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    ... wall of text, but please read ...


    for a study on the Bangsamoro problem, the report below -prepared/supported/funded by The Mindanao Think Tank /Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue /European Commission- is as good as it gets.

    please read, to have some background as to why the Zamboanga incident came to be.

    the report was originally in "pdf" which I have converted to a text file. images, charts, and slides were omitted in this posting. the report in its original form may be downloaded from:





    Table of Contents

    I. Introduction
    Reading this Report

    II. History, the Evolution of Conflict,
    and the Peace Processes
    1. GRP-MNLF
    2. GRP-MILF

    III. An Overview of the Armed Conflict
    from the Civil Society Perspective

    IV. Putting an End to Hostilities - the GRP-MILF
    Ceasefire Mechanisms and its Updates

    V. Looking at a New Beginning: Recommendations to
    the New Philippine President from
    Prominent Observers to the Peace Process

    I. Introduction

    The Mindanao Think Tank is supported by the
    Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and is
    meant to contribute to addressing the need for
    greater engagement between and among the
    actors and stakeholders to the peace process
    in Mindanao. This helps ensure that the peace process is
    acceptable to the parties and as many of the stakeholders
    as possible, and that it truly addresses the relevant issues
    surrounding the conflict. In the first half of 2010, the
    Mindanao Think Tank Project conducted several interviews
    with prominent observers to the peace processes in
    Mindanao to generate their recommendations for the new
    Philippine President.

    For the HD Centre and the Mindanao Think Tank,
    this is a very timely question to ask given the change in
    administration from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
    to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. As stakeholders
    to the peace process, we have observed that amidst
    the challenges faced by the peace processes during the
    Arroyo Administration, the last year has seen a marked
    improvement in their developments.

    For the GRP-MILF
    peace process, a ceasefire has put an end to a year of
    hostilities ever since the failure of the Memorandum of
    Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), mechanisms
    to make the peace processes inclusive of the international
    community were established through the International
    Contact Group (ICG) and the return of the International
    Monitoring Team (IMT), formal peace talks were
    reconvened after over a year’s impasse, a Civilian Protection
    Component (CPC) was added to the IMT, and there was
    a real push for the forging of a Comprehensive Compact
    (or final peace agreement) before the end of President
    Arroyo’s term in office.

    For the GRP-MNLF peace process,
    the Tripartite Process with the Organization of the Islamic
    Conference (OIC) has been active with efforts to implement
    Republic Act 9054 governing the Autonomous Region in
    Muslim Mindanao to make it more consistent with the 1996
    GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, the setting up of a
    new development body and the securing of additional OIC
    development funds for Mindanao, and the establishment of
    a tripartite implementation and monitoring mechanism.

    What is hoped for is that the Aquino Administration will
    continue with the various gains of the peace processes.
    will be seen in this report, while most of the prominent
    observers agree with this aspiration, others see things quite

    Reading this Report

    This Report consists of five parts:

    “Part I. Introduction”;

    “Part II. History, the Evolution of Conflict, and the Peace
    Processes”, wherein a brief overview of the conflict and
    of the two main peace processes between the Philippine
    Government and the MNLF and MILF, respectively, are

    “Part III. Overview of the Armed Conflict form the Civil
    Society Perspective” is a presentation delivered by Ustadz
    Esmail Ebrahim. It adds to the discussion in Part II by
    showing relevant cost figures and effects of the prolonged
    conflict in Mindanao.

    “Part IV. Putting an End to Hostilities - The GRP-MILF
    Ceasefire Mechanism and its Updates” is a presentation
    delivered by the Head of Secretariat of the GRP
    Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities,
    Major Carlos Sol Jr. It illustrates one of the successes in the
    peace efforts between the conflicting parties, and projects a
    ray of hope in the peace process.

    Finally, “Part V. Looking at a New Beginning:
    Recommendations to the New Philippine President from
    Prominent Observers to the Peace Process” gives the main
    results of interviews conducted with eight prominent
    observers to the peace process.

    II. History, the Evolution of Conflict,
    and the Peace Processes

    A lot has been written and said about the
    conflict in Mindanao. Many are said to have
    benefited when vast, fertile lands were opened
    up for them to cultivate. Others who weren’t
    so lucky struggled against what they saw as
    unjust state policies that pushed them further and further
    away from infrastructure and development, and deeper
    and deeper into marginalization and poverty.

    Those who
    breached the tipping point rebelled, only to be pacified by
    peace overtures and the promise of an end to fighting, with
    structural changes that would correct the wrongs and heal
    the wounds.

    Those who continued to resist persisted with
    their fight saying what has been given was either not enough
    or was simply not the solution.

    While there were those
    who felt marginalized and disenfranchised, there too were
    those who fought to keep what for them has for decades
    been home and their only source of livelihood.

    While all
    this took place, to-date over one hundred thousand lives are
    said to have been lost and millions have suffered war and
    displacement. Indeed, conflicts are complex. They are deep
    rooted, multi-faceted and very challenging to resolve. The
    conflict in Mindanao is no exception.

    While the organized Moro rebellions started only in the late
    1960s with the Nur Misuari led Moro National Liberation
    Front, the Mindanao conflict took root long before that
    during the colonial period when the Spanish followed by
    the American colonial authorities sought to subdue the
    remaining frontiers of the archipelago that stubbornly
    fought off the colonizers.

    Much later during the Philippine
    Republic, National Government land redistribution policies
    in the post-war period encouraged settlement by Filipinos
    from Luzon and the Visayas into the rich uninhabited
    lands of Mindanao. Through the years these settlements
    benefitted from various programs and projects from
    Government aimed at growth and development.

    the settlers prospered and their areas developed, while the
    original inhabitants, the Lumads (indigenous peoples) and
    the Moros (Islamized indigenous peoples) remained as they
    have been for centuries and failed to keep pace with their
    settler neighbors and the rest of the modernizing world.

    First, their areas weren’t prioritized for government
    projects rendering their areas less productive and with less
    opportunity to tap into and benefit from the mainstream

    Second, war and displacement throughout
    AFP-MNLF fighting (at its height from the late 1960s to the mid
    1970s), AFP-MILF fighting (at its most vicious in the late
    1990s to recently), and the intermittent activities of the
    Abu Sayyaf and other extremist groups resulted in further
    poverty and hopelessness in the conflict-affected areas.

    With their areas progressing and prosperous, it wasn’t
    long before the number of settlers boomed with natural
    population increases and with added migration. Eventually
    Christian settlers had surpassed in number the original
    inhabitants (both Lumad and Moro) who became the
    minority in areas they once controlled. In addition, not
    only were they marginalized in the state’s national political
    landscape, in their own areas of Mindanao, their social,
    political and economic structures were almost thoroughly
    replaced by those of the centralized republican Philippine

    While the more economically, socially, and politically
    astute of the Lumads and Moros did not find difficulty in
    filling up the new roles in the new structures, there were
    those – especially among the Moros – who could not and
    did not want to. Time dragged on and marginalization
    was seen in terms of oppression and discrimination,
    dispossession (of lands) and militarization. All it took were
    sparks that would ignite the fire. Revolution was drawing

    1. GRP-MNLF

    And so it did. From the late 1960s to the
    mid 1970s the Moro National Liberation
    Front fought the Armed Forces of the
    Philippines to a stalemate. It wasn’t until
    the government of President Ferdinand
    Marcos utilized diplomacy with Libya and the rest of the
    Muslim world that the MNLF was ‘persuaded’ to enter
    into the 1976 Tripoli Agreement that essentially dropped
    the quest for independence for autonomy and greater

    It would not be until twenty years and two
    Presidents later that the 1976 accord would be finalized
    into the 1996 Final Peace Agreement after autonomy had
    already been practiced in the concerned areas of Muslim
    Mindanao for a decade. This was the approach to resolve
    the Government’s conflict with the MNLF – grant them

    The 1996 GRP-MNLF accord officially ended the three
    decade struggle. Estimates had the war claiming over
    120,000 lives, displacing millions, and costing the
    Government over USD 3 billion since it began in the
    1970s. However, fourteen years later, the implementation
    of the 1996 agreement still remains an unresolved question
    between those who argue that the job has been done, and
    those who assert otherwise.

    The 1996 agreement contains two major sections.

