GPH, MILF renew ceasefire mechanism until 2017

By , on February 12, 2016


MILF Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe's Facebook page)
MILF Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
(Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe’s Facebook page)

MANILA—The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels agreed on Thursday to renew the mandate of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) to implement security mechanisms in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

During a two-day special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, both parties agreed to extend the mandate of the ceasefire mechanism until March 31, 2017.

According to a joint statement, both GPH and MILF see its valuable contribution “in isolating and interdicting criminal syndicates/kidnap-for-ransom groups and terrorist groups operating in Mindanao.”

The statement added that it is part of their efforts to “preserve the gains of more than 17 years of negotiations” and a means to advance the Bangsamoro peace process in light of the 16th Congress failure to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The AHJAG is a cooperative mechanism established in May 2002, through a joint communiqué between the GPH and MILF‎ and formally organized in 2005.

Its mandate is to coordinate, monitor and disseminate information between and among the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) for the Government, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) for the MILF, to effect the apprehension and arrest of the identified selected criminal elements within the “MILF areas/communities.”

Both parties also recognized the International Monitoring Team (IMT) for the effective monitoring of the implementation of cessation of hostilities between the GPH and MILF forces.

In view of the significant input of the IMT in building confidence and supporting the maintenance of the ceasefire mechanisms, the parties agreed to renew the mandate of the IMT for another year until March 2017.

The IMT also monitors the humanitarian, rehabilitation, development, and socioeconomic assistance aspects of the signed agreements, the observance of international humanitarian laws and respect for human rights, as well as the verification and reporting on basic undertaking of the GPH and MILF to protect civilians and civilian communities.