders and Community leaders coming from 23 Barangays of Upi, Labungan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, and Romangaob, South Upi.

Municipal Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr delivered an inspirational message and encouraged his constituents to support the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law which could open an opportunity for system change in governance that would benefit not only the Moro but the IP's and migrant settlers as well.

MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal in his message gave emphasis on IP rights provided for in the BTC crafted BBL.

He appealed that, " the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BB) is now in the hands of congress and the president. Let us join together to make a stand and show to the world and to our national leaders regardless of our faith and tribes that we are one in pushing for the proposed law. "

Datu Antao Midtimbang, Chairman of BTC Task Force on Reconciliation and Unification discussed the mandate of the task force and introduced its members and consultants.

OSCC - ARMM Director Fatima Kanakan, BTC Commissioner Romeo Saliga and BTC Commissioner Melanio Ulama delivered their respective message of support.

In the open forum many issues were brought out by the participants like the effect of security of tenure on the elected officials of both barangay and local governments; land ownership within the ancestral domain; Unity of MNLF and MILF; and guarantee of peace and security when Bangsamoro political entity will take place.

Iqbal contends, " BBL is not a " cure - all " to social ills confronting our society but an opportunity for all of us especially in the context of good governance and of course one way of correcting historical injustices suffered by us..."

MILF: Geneva Call Delegation visits MILF Leaders

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 14): Geneva Call Delegation visits MILF Leaders

IN PHOTO Engr. Edward Guerra, Head of MILF Foreign Affairs (in white shirt), Mr. Chris Rush of Geneva Call (center), Ms. Marie Lequin, Head of Eurasia Region of Geneva Call, Alex Virtanen of Non Violent Peace force, and Mr. Muhammad Ameen, Secretary of the MILF Central Committee pose for a photo after their meeting at the MILF Central Committee Plenary Hall, Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao

CAMP DARAPANAN – Ms. Marie Lequin, Head of Eurasia Region of Geneva Call and her delegation met with MILF Officials at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on April 13, 2018.
Lequin visited the MILF camp with her colleagues Chris Rush, and Alex Virtanen currently of Nonviolent Peaceforce but soon to be heading up Geneva Call’s operations in the country.

MILF Head of Foreign Affairs Engr. Eduard Guerra, and MILF Secretariat Chair Muhammad Ameen gladly received the guests. MILF Central Committee members Duli Ahmad, and Mohammad Salih were also present, and participated during the discussion.

“We are also looking forward to continuing to co-operate with you on the promotion of humanitarian norms” Lequin said after Guerra mentioned the achievements of the MILF regarding the prevention of the use of child soldiers in warfare and the implementation of the agreement in banning of land mines.

The group talked about the current efforts and milestones of the MILF related to the mandate of Geneva Call. Areas of possible collaboration between the two organizations were discussed during the meeting.

Geneva Call is a Swiss-based organization engaging with armed non-state actors to encourage them to comply with international humanitarian norms. It initially focused on the banning of AP mines and then expanded to the protection of children in armed conflict and the prohibition of sexual violence and gender discrimination. It has since further expanded its programmes to cover international humanitarian law more broadly.

Guerra also talked about the normalization process and the security aspect of the peace process. He mentioned the deployment of Joint Peace and Security Team in strategic areas to maintain peace and order.

According to Guerra, revision of JPST curriculum is currently on-going.

The visitors from Geneva Call also asked for updates regarding the current status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the Congress.

Ameen said that public hearings have already been conducted by both the Lower and Upper House of the Congress on the core areas of the Bangsamoro.

“So far, the consultations were very positive because the majority of the participants [of the public hearings] were so eager to fast track the passage of the BBL” Ameen added.

Geneva Call is set to establish an office in the Philippines which will be headed by Alex Virtanen. Virtanen commended the efforts of the MILF in disseminating information pertaining to IHL.

He is also looking forward to continuing to work with the MILF and welcomed further discussions regarding the details of this co-operation towards enhancing the protection of civilians in Mindanao.

DWDD: WORKING VISIT | US Army at PN, Naval Reserve Command

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 19): WORKING VISIT  |  US Army at PN, Naval Reserve Command

INTRAMUROS, Manila (DWDD) – The Commander, Naval Reserve Command, Brigadier General Arthur M Biyo, AFP welcomes the visit of Major Melvin Pilarca United States Army the GUNG SPP Coordinator and Colonel Romeo Delfin US ARMY the GUNG G3 to the Headquarters, Naval Reserve Command, Cabildo Street Intramuros, Manila on April 17, 2018. NAVRESCOM PAO / MCAG

DWDD: DONNING OF RANKS | PN FOIC Empedrad now a Vice Admiral

DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 19): DONNING OF RANKS  |  PN FOIC Empedrad now a Vice Admiral


NAVAL STATION JOSE ANDRADA , ROxas Blvd., Manila (DWDD) – Shortly after the Donning of Ranks Ceremony with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at MalacaƱang Palace, Flag Officer In Command and now Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad arrived at the Navy Headquarters, Naval Station Jose Andrada in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

Vice Adm. Empedrad was accorded an arrival ceremony by battalion-sized Sailors and Marines led by Navy Vice Commander, Rear Adm. Gaudencio C Collado Jr. NPAO / MCAG