    Phase I is a 3-year transitional period which established the
    Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development
    (SPCPD) and an SPCPD Constituent Assembly (both in
    preparation for the new Autonomous Region in Muslim
    Mindanao, or ARMM); a massive program of socioeconomic
    development for the region encompassed in the
    Southern Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD); the
    integration of MNLF forces into the AFP and the Philippine
    National Police; and the delivery of socio-economic
    services, formation into a Special Regional Security Force,
    and accommodation into Government positions political
    leaders of the MNLF including the post of Regional
    Governor for Chairman Nur Misuari.

    Phase I effectively lasted from 1996 to 2001. These were the
    last six years wherein the ARMM was still defined under
    the old Autonomy Law, Republic Act 6734. The Ramos
    government ‘anointed’ MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari to
    run in the 1996 ARMM Elections as official Administration
    Party bet, which led to an automatic victory at the polls as
    Regional Governor. In addition, Misuari was appointed
    to lead the SPCPD while the new Autonomy Law was still
    being crafted in the Philippine Congress. Simultaneously,
    5750 MNLF members were integrated into the AFP and
    1500 into the PNP. The integration process was likewise
    headed by appointed MNLF leaders tasked with the
    enlistment and processing of interested MNLF members for
    submission to the AFP and PNP for further processing.

    Implementation, however, failed miserably and many
    Muslim areas under the ARMM have regressed while
    Christian areas surrounding the ARMM have thrived. The
    ARMM Government under Misuari was characterized by
    massive excessive spending, far too many absences from
    the seat of the ARMM in Cotabato City, and a general
    inefficiency and inability to deliver basic services.

    In response, the MNLF cited the GRP’s failure to deliver its
    commitments as provided by the 1996 agreement: it gave
    no special funds for the ARMM and the transitory bodies,
    it relied wholly on donor-assisted projects, it provided
    regular appropriations to the ARMM that were only
    sufficient for personnel salaries, and it pursued projects in
    its normal course of Government work – not as part of the
    implementation of the 1996 agreement. Observers say the
    only semblance of implementation was in the Integration
    program. However, MNLF leaders spearheading this have
    been said to have ‘sold’ slots to MNLF members and even
    outsiders and the MNLF still retains a large armed wing,
    which retains command structures and resides in ‘camps’.

    The situation went from bad to worse during Phase II of
    the 1996 agreement. This began in 2001 with the enactment
    of Republic Act 9054, the new Autonomy Law to update
    the old autonomy law to make the ARMM consistent
    with the provisions of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace

    The process began with a plebiscite to ratify the
    new ARMM law in the area of autonomy, and to allow new
    provinces to join. However, the MNLF argued they were
    not consulted on the plebiscite.

    RA 9054 was accepted as
    the new Autonomy Law, and in addition to the provinces
    of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi that
    had already previously opted to join the ARMM prior to the
    1996 agreement, Basilan province (except for Isabela City)
    and Marawi City voted to join.

    The new ARMM was in place, ushering in Phase II.

    However, the new autonomous
    region failed to live up to the promises of the 1996
    agreement, and the ARMM has been widely
    criticized as a huge failure on how to exercise autonomy.
    This, even though a second senior MNLF leader, Foreign
    Affairs Chief Parouk Hussin, was anointed by the
    Government to run as administration Party bet, and was
    easily elected as ARMM Regional Governor from 2001 to

    Today, fourteen years after the forging of the 1996 Final
    Peace Agreement, and nine years since the new Autonomy
    Law came into effect, the MNLF continues to remain
    clamouring for the full implementation of the 1996
    agreement (the law omits many key components of the 1996
    agreement and the autonomous government remains largely
    , many former MNLF fighters complain that they
    never had the chance to be integrated nor even received
    livelihood projects, a number of MNLF communities
    especially in Sulu province continue to maintain arms and
    military command structures, the MNLF organization
    has experienced deep divisions in the movement, the
    Abu Sayyaf Group has risen and causes great insecurity
    in parts of Sulu and Basilan provinces, and the lives of
    the Bangsamoro in the ARMM have been characterized
    by poverty, underdevelopment, poor governance and

    For the past three years, an official GRP-MNLF-OIC
    Tripartite Process has been in place to review the
    implementation of the 1996 agreement. One of the sparks
    that lead to this was a series of five informal rounds of talks
    brokered in 2005 by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
    that brought then Presidential Adviser on the Peace
    Process Teresita Quintos-Deles and MNLF representatives
    appointed by Nur Misuari back to the negotiating table.
    These talks were crucial because they provided at the time
    the only venue whereby the status of Misuari’s incarceration,
    the resurging MNLF-AFP hostilities in Sulu Province,
    and a possible review of the implementation of the 1996
    agreement were discussed.

    All these efforts have gone a long way with Misuari now out
    of prison and the official Tripartite Process in place. The
    GRP-MNLF peace process is slowly getting back on track to
    fulfilling the promises of the 1996 agreement. Towards the
    end of the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the
    GRP and MNLF inked a Memorandum of Understanding
    that calls for transforming common proposals adopted
    by the joint legal panels into legal form for action by the
    Philippine Congress; the setting up of a new development
    body and securing additional OIC development funds
    for Mindanao; and the establishment of a tripartite
    implementation and monitoring mechanism.

    2. GRP-MILF

    The GRP-MILF peace process began in 1997,
    during the administration of President Fidel
    Ramos, just a year after the forging of the
    1996 agreement with the MNLF. However,
    the process failed to gain momentum, and in
    2000, then President Joseph Estrada launched an all-out
    offensive against the MILF and took over Camp Abubakar
    in the hinterlands of the boundary area between
    Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces, which was the
    main MILF base.

    After the ouster of President Estrada, in
    2001 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo re-established
    the peace process with the MILF that resulted in the 2001
    Tripoli Agreement on peace, which lay the framework
    for the pursuit of peace talks between the Philippine
    Government and the MILF. These covered the areas of
    security, rehabilitation and development, and ancestral

    In 2003, an agreement on the security aspect of the GRP
    -MILF peace process was reached and a Cessation of
    Hostilities agreement was forged with ceasefire mechanisms
    put in place. In 2005, an agreement on the rehabilitation
    and development aspect was reached and the Bangsamoro
    Development Agency was established to begin donor
    assisted projects even when a final agreement was still being

    Throughout this entire period from the start
    of the GRP-MILF peace process, efforts were extended to
    forge ahead on the third and most difficult aspect of this
    peace process, Ancestral Domain. However, as what has
    been apparent, this has proven to be the most difficult and

    In 2008, the GRP and MILF initialed the landmark
    Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOAAD)
    which set forth provisions for much greater territory
    and autonomous control than was awarded to the MNLF
    in the 1996 Agreement.

    However, moments before the
    signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, the Philippine
    Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order
    based on petitions by some Local Government officials
    in Mindanao, including national legislators from the
    Philippine Senate. The MOA-AD and the process of arriving
    at the MOA-AD was later declared unconstitutional by
    the Supreme Court. So, the agreement remains unsigned.

    This led to a rampage by three MILF commanders
    across predominantly Christian areas in Northern and
    Central Mindanao, and the resulting fighting caused the
    displacement of 650,000 people. All of these resulted in over
    a year of impasse in the formal talks (from August 2008
    to December 2009) and the pull-out of Malaysia from the
    International Monitoring Team.

    As a result of the Supreme Court decision and the ensuing
    fighting both sides issued conditions that must be fulfilled
    for the talks to continue. The GRP insisted that it would not
    restart talks until the three ‘rogue’ MILF commanders were
    arrested or killed and then also declared that it would need
    to abide by the Supreme Court decision, could not accept
    the MOA-AD, could not engage in any talks requiring a
    constitutional change, and that any new talks must involve
    DDR as a precondition. They also requested the removal
    of the Malaysian facilitator from the talks citing his biases
    (for the fourth time since 2006). For its part, the MILF
    demanded the GRP respect the MOA–AD, retain Malaysia
    as facilitator and agreed to international ‘guarantors’.

    Following a number of interventions including those by
    HD Centre with various ‘eminent persons’, the two parties
    agreed to drop most of their conditionalities.

