Vol. 2 No. 6 June 2007
Canada reaffirms support
to peace process
COTABATO CITY (June5) —— Canada reiterated
today its readiness to deploy an observer to the
International Monitoring Team (IMT) to help the multi-
national group enforce the ceasefire between the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front and the Armed Forces.
Steve Rheault-Kihara, counselor for economic and
political affairs of the Embassy of Canada, said in an e-
mail the Canadian government is keen on helping monitor
the ceasefire, which is important in furthering the GRP-
MILF peace overture.
The IMT, which has been helping monitor the ceasefire
since 2003, is currently composed of soldiers, policemen,
and sailors from Malaysia. Brunei and Libya, and a
rehabilitation specialist from Japan.
Rheault-Kihara has been frequenting Cotabato City
and parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao PEACEKEEPERS --- Members of a GRP Army peacekeep-
to visit on-going socio-economic projects of the Local ing contingent observes a demilitarized area separating rebel
Government Support Program of ARMM, or LGSPA, and military controlled territories in Shariff Aguak,
[CANADA /p.11] Maguindanao. 
More peace Iran ready to help too
COTABATO CITY (June8) —-The Moro Islamic
initiatives by IAG Liberation Front is elated with Iran’s reaffirmation of its
The Institute for Autonomy and Governance willingness to help in the 10-year-old government-MILF
(IAG), with the help of the Konrad Adenauer peace overture.
Stiftung (KAS), held conflict management trainings Speaker Gholan Ali Haddad Adel of the Iranian
and round table discussions from April to June in parliament was quoted by Middle Eastern news websites
support of the Mindanao peace process. the other day as saying that Iran is hoping it can help in
The IAG, bankrolled by the KAS, is involved in the Southern peace process, now a multi-national initiative.
various peace-building activities in the south, “We in the MILF are thankful of the expressed
mostly focused on upgrading cross-section con- willingness of the Iranian parliament to help in the
sciousness in supporting the peace process and the Mindanao peace process. This is something very positive,”
on-going negotiations between the government and Eid Kabalu, MILF’s spokesman said.
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Peace talks between the government and the MILF
The first to be held was the roundtable discus- started January 7, 1997, but gained momentum only in
sions on the ceasefire mechanisms of the GRP-MILF 2003 with the help of Malaysia as “third party mediator.”
Military personnel from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, and
Supported by: Institute for
2 June 2007
MILF rescues 4 foreigners from German’s kidnapper nabbed
abductors in North Cotabato COTABATO CITY (June6) — Government operatives
nabbed yesterday the alleged mastermind in last week’s
COTABATO CITY – Moro secessionist rebels abduction of a German treasure hunter and three others
rescued four foreigners seized by gunmen near the in Pikit, North Cotabato.
town of Pikit, North Cotabato Thursday. Inspector Elias Dandan, chief of the Pikit municipal
The military said the four foreigners are now in police, said the suspect, Edward Cocal, was cornered by
the custody of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front plainclothes policemen in a restaurant at the Hill Park
(MILF) after they were abandoned in a remote Inn near the town proper of Midsayap, North Cotabato.
village in Pikit hours after they were snatched by Dandan said Cocal did not resist arrest after sensing
gunmen who posed as guides. that policemen, backed by soldiers and civilian volunteers,
The Philippine Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade have surrounded the restaurant and that there was no
commander Col. Pedro Soria said they were still more way out.
waiting for the MILF to turn over the hostages, It was Cocal who duped the 44-year-old Thomas
initially reported as European. Wallrolf, of Cologne, Germany, and his Filipina wife, Mae
Soria identified the foreigners as Thomas Sharon Jackson, to come to North Cotabato by making
Wallwrap, Sharon Jackson, Consuela San Juan and the foreigner believe there is a hidden stockpile of nickel
Diego Daniel, whose nationalities are yet to be babbits somewhere in the province.
verified. The couple and their two companions, driver Diego
The MILF had offered to help in the search for Daniel and Consuelo San Juan, were unscrupulously led
the four Europeans after receiving reports they had by Cocal, through text messages, to an interior spot in
been seized by unidentified gunmen on the road Pikit, where about a dozen gunmen were waiting along a
near Pikit. farm-to-market road.
