MILF: Zero encounter with govt forces in 2012

Last year may have been a historic one for the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as far as the number of armed encounters are concerned: zero. The MILF said this after noting figures from its and the government's Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCHs), the body formed to monitor both camp's compliance to the ceasefire agreement. "[Year] 2012 is indeed a historic year for the current government-MILF peace process as it is the only year since the signing of the ceasefire accord between the two parties (that) not a single (armed) encounter between government and MILF forces occurred," an article on the MILF website quoted the government-MILF CCCH secretariat as saying. Both the government and the MILF made headway toward peace after their negotiators signed a framework peace agreement last October 15. Signed in Malacañang, the framework agreement promises to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a Bangsamoro political entity. The MILF also cited the effective work of officials from both sides in making sure the ceasefire mechanisms of the peace process on the ground are working. It also cited the local monitoring teams and the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team, whose members include representatives from Brunei, Japan, Indonesia, Norway and the European Union. "The effectiveness of the ceasefire mechanisms and strong cooperation and partnership between the government and MILF forces (are) attributed (for) the zero armed encounter for 2012," the MILF quoted government CCCH secretariat head Maj. Carlos Sol Jr. as saying. "The signing of the Framework Agreement had significantly improved and sustained the adherence and support to the ceasefire particularly among the ground commanders of the government and MILF and the local government units," Maj. Sol added. For his part, IMT head of mission Maj. Gen. Datuk Abdul Rahim bin Yusuff commended the government-MILF CCCH and the other parties in the ceasefire mechanism for the remarkable accomplishment in 2012. — KBK, GMA News

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