    Just as the situation on the ground was at its most explosive,
    both parties brought Mindanao back from the brink
    and issued unilateral ceasefires in July 2009. They then
    met informally in Kuala Lumpur under the auspices of
    the Malaysian government and agreed to resume formal
    talks and form an International Contact Group. They
    also acknowledged the MOA –AD as an initialed but
    unsigned document. In November, both parties identified
    missions and NGOs for the International Contact Group
    (ICG) which was designed to support the process and the
    parties, especially the third party facilitator Malaysia and
    to avoid a repeat of the failed MOA-AD and its devastating

    In December 2009 the first round of the reconvened
    GRP-MILF formal talks took place and immediately on
    the agenda was the reestablishment of the International
    Monitoring Team, with an additional component
    establishing a civilian protection component to be run by
    international and local NGOs which would monitor human
    rights abuses. As the parties agreed that the upcoming
    May 2010 national and local elections gave the process
    an urgently tight schedule, an exchange of drafts for a
    Comprehensive Compact (final peace agreement) was
    planned for the next round of talks scheduled for January

    On 27-28 January 2010 these talks took place and as
    planned the parties exchanged draft text proposals for a
    Comprehensive Compact. However, the talks collapsed over
    wide differences in the each party’s text. The GRP proposal
    was only focused on what the Executive could commit to
    now (the Legislature was off session and they could not
    propose a constitutional amendment). While the MILF put
    forward a 40-plus page draft in which it was clear that it is
    still looking at substance which is contained in the MOAAD
    and the consensus points: Security, Rehabilitation and
    Ancestral Domain.

    For Ancestral Domain, this includes
    the four strands of Concept, Territory, Governance and
    Resources. Not surprisingly, the MILF still considers the
    MOA-AD a done deal, ‘as good as an agreement’.
    The MILF officially walked out of the talks but the ICG
    and the Malaysian Facilitator were able to ensure that the
    GRP at least reviewed and discussed the MILF proposal
    and that both parties agree to another round of talks. The
    GRP agreed to take the MILF proposal and identify which
    parts could be done through executive action, which would
    require legislative amendments and which would require
    constitutional changes. They were open to discussing all of

    In February, the Malaysian facilitator and the ICG
    conducted shuttle diplomacy. While the GRP had indeed
    followed through with their commitment to review the
    MILF proposal, the MILF came up with a much more
    modest ‘interim’ proposal. It was not a final agreement
    but rather an outline of the transition period leading up
    to the implementation of a final agreement. In March the
    two parties and the ICG met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss
    the MILF draft and while some of it was of bounds of the
    GRP, the GRP did do a counter proposal along the same
    lines, however this still failed to elicit an agreement by both

    Looking at the vast differences in the positions of the GRP
    and the MILF and the drawing to a close of the Arroyo
    Administration, by April it had become clear that neither
    a comprehensive compact nor an interim agreement was
    attainable within the term of the President. But more
    importantly, everyone thought that while little could be
    expected, something could and should still be produced
    to preserve the gains achieved and serve as a bridge to the
    next administration. Ideas for an interim agreement, a
    declaration of principles, and the formation of a Joint Task
    Force to work on an interim agreement or transitional
    administration were suggested.

    As May passed and the results of the May 2010 Elections
    became clear, the incoming Aquino presidency was widely
    anticipated and observed. More and more focus was
    put on the larger question as to whether his incoming
    administration would continue the process where the
    current administration has left off, “whether they would be
    able and willing to negotiate a constitutional amendment
    to accommodate the demands of the MILF, whether they
    would be able and willing to reign in those opposed to the
    process and whether the MILF will be able to control its
    own fighters and ensure they become more representative of
    all the Bangsamoro.”

    Just before the end of President Arroyo’s term, the
    Government Peace Panel and the MILF Panel declared
    that they had “discussed points of consensus on an
    Interim Agreement with a view of moving towards the
    Comprehensive Compact to bring a negotiated political
    settlement”. The Parties considered new formulas that
    permanently respond to the legitimate aspirations of the
    Bangsamoro people building on prior consensus points
    achieved; consider new modalities to end the armed
    hostilities; reframe the consensus points on Ancestral
    Domain taking into account in particular the rights
    of indigenous people; and incorporate in the compact
    agreement the agreed upon texts and signed instruments
    on the cessation of hostilities and security arrangements
    guidelines, and development initiatives and rehabilitation.


    III. An Overview of the Armed Conflict from the Civil Society

    The following is a presentation delivered by Ustadz Esmael
    Ebrahim, a member of the Mindanao Think Tank core
    group, on two occassions. First during the MTT-assisted
    GRP Peace Panel Consultations with Local Government
    Chief Executives in February 2010 in General Santos City,
    and second, during an MTT workshop and roundtable
    discussion in February 2010, in Cotabato City.
    This shows the cost of the ongoing armed conflict in
    Mindanao, and potential benefits of seriously pursuing the
    peace process in order to resolve it.

    The Philippine government has been
    engaged in war from late 60’s until the
    signing of the Final Peace Agreement
    with the Moro National Liberation Front
    (MNLF) in 1996. The almost three decades
    of fighting resulted in the death of more than
    a hundred thousand people, of whom more
    than half were MNLF Fighters, 30% were
    government troops and almost 20% were

    The approximated total amount
    of government spending for the 26 years of
    fighting was 73 billion Pesos or an average
    of 24 million a year. If that huge amount
    of money was spent in building schools,
    roads, bridges, books for grade schoolers
    and other livelihood programs in Mindanao,
    a dramatic change could have already

    Slide #3 shows the cost of war during the “All
    Out War Policy” of former President Estrada.
    The all out war cost the government more or
    less 20 million Pesos a day or a total of 1.4
    billion during the entire duration of the war.
    The amount of damage to infrastructures,
    from school buildings to markets to roads,
    was estimated at 202 million Pesos. The
    estimated damage to agriculture: rice, corn,
    coconut and other crops was estimated at
    125 million Pesos.

    When President Estrada was removed from
    the presidency, President Arroyo staged
    another war. The war started during a
    holy day for Muslims worldwide. This was
    the Eid ul Adha, the second most special
    holiday for Muslims. The Buliok offensives
    cost the government another huge amount
    of money. Aside from the huge amount of
    military hardware used, there were about 47
    million Pesos worth of agricultural products,
    livestock and fisheries destroyed, and
    130 million Pesos worth of infrastructure
    damaged. The Buliok Offensive resulted in
    nothing except a return to negotiations.

    When the final signing of the MOA-AD
    was aborted, skirmishes again erupted in
    many parts of Mindanao. From August 4
    to October 0f 2008, the total number of
    casualties were 83 dead and 104 injured
    from both the government troops and MILF
    fighters. There were about 110,994 families
    or 531,994 individuals who were displaced
    by the war. There were 282 civilian housed
    burnt, almost 48 million Pesos worth of
    infrastructure and 142 million Pesos worth
    of agricultural crops damaged. Although the
    war started even before the aborted MOAAD
    signing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this
    resulted in damages to properties and loss of

    The social costs of the Mindanao conflict are
    very glaring.

    Stuck in-between the warring government
    forces and the MILF were innocent civilians
    who would always have to leave their homes
    every time an armed confrontation erupts.
    In 2000, almost a million persons were
    displaced by the “All-Out War”. Due to
    the crackdown on the Abu Sayyaf on the
    following year, some two hundred thousand
    persons were displaced, mainly in Southern
    Mindanao. The figure shot up again in 2003,
    as a consequence of the Buliok Offensives.

    According to the Human Development Report, in terms
    of foregone investments, during major military operations
    following the “All-Out War” and the subsequent Abu Sayyaf
    atrocities, the investment growth rate plunged deeply from
    positive seventeen percent to negative five percent from
    2000 to 2001. Investments still shied away from the region
    after the war as the investment rate was not able to recover
    from the deficit as of 2002; worse, it slid again in 2003,
    when the Buliok Offensives occurred.

    Considering explicit and implicit economic losses, the
    same report revealed that due to the Mindanao conflict,
    we suffered losses ranging from P5 billion to P10 billion
    annually from 1975 to 2002.

    Since the above mechanisms were established, armed
    skirmishes were reduced to negligible levels from 2004
    to 2008. Also, please take note of the number of recorded
    hostilities in 2002 and 2003.

    The generally peaceful climate due to the reduction of
    armed clashes encouraged more economic activities in the
    previously conflict-affected areas, particularly in Regions
    10, 11, 12 and the ARMM, all of which exhibited increasing
    positive regional GDP growth rates from 2002 up to 2005,
    as shown.

    After major clashes between the two
    groups, the Government of the Republic
    of the Philippines and the leadership of
    Moro Islamic Liberation Front, under the
    leadership of Chairman Ustadz Salamat
    Hashim, advanced a political solution to
    the conflict. This was the Tripoli Agreement
    2, signed in Tripoli, Libya. There were
    apprehensions from the two groups, but
    the accord was signed in 2003.