The four were reportedly on their way to The gunmen flagged Wallrolf’s vehicle, ordered them
Midsayap for “treasure hunting activities” when [GERMAN’S/p.8]
their still unidentified guides turned on them,
officials said. Foreign observers’ ordeal
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the group took
during May 14 polls
COTABATO CITY – Foreign poll observers who toured
parts of Central Mindanao last May 14 got the scare of
EDITORIAL BOARD their lives, seeing heavily armed policemen and soldiers
BGen Edgardo M Gurrea AFP around polling precincts in the politically turbulent region
Chief Executive Officer
and witnessing an explosion in Shariff Kabunsuan
Von al Haq province.
Chief Editor “It was worse than Afghanistan,” said Somsri
Capt Carlos T Sol Jr PA Hananuntasuk, director of the Asian Network for Free
Rashid Ladiasan Elections, who observed the first-ever democratic elections
Associate Editor in that strife-torn country in 2005.
Editors: Maj Joselito R Tocaldo PA In a dialogue with Filipino journalists, Hananuntasuk
Geraldine So showed more than a dozen photos of people cheating
during the elections. She and her colleagues from other
Silvestre “Yoyong” Afable countries took the photos as they toured polling places in
Mohaqher Iqbal far-flung communities in Shariff Kabunsuan, a newly
Technical Staff: Some of the photos showed voters looking at each
other’s supposedly confidential ballots, a man holding a
Danny Pillo Bobet Dimaukom
Philip Villamar Samy Usop bunch of filled-out ballots, filled-out ballots on top of a
Rogel Hermoso Toks Upam school desk, a mayoral candidate talking to soldiers near
Yosil Maygay Jonnel Develos
Brando Espina Norgiana Suliek a polling precinct, and a poll watcher looking at the ballots
being filled out by voters.
The publication of this newsletter is made possible through the technical and financial One photo showed a burly man, purportedly a poll
assistance provided by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance and the Konrad
Adenauer Stiftung. The IAG is at the Alumni Center, Notre Dame University, Cotabato City watcher, seated next to a man casting his vote, as if scaring
and the KAS is at ALPAP 1 Building, 140 Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. [FOREIGN /p.8]
June 2007 3
Ceasefire committee chairman JMAT center built
named EastMinCom deputy SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao – The
government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
commander for peace process. jointly inaugurated here today a P1 million-worth
SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (May 2) — The ceasefire monitoring base established to hasten efforts
Armed Forces has designated the chairman of the of preventing undue rebel-military hostilities in this
government’s ceasefire committee as Eastern Mindanao town.
Command’s deputy chief for peace process. The seven-room observation outfit of the Joint
With a wider operational discretion, Brig. Gen. Monitoring Assistance Team (JMAT), built at Barangay
Edgardo Gurrea, chairman of the government’s Kuloy here by the Army’s 54th Engineering Brigade, will
Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, house representatives of the military, the MILF, and the
said he is certain he would face a “bigger challenge” joint ceasefire committee.
now in furthering all of the government’s low-level Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon,
security agreements with the Moro Islamic Liberation who led military officials and MILF representatives in
Front. inaugurating the building, said he is certain the
Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of activation monitoring outfit will enhance the ceasefire
Eastmincom, told reporters today the designation of in this town, where Moro guerillas and paramilitary
Gurrea is parallel with the efforts of the government to forces figured in bloody encounters last year.
[CEASEFIRE /p.8] The ceremony was witnessed by Eastern Mindanao
Command chief Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana, Gen.
Esperon sees reign Raymundo Ferrer of the 6 th Infantry Division, the
of peace in Mindanao
chairman of the government’s Coordinating Committee
on the Cessation of Hostilities, Brig Gen. Edgardo
Meets members of int’l monitoring team in Gurrea, and his MILF counterpart, Von Al-Haq.