    The Tripoli Agreement has three (3) aspects.
    These are:
    1. The Security Aspect
    2. The Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and
    Development Aspect, and
    3. The Ancestral Domain Aspect

    Specifically, these three aspects of this
    agreement are about:

    1. The Security Aspect – constituting
    agreements on the cessation of hostilities;

    2. The Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and
    Development Aspect – which embodies the
    commitment of both sides to respect human
    rights, and provide assistance, rehabilitation
    and development to conflict-affected
    communities; and

    3. The Ancestral Domain Aspect – which is
    the focus of our present negotiations, and
    discusses Bangsamoro critical issues relating
    to Bangsamoro identity, rights, culture,
    resources, traditional lands, etc.
    It is hoped that the discussion on the 3
    aspects of the talks, including the process
    of the negotiations, will lead us to answer
    the single talking point raised by the MILF
    in 1997: “How to solve the Bangsamoro


    IV. Putting an End to Hostilities– The GRP-MILF Ceasefire
    Mechanisms and its Updates

    Following is a presentation delivered by Major Carlos Sol
    Jr of the Philippine Army, a regular invited participant
    of the Mindanao Think Tank. Major Sol delivered this
    presentation during an MTT workshop and roundtable
    discussion in February 2010, in Cotabato City. (Please see
    photo at left.)



    V. Looking at a New Beginning:
    Recommendations to the New Philippine President from
    Prominent Observers of the Peace Process


    The transition from the administration of
    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to
    that of President Benigno Simeon Aquino
    III was as expected, preceded by a lot of
    controversy. On the peace front, one of
    the staunchest oppositionist of the MOA-AD insisted
    that the GRP panel has already forged an “Interim
    Agreement” with the MILF and demanded that this
    be made public in his petition to the Supreme Court.
    President Arroyo’s last secretary for the peace process,
    Anabelle Abaya, had to give reassurances that there is
    no secret agreement.

    However, prospects for a smooth transition of the
    peace negotiations are foreseen, with the winning of
    local candidates in the region who are supportive of
    the government’s peace initiatives. These are North
    Cotabato Province’s new Governor, Lala Taliño Mendoza,
    the two new representatives of the province
    to Congress: Former Governor Jesus Sacdalan and
    Nancy Catamco, and Maguindanao Province’s newly
    Governor and Vice Governor – Ismael Mangudadatu
    (whose wife, family members, lawyers, together
    with journalists were murdered in the infamous
    ‘Maguindanao Massacre’) and Dustin Mastura (son
    of MILF panel member Atty. Michael Mastura),

    This has led Catholic priest Eliseo
    Mercado Jr. of the Institute for Autonomy and
    Governance to say that “We are optimistic these
    newly-elected leaders will focus their utmost attention
    and their political resources to activities that can
    complement the GRP-MILF peace process and
    Government’s peace initiatives with the Moro National
    Liberation Front.

    On the other hand, the overwhelming support
    Former President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada received in
    Christian areas in Mindanao based on his ‘all out war’
    sloganeering presage that the challenges will remain.

    Furthermore, re-electionist mayoralty bets Celso
    Lobregat of Zamboanga City and Lawrence Cruz of
    Iligan City won in their respective cities. Lobregat
    and Cruz were among the leading Christian Local
    Government officials who led the petitions against the
    signing of the controversial GRP-MILF Memorandum
    of Agreement on Ancestral Domain in August 2008.

    Hopefully the significant number of votes President
    Aquino received nationally will give him the strength,
    mandate and credibility to push the peace process
    through where it needs to assuage the concerns and
    fears of surrounding communities who may feel
    threatened by a new agreement.

    The MILF, through its Vice Chairman for Political
    Affairs Ghazali Jaafar said that it is willing to resume
    talks with the Aquino Administration and expressed
    hope that the new government would abide by
    previous agreements that the Arroyo Administration
    entered into with the rebel group. In an interview with
    the Mindanao Cross, a local newspaper, he said that
    “We expect the incoming new government to open its
    door for a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of
    the Bangsamoro problem.” He believes that Aquino is
    for peace.

    With this in mind, the Mindanao Think Tank
    interviewed prominent observers regarding their
    recommendations to the new president on the conduct
    of the Peace Process. There were eight prominent
    observers who were interviewed because of their in
    depth knowledge of the peace process. These are:

    • Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr. – a Catholic priest
    who heads the Institute for Autonomy and
    Governance. Through the IAG, he has been
    organizing symposia and round table discussions
    aimed at assisting the members of the GRP and
    MILF peace panels and those involved in the
    negotiation clarify issues and find solutions to

    • Dr. Ofelia Durante – an international
    consultant in Peace Education who has been
    active in the peace negotiations through the
    Dialogue Mindanaw movement;

    • Prof. Rudy Rodil – a professor of the Mindanao
    State University who has thoroughly studied
    the history of the Bangsamoro movement,
    also a former panel member of the GRP peace
    negotiating panel for talks with the MILF;

    • Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga – an internationally
    known consultant on the peace process, and
    is the executive director of the Institute of
    Bangsamoro Studies;

    • Dr. Danda Juanday– a member of the board
    of the Bangsamoro Development Council and
    the executive director of the GRP-MILF created
    Bangsamoro Development Agency tasked to
    look after the humanitarian, rehabilitation, and
    development aspect as agreed upon during the
    peace negotiations;

    • Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar – the head of
    the political unit of the Moro Islamic Liberation

    • Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia AFP (ret) – the former
    chairman of the GRP peace negotiating panel for
    talks with the MILF

    • Mayor Celso Lobregat – Mayor of Zamboanga
    City and an outspoken critic of the MOA-AD.

    There were five questions asked of the esteemed

    1. What would be the ideal outcome of the
    Mindanao Peace Process (GRP-MNLF and GRP-MILF)?

    2. What would be a possible, realistic timeline for

    3. To achieve these, what do you think the
    incoming president and administration should
    do or strive for?

    4. What should be done to attain the best
    possible transition between the outgoing
    Arroyo Administration and the incoming

    5. What can be the worst case scenario in the
    peace process?

    Expected Outcome of the Peace Process:

    The respondents were first asked what they feel is
    the ideal outcome of the peace process.

    All of the
    respondents were of the same mind that the Final
    Peace Agreement with the MNLF was a “failed
    attempt” to solve the Bangsamoro problem.

    Thus, for Fr. Mercado, the best outcome is the
    consolidation of the two peace agreements.

    The GRP-MILF agreement
    should complement the first agreement (GRP-MNLF)
    because we are talking about the same territory and
    the same people.

    According to Vice-Chair Jaafar “this
    is one of the reasons why the MILF needs to negotiate
    with the government to rectify errors and fill-in the
    gaps and loopholes committed in the GRP-MNLF
    Peace Talks”.

    Gen. Garcia also feels that “the maximum we
    could hope for as far as the GRP-MNLF process is
    concerned is for the shortfalls and deficiencies in the
    implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement
    to be addressed”.

    However, he said that there has to
    be an interface with what is going to be developed in
    the results of the negotiations between the GRP and
    the MILF.

    “A future GRP-MILF agreement I think
    should be able to achieve an agreement that would
    be satisfactory to the Bangsamoro people in as far as
    addressing their legitimate aspirations and grievances.

    "At some point there has to be an interface between
    the MILF and MNLF because they are both claiming
    to represent the Bangsamoro. Eventually the MNLF
    has to be considered into whatever will be developed
    between the GRP and MILF. They cannot just be put

    “When I was chairman, the MNLF was not actively
    considered on the table. Eventually there really needs
    to be that stage whereby the MNLF is brought in. If the
    agreement between GRP and MILF results in a better
    deal than what the MNLF was able to secure in 1996,
    I believe the MNLF could be brought in or becomes
    subsumed in a GRP-MILF agreement. If it is in the best
    interest of the Bangsamoro, this should not be accepted
    negatively by the MNLF. But let me reiterate that this is
    a matter that the two fronts should resolve, both being

    “There are shortfalls in the 1996 Agreement and there
    is an ongoing review to make the implementation
    more effective. This does not stand in the way, or is
    not contradictory to the ongoing GRP-MILF efforts.
    Whatever comes out of the review – hopefully a
    better implementation of the 1996 Agreement – the
    GRP-MILF peace negotiation would hope to achieve
    more than whatever could be done in fulfilling
    the implementation of the 1996 Agreement.

    "The negotiations with the MILF derives from a prevailing
    belief, which could be true, that the 1996 Agreement
    was not able to fully address the aspirations of the
    Bangsamoro people. This would be expected therefore
    that the negotiations with the MILF would result in
    a better agreement which we would expect to be a
    much better deal for the Bangsamoro than the 1996
    Agreement was.

    “The question here is how power will be apportioned
    after. How will the MILF and MNLF get together
    to implement an agreement that is substantially
    and qualitatively superior to the 1996 Final Peace
    Agreement. This should be the frame of mind of
    today’s negotiators. So long as it does not infringe
    on the territorial integrity of the nation, as what has
    already been mentioned by the MILF.”

    The two professors interviewed are of the same
    mind that a peace agreement should not be rushed.
    For Dr. Durante, the peace process is not yet ripe
    (…hindi pa hinog). “We feel that there should be
    more engagement with the people. There should be
    a joint communication/advocacy group or a joint
    implementation of an IEC before an agreement is
    signed. This will bring about better understanding
    from both sides.”

    On the other hand, Prof. Rodil believes that “the
    government should do a thorough study on what
    ought to be the appropriate solution to the Moro
    problem, admitting with humility that the government,
    colonial and republic, was the principal creator of
    the problem
    and that process of creating the problem
    was affirmed and legitimized by the Philippine
    constitution. Using the same constitution to resolve a
    problem which was created within its legal framework
    is begging the question.

    "It is best for
    government to amend the constitution and legitimize
    a new arrangement wherein the Moro people's right
    to self-determination can be accommodated, then
    it can go to the second move which is to engage the
    appropriate Bangsamoro in an honest to goodness
    peace negotiation. The product of this negotiation
    should create the appropriate legal space within which
    the Bangsamoro can figure out for themselves how to
    govern themselves”.

    Mayor Lobregat, for his part, still champions the
    rights of his constituents, which to him come from
    all faiths and tribes, Zamboanga City being a melting
    pot in Western Mindanao. He argues that “everybody
    wants long and lasting just peace involving all
    stakeholders not just the MILF. The MILF aren’t the
    only inhabitants of Mindanao. This was a disaster in
    the Arroyo Administration. Fortunately we were able
    to save our country from the MOA-AD and from

    For those in the MILF/Bangsamoro side, Vice-chair
    Ghazali Jaafar said, “Our ideal is consistent that
    still the best way to resolve the centuries old Moro
    Question in Mindanao is through peaceful negotiated
    political settlement which means through the current
    negotiation. For more than a decade of talking peace
    with the government, we have been optimistic and
    aspired for one agenda as the final outcome of the
    negotiation, and that is to “solve the Bansamoro

    The solution to this quest was partially
    outlined in the initialed but unsigned MOA-AD.
    But the document was only a last ditch to the ideal
    outcome of the GRP-MILF Peace Talks which is the
    signing of the Comprehensive Compact.

    Dr. Juanday wants to abolish the Autonomous
    Region in Muslim Mindanao in favor of a new and
    enlightened governance. This must be supported by
    the Philippine government to show concern for the
    Bangsamoro’s right to self determination.

    Prof. Lingga wants “a power sharing arrangement
    between the Philippine Government and a
    Bangsamoro government wherein the Bangsamoro
    people will be able to exercise the internal aspects of
    sovereignty while the Philippine Government exercises
    the external aspects. Specifically, the Philippine
    Government shall exercise exclusive powers over
    national defense, foreign affairs, currency, postal
    services and immigration. All other powers shall
    be exercised by the Bangsamoro Government like
    regional legislation, taxation, internal security, control
    and management of natural resources, fiscal and
    economic policies and planning, civil service, etc.”

    Realistic Timeline for the Peace Process:

    The period in which the desired outcomes can be
    achieved is viewed differently by the respondents.
    Professors Lingga and Rodil want a period of three
    years while Fr. Mercado wants a longer timeline – six
    years. Mayor Lobregat also opts for six years which
    he says should be enough as long “as the other side
    realizes we are one country, with one flag and one
    armed force, and that everything agreed upon should
    be in the realm of the Constitution”.

    Dr. Durante doesn’t want a timeline. There should
    be immediate implementation of the above
    recommendations, and continuous communication
    advocacy. Dr. Juanday shares this view. He wants the
    process to start in the soonest possible time. However,
    his reason is that he fears that delaying the negotiation
    will give way to the breaking up of the Moro front
    into small groups which will be an invitation to
    “catastrophe”. There are radical members of the
    Moro front who might take over the moderates.
    suggested reading the Paul Oquist analysis which was
    made years ago.

    On the other hand, Vice Chairman Jaafar said that
    ”the Bangsamoro struggle is adjudged by many as
    the longest armed conflict in the world and the peace
    processes for decades. And therefore, the realistic
    timeline is not tomorrow or anytime in the future but
    already a long overdue peace. However, we want to
    make it clear that we cannot accept an ill-conceived
    peace deal. Therefore, our realistic timeline is for as
    long as we could have an opportunity in solving the
    Bangsamoro problem or sign a peace agreement which
    is comprehensive, just and lasting one.”

    Gen. Garcia is more emphatic on the timeline. He says
    that “the determinant would be the GRP-MILF peace
    agreement. With the MOA-AD, we gave it one year
    that a final peace agreement with the MILF would be
    signed. Today, one year from the ascendance of the
    new administration should be enough. But in fact it
    would be better if an agreement could be forged now,
    given that the government is currently dealing with
    moderate and reasonable people. Now is the time to
    forge an agreement”.

    What the New Philippine President should do:

    To achieve the outcomes that are expected from the
    peace process, several recommendations have been

    1. Prof. Lingga recommends that

    • The new President has to initiate amendments
    to the Constitution to allow for a power-sharing
    arrangement. These amendments can be done
    through “surgical” means (just amend a particular
    article or section), or by appending a GRP-MILF
    agreement to the Constitution.

    • The new President has to exercise strong
    political will to address the issues. The “dribbling”
    strategy will only prolong the agony.

    • The new President has to resolve the issue that
    a GRP peace panel represents the Government of
    the Republic of the Philippines, not just Office of
    the President.

    • The new President has to engage Malaysia as
    facilitator constructively. Any attempt to ease out
    Malaysia as facilitator will only complicate the
    peace process.

    • Within the first 100 days the new President has
    to reconstitute the GRP peace panel and appoint
    a cabinet member as head of the panel. The other
    members must have the capability to think and act
    creatively and constructively.

    • The new President must be able to reign in
    spoilers of the peace process.

    2. Fr. Mercado proposes these plans and

    Government should adopt a coherent peace
    policy, not only for the GRP-MILF, but for all
    including the MNLF, NPA, IPs, etc; and the
    coherent implementation of the peace policy by all
    government agencies;

    • Government should initiate a dialogue among
    the three stakeholders (GRP, ARMM and Local
    Governments) for:

    i. Power sharing among the three
    ii. Power devolution from the central government
    to the local
    iii. Wealth sharing among the three
    iv. Wealth devolution

    Sharing of power and wealth should be both
    vertical and horizontal

    • Convincing people that a solution should not
    be premised on the past. The peace agreements
    should be shaped by the “prospective” not
    “retroactive”. We are shackled by the tyranny of
    the past. We should look forward – look at the
    new challenges such as global citizenship, climate
    change, regional updates like the BIMP-EAGA
    (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East
    ASEAN Growth AREA). We should be influenced
    by future events and veer away from the “no exit”
    discussions going on now.

    3. For Dr. Durante, the incoming president

    • Continue the peace process and build up on the
    advocacy/communication plan.

    • Have increased delivery of basic services
    because if there is still widespread poverty, peace
    will be difficult to achieve.

    • Institute good governance, especially in the

    4. Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar recommends
    the continuation of the peace negotiations. He said

    • “The decades old negotiations do have
    outstanding and significant successes as there
    were also obstacles that can be a sound lesson for
    whoever is the next President of the country. In the
    negative aspect, one case in point was the MOA-AD
    debacle as a result of disagreement between the
    Executive, Legislative, and the Judicial branches of
    the government which ought to work independently
    from each other but in unison towards the same
    objective, but this didn’t happen.”

    • “Military approaches by past and present
    regimes had been tried but this only exacerbates
    the situation in terms of human suffering and
    displacements, damages to civilian properties and
    human lives notwithstanding the draining of the
    government’s coffers.”

    • “These happened despite our consistent
    pronouncements which are shared by many
    intellectuals, peace advocates and even many of
    those in the government that the best option for
    the government to solve the Bangsamoro Question
    is through peaceful means. Therefore, we believe
    that still the best logical way for whoever becomes
    President is to continue the negotiations.”