Cotabato City Esperon, who was commander of the Army’s 602 nd
Brigade in Carmen, North Cotabato from 2000 to 2001,
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff said he is elated with the participation now of different
Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Tuesday he is confident countries in monitoring the ceasefire between the
that the 10-year-old peace process between the national government and the MILF.
government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “We can now see light at the end of the tunnel. We
will lead to the settlement of the decades-old Mindanao need to continue the cooperation between the
conflict. government, the MILF and the countries helping in the
Esperon cited the desire of the officers and men of the Mindanao peace process,” Esperon said.
AFP to see to it that peace is attained. Esperon said the government and the MILF have
He noted President Arroyo’s policy statement on the both been religiously adhering to the ceasefire and that
“primacy of the peace process” that included a directive the recent conflicts in Central Mindanao were
to the military to refrain from using too much artillery immediately resolved by the ceasefire committee and
shelling and air bombing against the Muslim rebels and the multi-national International Monitoring Team (IMT).
other groups. Representatives of the IMT, particularly those from
“Due to the policies and recent presidential statement Brunei, will help oversee the operation of the newly-
on the peace process in Mindanao, particularly our inaugurated ceasefire monitoring outfit, which is built
brothers in the MILF, the artillery regiment of the 6th in an open field separating territories occupied by the
Infantry Division is virtually paralyzed because our men MILF and patches of land where there are military and
can no longer fire now,” he said. militia detachments.
The MILF’s online address reported the AFP chief’s The June 28 to July 6 encounters here between the
visit last Tuesday to Cotabato City where he hosted a MILF and militia forces, sparked by the June 23 bombing
dinner for the members of the Malaysia-led International at the town proper which left seven people dead and
Monitoring Team (IMT), who are stationed in Mindanao’s nearly killed Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal, caused
conflict-affected areas. the dislocation of some 10,000 marginalized Moro
Reached by the Manila Bulletin, MILF chief negotiator villagers.
Mohagher Iqbal welcomed Esperon’s statement. The old makeshift shelter of the ceasefire monitors
“The confidence of the military on the peace process in Barangay Kuloy here was razed in the ensuing
comes no less from the chief of staff of the Armed Forces firefights.
[ESPERON /p.7] [JMAT /p.8]
4 June 2007
New P200-M shipyard Peace in Mindanao?
ready in six months “Canada is in it for the long
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24
March) – The tuna industry expects yet another boost
haul,” Ambassador says
with the construction here of a P200-million modern DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – Amid a growing
shipyard that is touted to be the “first in the East pessimism over the peace process with the Bangasamoro in
Mindanao, Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland remains
ASEAN Growth Area.” The construction comes in
unfazed: “Economic development is a very long term
the wake of the country’s passing the standards set proposition. Peace-building is a long proposition. So Canada
by the European Union. is in it for a long haul,” he told a press conference here after
Signal Marine Shipyard Corp., a consortium of the ceremonial signing of the Mindanao Trust Fund-Phase 1
the biggest names in the country’s fishing industry, is Administrative Agreement.
behind the project. Construction is expected to be Canada added P40 million to the MTF raised by the
completed in six months. World Bank for reconstruction and development projects in
Marfenio Tan, chair of the SAFI Group of the conflict-affected areas, in preparation for the signing of a
Companies and one of the consortium members, said peace agreement between the Philippine government and
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
they bankrolled the project due to its economic
Last year, Canada gave P30 million to the Fund.
viability and to further boost the local fishing industry. Since 1990, the Canadian government had been
He said the project was in response to the providing substantial assistance to the Philippines,
European Union’s accreditation of the country as particularly Mindanao.
exporter of fisheries and aquatic products. Sutherland said a lot has been accomplished since they
Francisco Tiu-Laurel, head of Frabelle Fishing had been supporting local governance and peace initiatives
[NEW /p.7] here. “The agreement of 1996 and the ceasefire three plus
years ago. These are concrete developments on the peace
Muslims reminded on age front that have been very encouraging,” he said, referring to
the 1996 “Final Peace Agreement” between the Philippine
limit for domestic helpers government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
and the reiteration of the 1997 general cessation of hostilities
The younger domestic helpers (DHs) are deployed in agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF
the Middle East, the bigger the risk for abuses and other in the aftermath of the Buliok war in 2003.