    5. For Gen. Garcia:

    • “I think President Aquino will be open-minded
    about Constitutional change as a possible solution
    to the peace issue. Although he has initial hesitance
    about committing to an amendment of the
    Constitution, but my interpretation is that he has
    not closed his mind to the possibility that any such
    Constitutional amendment would have to proceed
    from the will of the people. That does not foreclose
    any possibility. I know that his heart is good and
    that he would want peace in Mindanao. He is also
    aware of the necessity of peace in Mindanao in
    order to achieve economic development for the

    • “I believe that President Aquino will continue
    negotiating with the MILF. Peace negotiations are
    a tract that his administration would adhere to,
    rather than the military option. It is good to recall
    from history that it was his mother who went to
    Sulu upon assuming power in 1986 to put closure to
    the MNLF rebellion by meeting with Nur Misuari,
    which eventually led ten years later to the signing of
    a peace agreement in 1996 between the MNLF and
    the Government under the Ramos Administration.
    Being son to the mother, and despite having people
    in his adminstration who are adverse to the MOAAD,
    it should be made clear that this does not
    undermine national soverignty but does respect that
    certain people have a different culture that seeks
    to be given expression through the full meaning of
    self-governance ... Senator Aquino would see the
    wisdom of this.”

    6. For Mayor Lobregat:

    • “They should consult everybody in Mindanao.
    Why did Erap (presidential candidate and former
    President, Joseph Estrada) win in Mindanao? What
    were the things he said about the peace process,
    about the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)?
    The people appreciated him for those. Most of the
    votes he got were from Mindanao, and in fact he
    won in Mindanao. Why? It was his firmness in 2000,
    it showed in his administration that he wanted
    peace but did not settle for appeasement. There are
    obviously some things to be learned here”.

    7. Additional recommendations from other
    Mindanao Think Tank interviews: (Since these
    interviews with prominent observers to the peace
    process in Mindanao were conducted as an initiative
    of the Mindanao Think Tank, the following are some
    interesting recommendations raised during other
    Mindanao Think Tank activities.)

    • During a focused group consultation with
    Christian church leaders, the respondents
    mentioned that the Government does not have a
    national peace policy. They mentioned that every
    administration has its own policy - from the policy
    of unification during the Ramos Administration
    to the “all out war” policy of President Estrada.
    The absence of a national policy allows every
    new administration to come up with its own
    Government policy on the peace process. This
    will always entail a lot of consultations so that
    the sentiments of stakeholders will help in the
    formulation of the administration’s peace policy.

    • The consultations with the media also elicited
    the same recommendations but they stressed more
    the creation of a Government-supported Peace
    Commission. This will be different from the existing
    Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace
    Process, which is an agency that falls under the
    Offi ce of the President. Though supported by it, the
    proposed Peace Commission will be independent
    of Government, similar to the Commission on
    Human Rights or the Commission on Elections,
    in its implementation of the national peace policy.
    The logic behind this being that the Commission
    will not be a party to the peace process, but will
    summon the parties and help ensure that they
    seriously and sincerely pursue the process. The
    Government Peace Negotiating Panel will continue
    representing the GRP in the process, as before.

    • The media also strongly recommended for the
    improvement of communications and advocacy by
    the parties and stakeholders to the peace process
    not only at the negotiations level but also at the
    grassroots. For their particular field, this would
    greatly help the process since what would be picked
    up by the media would be clearer and in proper
    perspective with the greater initiative towards peace
    in Mindanao.

    Best possible transition:

    Transition plans should be in place. Prof. Lingga
    wants the new President to organize a peace panel
    in waiting and learn from the previous panels. For
    him, “The peace panel in waiting has to know what
    have been agreed so far and continue working from
    there. The impression we get from the GRP panel is
    that they lack institutional memory.” For his part,
    Fr. Mercado wants to consolidate the gains of the
    peace process, “This should be the bridge from the
    old to the new administration – so that we do not
    start with zero.“

    Vice Chairman Jaafar agrees with the
    recommendation of Prof. Lingga and Fr.
    Mercado. “The best thing for the new and former
    administrations is to summarize the achievements
    in the past negotiation, its current status, and have
    a smooth turn-over of leaderships including among
    others, matters pertaining to the peace talks. On
    the other hand, the new President will be guided
    on where to start and how to proceed with the
    negotiation. In other words, the new President
    should sum up the gains of the peace process, move
    forward from it, avoid the past mistakes, and most
    importantly should strive to make Government
    branches work in unison as one Government or
    towards one direction to once and for all solve this
    centuries-old conflict.”

    Dr. Durante, Gen. Garcia, and Dr. Juanday share the
    same ideas on transition. For Dr. Durante, “With the
    end of Presidential Peace Adviser Annabelle Abaya’s
    term last June 30, there would surely be changes at
    OPAPP and the GRP peace panel. The new OPAPP
    secretary and the new GRP peace panel should be
    populist or pro-people and the demands of both the
    MNLF and MILF should be attended to.”
    Dr. Juanday
    is also against dissolving the panel or scrapping the
    agreed portion of the negotiation. His advice is to
    “ ‘Hang on’ or continue, but to stick to the timeline
    agreed upon. The new administration will just have
    to take off from where the Arroyo Administration has
    left . There are certain agreements that have already
    been signed in the course of the negotiations since
    1997 that the incoming administration can build
    upon. These have stated some general principles on
    which the track of negotiations is based.” The same
    sentiment was aired by Gen. Garcia.

    Mayor Lobregat more or less had the same idea
    of transition when he said that “The Government
    does not have to do anything new, they just need
    to begin where the Supreme Court left off, then do
    consultations that are genuine, with the stakeholders
    truly considered and feed-backing of results done.”

    He said they were invited to previous consultations,
    but were never given any feedback as to the results of
    those consultations. “We also definitely need a new
    Government panel. It should also be made clear who
    the MILF represents. And what about the MNLF, are
    they involved or are they making demands because
    they clearly are a stakeholder here?”

    Worst possible scenario:

    Those in the civil society look at an all out war as
    the worst possible scenario in the peace process. As
    Prof. Lingga said, “If within the first three months
    the new President will not initiate resumption of
    the negotiations, there certainly will be war.” Vice
    Chairman Jaafar also looks at the failure to arrive
    at an agreement or when the negotiation fails as
    the worst case scenario. On the other hand, Mayor
    Lobregat looks at the negative effect of an early
    agreement: “If the Arroyo Administration signs
    something with just weeks remaining in office – that
    would be the worst case scenario. Nobody wants war.
    But we also can’t be threatened that if something is
    not signed we will go to war”.

    Dr. Juanday is more emphatic about the scenario
    he sees in the future. “If the President or the
    administration will reject the peace process and
    drop the peace talks, and knowing fully well that
    the majority of Filipinos will support war against
    the Bangsamoro people, this will push the President
    to go to war.

    "The next war will be very costly and
    very bloody, with the experience in the recent
    Maguindanao war that displaced 600,000 people.

    "Many Moros believe and know better that the
    incident was not an accident; it was done with a
    purpose, a warning that the Armed Forces of the
    Philippines can be more brutal to include civilians,
    their houses, their livelihood and everything that
    stands; this will be repeated and duplicated in many
    Moro areas. It will also be met with the same brute
    force or even more to widen the area of conflict.

    "This may be the last war but it will still not end the
    conflict. It will only be something that will make
    many more sleepless nights and nightmares.

    "And even if there will be status quo, in the ARMM alone
    where the population is 4 million, half of which
    are young, with no education, no work but prolific
    growth rate of four percent, this youth will double
    by 2010. There are 13-plus million Muslims in the

    "This is also an invitation to disaster and
    with conflict not resolved there will be too many
    young fighters to be recruited by any group. Allowing
    the Moro people a chance to help themselves by
    putting an end to this age old problem will be the
    best option.”

    For Gen. Garcia, the worst case scenarios, and there
    are several, are the following: “If the ability to agree
    on the contentious points continue to cause the
    protracted conduct of the talks interminably, then the
    patience of some people might wear off. What could
    be a very realistic scenario of frustration in the MILF
    ranks translating into radical sentiments would first
    erode the ascendancy of the moderates within the
    MILF and see the gaining of a foothold by radical
    elements and perhaps even take over of the more
    radical and aggressive elements on the negotiations.

    "The current people we are negotiating with could be
    marginalized within their own organization. Right
    now this radical streak in the MILF is only being
    constrained by the hopes that the moderate leaders
    are giving the rank and file that peace is attainable.
    But if this does not come, what now?”