forms of maltreatment to happen against them. “Sure there’s gonna be problems as the secretary (Jesus
Adam Musa, deputy administrator of the Overseas Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) mentioned
Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), made this but the fundamental reality is you have two significant
observation last Monday, saying minors get easily rattled, agreements — the peace agreement with the MNLF and the
ceasefire with the MILF and progress towards a long-term
pressured, and succumbed to their fears and
peace agreement with the MILF, so we are very encouraged
apprehensions. by that and it just reinforces in our mind the link between
They tend to escape their employers at the slightest development and peace.”
sign of trouble, and then become subject of exploitation Sutherland said that with respect to the peace process,
until they get back home, he said, adding there are many “we realize more and more how you can’t separate
victims who hailed from ARMM. development and peace.”
Musa, who is also with the Office on Muslim Affairs “If you’re gonna have long-term sustainable development,
(OMA) as deputy executive director, visited OMA last you need to have a peaceful situation on the ground so more
Monday afternoon and observed some minor-looking and more we are looking at working with our projects to
clear the climate on the ground, to be conducive and
Muslim girls applying for certificate of tribal membership
supportive and encouraging to long-term peace,” he said.
(CTM), a pre-requisite for passport application for Over the years of exposure in Mindanao, Canada’s view
members of Moro tribes. of Mindanao, has also changed, said Steven Rheault-Kihara,
“We have to stop this (deployment of minors), for they counselor of the Political/Economic Relations and Public
are more prone to abuses. The Arabs don’t choose whether Affairs of the Canadian Embassy.
you are a Muslim or non-Muslim,” Musa said. Kihara told MindaNews the titles on the briefing papers
He said two of the new regulations of the government for their Ambassadors have, over the years, changed from
require a minimum of 23 years old for DH applicant and “Mindanao Problem” to “Mindanao Challenge” to
0 monthly salary. “Mindanao Promise.”
“The problem is that our fellow Muslims are willing After the press conference, MindaNews asked Sutherland
why on the one hand Canada is seen as helping build peace
to sign a job contract, but accept or less when already
in Mindanao, but on the other, some Canadian firms have
[MUSLIMS /p.7] [PEACE /p.6]
June 2007 5
Islam preaches unity in diver- More funds for Mindanao
sity among peoples in the from Canada
world – Malaysian colonel As part of its contribution to the Philippines’
peacekeeping efforts in Southern Philippines, the Canadian
A Malaysian military officer — Lt. Col. Abubakar Bin
Abdul Malik, who heads the International Monitoring Team government, through the Canadian International
(IMT) which is overseeing compliance with the signed Development Agency (CIDA), committed Thursday
accords between the national government and the Moro additional 40 million (in Canadian currency) to the Mindanao
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said that Islam, the religion Trust Fund.
of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Allaihi Wassalam, Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland pledged the
preaches unity in diversity among peoples of the world. assistance, which he described as Canada’s continued
The IMT, which particularly oversees the imlementation support for the peace and development efforts in Mindanao
of the ceasefire between the two sides, is composed of while the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Malaysia as head, Libya, Brunei and Japan. Since the coming (MILF) are under way.
of the international observers, periodic clashes and violations He announced the R40-million fund support during a
of the accords have been settled through the IMT. press conference held in Davao City and attended by
“There is diversity among human beings. They have Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus
variety of genders, colors and language and multiplicity of
Dureza, and World Bank Mindanao Coordinator Mary Judd.
races and tribes. These diversities are considered natural and
are called God’s signs,” Abdul Malik said in an article written “Mindanao is a major focus for CIDA’s program in the
for www.mindanews.com by Norodin Makalay. Philippines. Our emphasis on governance, support for small
Abdul Malik, 47, of the state of Malacca, Malaysis, heads business and conflict-affected areas reflect the importance
the IMT’s Headquarter Site 4. He spoke at a Qur’an reading we attach to these integral components of the government’s
contest held in General Santos City the other day. strategy for peace and development in Mindanao,” he said.
He then proceeded to quote a passage in the Qur’an, the The additional assistance from Canada will benefit
Muslim Holy Book, particularly Verses 27-28 of Chapter 5. conflict affected areas and will be used to fund various
“See you not that Allah sends down rain from the sky? undertakings such as mainstreaming gender in peace-
With it We then bring out produce of various colors. And in building work, community-level emergency response,
the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of advocacy campaigns, and enhanced coordination with other
color, and black intense in hue. And so amongst men and projects in the conflict areas, the Canadian embassy said.
crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those The Phase 1 of the Mindanao Trust Fund is at present
truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge:
providing resources for the capacity-building of the
for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft Forgiving,” he said, reading
the Qur’anic passage. Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development
Abdul Malik said diversity can also be found in peoples [MORE /p.6]
Muslims laud UK minister’s
from every part of the world, as well as diversity in the cities,
towns and in neighborhoods.
He appealed to the media to not misrepresent other’s
cultures and religion, saying it is the responsibility of
educational institutions and the media to spread the correct
visit to Manila Golden Mosque
The Philippine Muslim community and 26 Moro civil
information, and to not propagate hate against any group
society groups yesterday lauded the visit to the Manila
of people and their religion.
“ Tolerance is the responsibility that upholds human Golden Mosque on Wednesday of United Kingdom
rights, pluralism, including cultural pluralism, democracy Minister of State Dr. Kim Howells, saying it marks the
and the rule of law,” Abdul Malik said, referring to the emergence of ties between UK and local adherents of Islam.
principles of tolerance which the United Nations Educational, Maradeka, an umbrella for 26 Moro civil society
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has groups, through its officials led by Secretary General Nash
enshrined. Pangadapun, welcomed the historic visit that Howells
He said Islam may not see every viewpoint as correct or
of equal weight, but the Islamic faith certainly prohibits made at the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila. Howells
compulsion in religion. heads the UK government’s Engaging the Islamic World
“The respect for diversity comes when we recognize four Program (EWIP).
important principles: the dignity of the human beings; the “The Philippine Muslim community and various
basic equality of all human beings; universal human rights; Muslim civil society, non-government organizations, and
and fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief,” religious groups here in the Golden Mosque and Cultural
he said. “Islam recognizes all these principles.”
Among others, Abdul Malik explained that “jihad” does Center express their utmost felicitation and appreciation
not mean “holy war,” rather it means struggle on the personal on the visit of the British Embassy officials to the Muslim
and social levels. communities,” said Pangadapun and Maradeka convenors
It was recalled that Muslim scholars who are expert on Bae Amalia Tomawis and Stadh Norsi Mindog.
the Qur’an have repeatedly stressed that Islam has no holy Howells’ visit was co-organized by the British Embassy
war, only Christianity has holy war, particularly the
[ISLAM /p.6] [MUSLIMS /p.6]
6 June 2007
PEACE . . . from page 4 MUSLIMS . . . from page 5
been accused of triggering conflict in another part of headed by Charge d’ Affaires Alan Crorkin and the
Mindanao, such as TVI in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, an Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) led
accusation the mining firm denies. by head convenor Amina Rasul Bernardo.
Indigenous peoples in the area claim the mining firm Crorkin noted the support which the British Embassy
encroached on their ancestral domain. receives from leaders of various religions in the country,
“I would disagree that they’re triggering conflict,” especially from the local Muslims.
Sutherland quickly replied.
“Their commitment to dialogue and our shared
“What they’re trying to do is to develop the economy in
the area where they’re working for their own interests and mission of enhancing peace and understanding between
the company because it is an opportunity to develop mineral Christians and Muslims in Mindanao is a high priority of
resources which will earn profit for them. At the same time, the UK government. This is why it has featured
they are active in social development role with the Subanon prominently in the Minister’s program. The visit is taking
community in that region,” he said, adding the firm has been place in an environment of cooperation and a desire to
providing economic projects in the area “in addition to and learn from our joint experiences in peace building,” said
apart from what they’re doing from mine development.” Crorkin.