    The European Commission in the
    Philippines for funding the Mindanao
    Think Tank as part of the HD Centre’s
    initiatives under the European Union’s
    Instrument for Stability Program

    Mr. David Gorman, the HD Centre’s
    Mediation Advisor and Philippines
    Country Representative

    Mr. Alberto Hamoy Kimpo, HD Centre
    Project Officer for the Mindanao Think

    Mrs. Milagros Son, Manila Office
    Secretary and Administrative Support
    Staff of HD Centre

    Professor Eva Tan, Lead Facilitator of
    the Mindanao Think Tank

    Mrs. Shiela Acquiatan, Finance Officer
    of the Mindanao Think Tank

    About the HD Centre
    The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD
    Centre) began operations in August 1999.
    From its beginning as a venue in Geneva,
    Switzerland, where discreet discussions
    took place among those who had a practical
    impact on humanitarian policy and
    practice, the HD Centre has evolved into an
    independent global mediation organisation,
    with a presence in Europe, North America,
    Africa and Asia. Its aim is to help alleviate
    the suffering of individuals and populations
    caught up in both high-profile and forgotten
    conflicts, by acting as mediators and by
    providing other mediators with the support
    they need to work effectively.

    HD Centre in the Philippines
    The HD Centre began work in the
    Philippines in February 2004 when the
    Royal Norwegian Government requested
    for the HD Centre’s active involvement
    in support of their role as third party
    facilitator to the peace process between
    the Government of the Republic of the
    Philippines and the National Democratic

    In 2005 the HD Centre became involved
    with the peace process between the GRP and
    the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
    when Presidential Adviser on the Peace
    Process, Teresita Quintos-Deles requested
    the HD Centre’s involvement in resolving a
    crisis in Sulu Province between MNLF and
    AFP forces. The HD Centre held five rounds
    of informal talks between the two parties
    and in August 2005, established the GRP
    -MNLF Peace Working Group. In 2008, the
    HD Centre established the Armed
    Violence Reduction Initiative which is a
    multi-stakeholder response to non-conflict
    related violence that has been prevalent in
    Sulu. in 2009, the HD Centre established
    the Tumikang Sama Sama, a group of six
    eminent persons in Sulu, that attempt
    to resolve local conflicts and in 2010, it
    established the Prevention of Election
    Related Violence initiative, a group of 25
    volunteers who monitor and report on
    election related violence in Sulu.

    In 2007, the HD Centre began
    involvement in the current Mindanao
    peace process that involves peace efforts
    between the GRP and the Moro Islamic
    Liberation Front (MILF). HD Centre is
    a member of the International Contact
    Group (ICG), providing advice to both
    parties and civil society through eminent
    persons and experts from around the
    world. On the ground, the HD Centre
    established the Mindanao Think Tank,
    a multi-stakeholder consultative effort
    aimed at creating an opportunity for
    communities in Mindanao to be more
    involved in the peace process. The group
    conducts consultations at the community
    level as well as among local experts and
    offi cials from key sectors to solicit their
    advice for the MILF and GRP panels and
    to keep them abreast of the peace process.

    The HD Centre also conducts research
    through support to the Institute of
    Bangsamoro Studies.

    You may visit us at

    Funded by the European Commission

  2. Sep 17, 2013

  3. #262
    Tagapagligtas ng Naapi KamenRaida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Senkaku Islands
    fucing ina may mortars, grenade launchers at machine guns ang mga ****, baka hindi peace caravan yan

    he he he

  4. #263
    shocking to know there are those who defend the terrorists here. tsk tsk

  5. #264

    The MNLF sniper who recognized me

    Quote Originally Posted by loveontop View Post
    nakakatakot yung snipper na mahaba at kulot buhok. parang hindi papahuli ng buhay.

    tanong lang ha, hindi pa pede ihire nalang nila yan mga yan(yang mga sniper) parang special group kung may laban tayo. mukang mas train pa sila kesa sa mga mismong sundalo natin tutal binayaran lang naman sila ng 10k ni nur bayaran din sila ng 20k kada laban ng mapakinabangan naman sila. nasasayangan ako sa talent nila nagagamit lang nila sa walang kwentang bagay.pede kaya yun???

    The MNLF sniper who recognized me
    By CHINO GASTON, GMA News September 16, 2013 2:11pm

    Soldiers capture MNLF sniper in Zambo City
    Soldiers capture MNLF sniper in Zambo City. An alleged Moro National Liberation Front sniper in Barangay Santa Catalina, Zamboanga City, captured by government troops on Saturday. Chino Gaston
    The police facility near the fighting was crowded with newly captured MNLF rebels, some of them bleeding from bullet wounds, a few of them over 60 years old.

    They smelled of sweat and gun powder, their hands blackened and faces burnt dark brown.

    That's where I saw him: a heavy-set man with mop-like hair and huge hands, fast asleep in a sitting position in a corner of the room. His head was leaning on a makeshift blackboard where a list of names of known hostages were written.

    His handcuffed hands were swollen from burns and cuts, a patina of soot rendering his skin an ashen grey. His thick fingers were scarred, calloused, and bruised.

    His camouflage pants had faded to a light grey and his right arm had a bandaged wound. His skin, a deep, dark olive brown, glistened with grime. A serene expression marked the sleeping man.

    A police official sidled next to me and whispered with unmasked awe, "That's the Santa Catalina sniper," referring to the barangay where the most intense fighting had been waged since the rebels entered the city on September 9.

    The man must have heard us for he suddenly opened his eyes and stared in our direction. His eyes were like coals, smouldering with the fire of purpose.

    I was told this man was one of the most relentless MNLF snipers, preventing soldiers from advancing towards rebel positions along Lustre Street, the scene of some of the fiercest combat.

    For days, the rebel snipers held their positions, on top of buildings and inside attics, shooting out of windows. This man did not surrender. He was cornered by government troops after he ran out of bullets.

    A flicker of recognition crosses the man's face and he breaks into a wide, almost sheepish smile. It was like watching a chameleon, a killer turning into someone's goofy uncle.

    We had seen each other before, not in Zamboanga but in the jungles of Sulu. "I know you," I tell him. He nods and cracks an even bigger smile.

    "Tausug," he replies.

    "Bitanag?" I ask, referring to MNLF Commander Ustadz Habir Malik's old stronghold in Panamao, Sulu that I visited almost ten years ago.

    He nods again. I try to prod him for more information but the only word he utters is “Tausug.” He was with Malik again in Zamboanga City. Malik is believed to be the leader of the rebels occupying several neighborhoods and holding dozens of hostages in the heart of the city.

    Incredible odds

    One of the thoughts that had been burning in my mind in the past days was the seeming indifference of the MNLF fighters to the incredible odds stacked against them.

    Government troop estimates number around 5000 in the conflict area while intelligence reports had pegged rebel numbers at just around 180 armed men, and that was before the 52 dead gunmen reported by a military spokesman.

    The devastation and loss of life caused by the MNLF are unforgivable, whatever motive and belief behind it. But one cannot help feeling a sense of awe at the determination of these men.

    What made these simple folk follow the man they call Commander Malik to the gates of hell?

    I get an answer from a nineteen-year-old sniper named Udab from Talipao, Sulu who was among those captured.

    He tells me they were promised ten thousand pesos to attend a supposedly planned MNLF flag-raising at the Zamboanga City Hall. Most of them did not have guns when they came to Zamboanga. On Monday, just before the planned march, they were issued firearms somewhere in Barangay Santa Barbara.

    In the past week, the military had been circulating news about the death of Commander Malik, perhaps in an effort to dampen the morale of the remaining MNLF fighters. But Udab shakes his head when I try to confirm the death of the senior MNLF commander. He tells me he last saw Malik Friday night.

    "It is God's will that he is alive. Bullets cannot harm him."

    Before I leave, I take one last look at the Santa Catalina sniper. He is sleeping again. It must be the first real sleep he has had in days. – HS, GMA News

  6. #265
    Quote Originally Posted by fridayblues View Post
    shocking to know there are those who defend the terrorists here. tsk tsk
    they're not defending the terrorist, they just hate the gov't.

  7. Sep 17, 2013

  8. #266
    Tagapagligtas ng Naapi KamenRaida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Senkaku Islands
    Umeepal si Fidel V. Ramos at Indonesian Govt

  9. #267
    soundscapes blue_tracer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    behind d waterfall
    Clean up MNLF mess, FVR tells PNoy

    MANILA - As the crisis in Zamboanga City stretched into another day, former President Fidel Ramos gave the Aquino administration some unsolicited advice.