“So from a government perspective, what something like Pangadapun and his fellow Maradeka leaders said the
this does is create jobs and economic opportunities on the British officials’ visit and holding of dialogue with Muslims
ground,” the ambassador said, adding, “we work with is viewed as a positive step that paves the way for the
companies like TVI to ensure that they are good community emergence of ties between the UK and the Muslim Filipino
citizens. The concept is called corporate social responsibility. community.
We want our companies to be as good community citizens “Thus, we look forward to establishing cordial relations
in the Philippines as they are in Canada,” he said.
in threshing out on all sides some differences and our
Sutherland said that just recently, a series of consultations
had been made in Canada “addressing just that issue, entirely negative notion of the West and the religious
particularly with respect to extractive industries such as extremism,” they added.
mining, oil exploration” and the consultations brought They said local Muslims are aware of the UK
together “the public, the industry itself, the non-governmental government’s involvement in the search for peace in
organizations, some of whom are opposed to mining, Mindanao, particularly the Peace Mindanao Project
governmental organizations” and together, he said, they through the British Volunteer Service Organization (VSO).
asked “what can we do collectively to provide some kind of “In the light of the situation in the Middle East, we in
standards” and how they could help these industries meet the Maradeka, an alliance of Bangsamoro groups consisting
the standards. of the Bangsamoro Supreme Council of Ulama (BSCU),
Sutherland said new standards have been developed and Organization of Maguindanaon and Iranun, Bangsa
are being recommended for adoption by the Canadian Iranun Muslim People Organization (BIMPO), Bangsa
government. Iranun Women Advocates for Peace (BAIWAP), Basilan
“The recommendations have been made by the Solidarity, Ittihad Al Shabab Al-Muslimeen, National
committee. They’re now being considered by the government
Aggrupation of Muslim Students, and Task Force
and the government is about to respond.”
He said the standards are intended for firms operating Mindanao and its network of 26 Muslim non-government
outside Canada to exercise the same diligence and standards organizations and people organizations, religious (Muslim
outside of their home base. (Written by Carolyn O. Arguillas clerics), women, youth and students, and farmers groups
/ MindaNews Thursday, 26 April 2007) would like to take this as an opportunity to appeal to the
British government and the Good People of the United
MORE . . . from page 5 Kingdom to play a very significant role toward putting
final conclusion to the regional conflict by supporting the
arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Saudi Peace Plan proposed during the Arab Summit,” they
It focuses on capacity-building and implementation of
reconstruction and development projects in conflict-affected said.
areas while the peace process is in progress. “Finally, we are expressing gratitude for your
Last year, Canada gave R30 million as its initial continued assistance to our people in Mindanao and look
contribution to the Mindanao Trust Fund. Aside from forward to a joint undertaking to broaden your
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden are also engagement with the Muslim communities in the
contributors to the fund. Philippines and the Bangsamoro Homeland,” the
Maradeka leaders said.
ISLAM . . . from page 5
ISLAM Joanna Micaela Arriola, UK Embassy press and
Crusades launched by popes and kings of Europe in the name political affairs officer, said Dr. Howells’ visit was a one-
of Christianity to get the Holy Land (Jerusalem) from day affair. (BY EDD K. USMAN Manila Bulletin, April 7,
Muslims. (BY EDD K. USMAN) 2007)
June 2007 7
ESPERON . . . from page 3 NEW . . . from page 4
of the Philippines, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. We Corp., also a consortium member, described the shipyard
welcome and appreciate his comments,” said Iqbal, who project as “world-class” to accommodate large vessels.
reiterated the MILF’s determination to pursue a peaceful “Once completed, it will employ 300 workers which
way to resolve the Mindanao problem. will mean more taxes and money being pumped into the
Aside from Malaysia, other members of the IMT are local economy,” Laurel said.