    "Why don't you clean up your own mess first because you did it in the first place after we turned it over to you in a nice silver platter," he said.

    Ramos said Aquino should fix his management team.

    "Put your team in order. After that, maybe you can succeed in cleaning up the mess," he added.

    He said his advice is based on experience. "Kami, we are trying to give advice. You can take it or leave it but it is good advice because it is based on experience."

    The peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front was signed in 1997 during the Ramos administration.

    Ramos said the peace deal was not implemented properly by his successors.

    "Hindi totoo na may nasasabi ng media, kayo, sa newspaper na nasira yung peace agreement nung Ramos administration nung panahon ni Ramos. Hindi po. Nasa implementation yan eh. Kahit na anong ganda ng kasunduan, peace agreement, eh kung mali mali ang implementation afterwards eh di sira rin yung kapayapaan na iyun," he added.

  10. #268
    Ang dami palang magaling na sniper eh. Sana inubos nalang nila yung mga kurakot na politician dito sa Maynila!

  11. #269
    got balls sargo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    --> @SargoSays
    zamboanga police chief abuducted by MNLF!

    why in the world was he abducted? he did not take precautions? i thought the military and the police are all over the place.

    also why the hell is aquino still in zamboanga? its a security risk!

  12. #270
    Look, I'm not defending MNLF pero sana Magisip isip naman sana ang mga tao rito na pabor sa All-Out-War at military confrontation at isinasantabi ang peaceful settlement. Look at the Big Picture.

    Naiinis din ako sa mga taong nagcricriticize kay Binay. Binay attempted a peaceful solution, pero yung mga #1 supporters ng All-Out-War ay sinuportahan si Roxas na isang impatient, ambitious.

    Dahil sa ganyang mentalidad, nagkaroon ng Rason ang MNLF na magdeclare ng Giyera sa GPH at iabrogate ang 1996 final peace agreement.

    Advance party yang dinala nila sa Zamboanga. Pain yan. They will use it as propaganda para magkaroon ng rason to declare war.

    Why Zamboanga? Para palabasin na inaapi ng mga Kristiyano ang Moro.

    Kalkulado sila na susugurin yan ng Militar. They know na they are Militarily inferior
    at alam nilang Trigger Happy ang AFP.

    Noynoy and Mar Fell into a trap.

  13. #271
    got balls sargo's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    --> @SargoSays
    there is nothing peaceful about an army with arms attacking and occupying barangays, taking hundreds of hostages, using them as human shields, burning of 1,000 structures and the killing of civilians and soldiers. and they are not even from Zamboanga! zamboanga is a predominantly catholic/christian city.

    where is peace in that?

    that is not peace, that is terorism,

    they did that, they deserve to be taken out by force. as of today, 100 MNLF rebels have been killed or captured. now, the government need to go after the other 150 or so.

    terrorists deserve military action. they only know violence and terror, the military needs to give in kind.

  14. #272
    Quote Originally Posted by sargo View Post
    there is nothing peaceful about an army with arms attacking and occupying barangays, taking hundreds of hostages, using them as human shields, burning of 1,000 structures and the killing of civilians and soldiers. and they are not even from Zamboanga! zamboanga is a predominantly catholic/christian city.

    where is peace in that?

    they did that, they deserve to be taken out by force. as of today, 100 MNLF rebels have been killed or captured. now, the government need to go after the other 150 or so.
    Its a trap nga. It was supposed to be a Peaceful Parade IF the Military didnt Attack. but its calculated. They bought their weapons as an enticement for the military to attack. It worked. Everyone fell into a trap. MNLF will use it to strengthen their propaganda

    kaya nga Zamboanga e, para palabasin na inaapi ng mga Xtiano ang mga Muslim.

  15. #273
    got balls sargo's Avatar
    Join Date
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    --> @SargoSays
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dragon View Post
    Its a trap nga. They bought their weapons as an enticement for the MIlitary to attack. It worked. Everyone fell into a trap. MNLF will use it to strengthen their propaganda

    kaya nga Zamboanga e, para palabasin na inaapi ng mga Xtiano ang mga Muslim.
    if its a trap then they deserve the military action.

    the country and MOST SPECIALLY the citizens of zamboanga who have been killed, wounded and homes burned will not see kindly an army witth arms.

    to espouse for peaceful settlement is to defend the terrorists.

  16. #274
    got balls sargo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    --> @SargoSays
    on TV patrol - 23 MNLF soldiers set to surrender.

  17. #275
    Tagapagligtas ng Naapi KamenRaida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Senkaku Islands
    Mga Demonyong MNLF namatay yung 2 taong gulang na bata dahil ginawang Human Shield

    nakakalungkot marami dito sa PEX ang nakikisimpatya sa MNLF


  18. #276
    sabihin nyo nang kulang sa pansin si misuari.

    well, the nation is paying a high price for the government ignoring misuari and his rightful demands that the peace deal he signed in 1996 be honored by GRP, the other signee.

  19. #277
    got balls sargo's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    --> @SargoSays
    @News5AKSYON: @MARoxas:SSupt.Malayo kept on convincing 23 MNLF fighters to surrender even after they abducted him this morning in Mampang. |via @djstaana

    malayo was released and with him 23 MNLF soldiers who abducted him that apparently he was able to convince to surrender.


  20. #278
    terorista mga yan dapat dyan

    tapusin! tapusin! tapusin!

  21. #279

  22. #280
    got balls sargo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    --> @SargoSays

    Zamboanga City top cop freed; 20 MNLF rebels yield

    By Frances Mangosing

    MANILA, Philippines – Senior Superintendent Jose Chiquito Malayo, the police chief of Zamboanga City who was reported kidnapped by Moro National Liberation Front rebels in Sta. Catalina village in the city, emerged free shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, the military said.

    Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told that Malayo remarkably even managed to convince at least 20 armed rebels to surrender.
    The Philippine Daily Inquirer team in Mindanao saw Malayo aboard a mini-bus, and he was with the MNLF surrenderees.

    Malayo waved and smiled at the Inquirer team as the mini-bus passed by.

    Zamboanga City government’s Twitter account also affirmed the release past 6 p.m.

    “[Crisis management committee] confirms the release of Zamboanga police chief Malayo and the surrender of some MNLF members,” it said.

    No abduction

    Meanwhile, a Philippine National Police official disputed reports that Malayo was abducted.

    As it turned out, the police chief of Zamboanga City was not really abducted but only negotiated for the surrender of several rebel members.

    In a phone interview, Chief Superintendent Juanito Vano Jr., Region IX police director, told that Senior Superintendent Jose Chiquito Malayo, the police chief of Zamboanga City only facilitated the surrender of 27 MNLF rebels.

    “Hindi sya inabduct. Sya nagpa-surrender [ng mga MNLF] . . . OK na si Malayo (He was not abducted. He convinced the MNLF rebels to surrender…Malayo is now OK),” Vano said.

    Senior Superintendent Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office chief, earlier said Malayo was abducted “at gun point” in Barangay (village) Mampang around 11 a.m. while he was negotiating for the release of civilian hostages.

    In a separate advisory, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II said “I am pleased to inform you that Zambo[anga] City director, Senior Superintendent Chiquito Malayo has successfully convinced…MNLF fighters to come into the fold of the law.”

    Roxas, however, said the number of rebels who surrendered was only 23.
    “While trying to convince them, he was taken into custody or held hostage but he kept on convincing them until he succeeded,” Roxas told reporters.

    The rebels said they had come from a nearby island to join a peaceful protest by their group in Zamboanga but withdrew after firefights erupted between government troops and their comrades, Roxas said, adding police would investigate their claims.

    “The important thing here is he (Malayo) was able to enact the surrender,” Zagala said.

    The surrender of about 20 rebels comes as government troops intensify an offensive to end the standoff that began Sept. 9 when the troops foiled a suspected plan by a larger group of rebels to take control of Zamboanga, a major port of nearly 1 million people about 860 kilometers (540 miles) south of Manila.

    The military says it has recaptured 70 percent of the coastal areas occupied by the rebels and rescued more than 100 hostages.

    About 64 hostages were freed or escaped during military operations early Tuesday, followed by another 14 who walked to freedom in separate batches. That brought to 116 the number of those rescued in the last 18 hours, Zagala said.

    He said more than 100 Moro National Liberation Front rebels were still holding hostages in the remaining pockets they control in five coastal villages in Zamboanga.

    Nearly 82,000 residents have fled the fighting into several emergency shelters, including the city’s main sports complex.

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