Libya (which has nine representatives), Brunei and, Japan. He said the shipyard will have three slipways or ramps
Sweden’s membership is being processed. Canada has on the shore on which ships or boats needing repairs can
expressed its intent to join but has not yet made a formal be moved to and from the water.
request. The shipyard will be equipped with complete and
The IMT plays a crucial role in the implementation of modern facilities for shipbuilding and servicing, he added.
the accords forged by the government and the Moro rebels, Laurel said the facility may service foreign fishing
particularly the ceasefire deal. vessels within the EAGA economic grouping, including
“I am clearly seeing the light at the end of the roadmap superseiners, a large fishing vessel employed by huge firms
to peace being pursued by the government and the Moro in catching tuna varieties.
Islamic Liberation Front, and we are actually nearing that The other consortium members are Domingo Teng of
end,” Esperon said. TSP Marine Corp, Ferdinand Lim of RBL Fishing Corp.,
He said the government and the MILF, as well as those Paul Tan of Ocean Canning Corp, and John Reynaldo
what he fondly called the “laborers of peace,” have shown Tiangco of Trans-Pacific Journey Corp.
strong commitment toward the achievement of lasting The city government, through Mayor Pedro Acharon
peace and prosperity in the Land of Promise. Jr., committed continued support to endeavors for the
“Apparently, all the stakeholders of the peace process growth of the tuna industry.
are showing common aspiration and resiliency. And, for He took advantage of the groundbreaking ceremonies
one, as the Chief of Staff of the AFP, I can see from among to hit his detractors who have been claiming that under
our officers and men, who have had a share of experience his administration, new investments had been scarce.
of working for Mindanao, the resounding desire to once “My detractors must set their sights along the shoreline
and for all achieve the elusive peace in Mindanao,” the of the city, from Bawing to Labangal in order to find out
AFP chief said. (BY EDD K. USMAN) that most investments are located there,” he said.
The city, dubbed the undisputed “Tuna Capital of the
MUSLIMS . . . from page 4 Philippines,” is largely dependent on the tuna industry. It
hosts six of the country’s eight tuna canneries.
The Philippines produces approximately 400,000
deployed,” said Musa.
metric tons of tuna annually with a value of P18 billion
Paharuddin Pangcoga, director of OMA’s Bureau of
(some $330 million), about 85% of which (roughly P15
Muslim Settlements, which issues CTMs for R50, or R100
billion or $280 million) is exported to various countries,
for rush, said OMA discourages minors from going abroad,
according to data from the Department of Agriculture’s
but they can not deny them CTM.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
He said OMA Executive Director Sultan Yahya
The tuna industry provides direct and indirect
Tomawis has specific directive against issuance of CTM
employment to at least 100,000 fisherfolk, laborers and
to minors, but they are presenting proper documents from
factory workers, located, for the most part, in
the NSO, among others.
Southwestern Mindanao. (mindanews.com Sunday, 25
“Who are we to question them when they bring proper
documents such as birth certificates from the National
Statistics Office,” said Pangcoga. their backers will threaten to kill you,” said Sansaluna
“We only issue them CTMs based on their NSO-issued and Jailani, who experienced receiving death threats in
documents,” the OMA-BMS director said. the past for denying CTMs to minors.
Musa said civil registry officials in the Autonomous Jailani said he told his DFA contacts to be the one to
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) must stop issuing stop giving passports to these minors “because we are
fraudulent late birth registrations, where the age of minors threatened with death.”
are increased to circumvent the new age limit. Some municipal registrars in the ARMM provinces of
Abubakar Sansaluna and Mino Jailani of OMA, who Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan,
once handled CTM issuance, said they tried in the past Sulu, Tawi-Tawi were reported to be issuing late birth
issue CTMs to minors. certifications for minors whose true ages are made to look
“If you do not issue CTMs to these Muslim minors, older, Musa said. (BY EDD K. USMAN)
8 June 2007
GERMAN’S . . . from page 2 FOREIGN . . . from page 2
to disembark and, at gunpoint, herded them into a nearby the voter.
area. “We have seen a lot,” Hananuntasuk said, adding
Responding members of the Moro Islamic Liberation that she was scared seeing heavily armed policemen
Front, led b a certain Commander Motih, managed to and soldiers around the town hall of Matanog, a
rescue the kidnap victims by blocking the kidnappers’ hinterland town in Shariff Kabunsuan.
escape route and scared them away by firing a round of a Hananuntasuk said they witnessed fraud and
B-40 anti-tank rockets. cheating in the elections in Shariff Kabunsuan.
Dandan said investigators are convinced that Cocal Some of Hananuntasuk’s companions were at the
masterminded the abduction of Wallrolf, who operates a Dalican Central Elementary School in Datu Odin
small firm trading high-value metals and precious stones. Sinsuat town when two improvised explosives went off
“Based on the statement of Wallrolf, Cocal was his near the school just after the polling precincts there
contact on that supposed business venture in North
opened Monday morning.
Cotabato,” Dandan said.
An observer from Bangladesh, Munira Khan, said
Dandan said they will still interrogate Cocal for
it was her first time to hear a bomb explode. “The
policemen to determine the exact whereabouts now of
explosion was so loud and I saw big smoke,” she said.
Datukan Samad, the leader of the gunmen that snatched
the victims in the spot where Cocal told them to proceed Khan said she had witnessed election-related
on the day they were snatched. incidents in other countries, but they were not as scary
Samad, according to Dandan, is a commander of the as what she experienced in Datu Odin Sinsuat.
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which signed a “I saw a woman fall. I don’t know if she was hit by
peace pact with the Philippine government on September shrapnel or had a heart attack. People carried her away
2, 1996. () from the school,” she said.
The improvised explosives, fashioned from mortar
JMAT . . . from page 3 projectiles rigged with battery-operated blasting
mechanisms, exploded near the fence of the school.
Esperon said he is confident the newly-built, semi- Lt. Col. Herminigildo Aquino, commander of the
permanent JMAT base here, which has its own water Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction
and electrical systems and communication facilities, will over Datu Odin Sinsuat, said the bombs were to be
prevent a repeat of last year’s hostilities. planted inside the school campus, but the couriers failed
“There is no conflict we cannot solve through to do so because of the heavy military presence there.
peaceful dialogues, as long as both sides agree to resolve The ANFREL team proposed several electoral
misunderstandings the diplomatic way. The ceasefire reforms such as: election offenses must be addressed
is holding, let’s help each other sustain the momentum,” swiftly; the law on campaign finance should be
Esperon said. ()
enforced; overspending must be discouraged, and the
source of funding should be clear; cut down the cost of
CEASEFIRE . . . from page 3 campaigning and enhance accountability and
representation by having senators elected by region; the
uphold the primacy of its peace venture with the MILF. anti-dynasty provision of the Constitution should be
The peace talks between the government and the implemented; the Commission on Elections must be
MILF started January 7, 1997, but gained momentum more professional; local election should be separated
only in 2003 with the participation of the Malaysian from the national exercise to make the process simpler
government as “third party mediator.” and more transparent; the law on modernization should
Gurrea has actively been overseeing the ceasefire, be implemented in coming elections.
along with his MILF counterpart, Von Al-haq, for more
than a year now. the military,” Cabangbang said.
Gurrea and Al-Haq have been credited for having Peace talks between the government and the
promptly resolved recent territorial disputes and other MILF hit a snag in September last year after both parties
security issues in area covered by the ceasefire. failed to agree on the issue of ancestral domain.
“By designating him as deputy commander, he now But a ranking MILF official said they are expecting
represents the interest of Eastern Mindanao area to resume their stalled roundtable discussion with
command. The move will ensure the openness of all government negotiators anytime in Malaysia’s capital,
lines of communication among peace negotiators and Kuala Lumpur. ()
June 2007 9
PRE-PEACE . . . from page 12 MORE . . . from page 12
even if they will be “learning by doing” in the effort. leaders and barangay officials in observing the ceasefire
“Peace or no peace (agreement), we have no choice through the community-based Joint Monitoring Action
but to develop our communities,” he said. Teams (JMATs).
He said they have ongoing pilot projects in only six The military and the MILF jointly inaugurated last
communities out of the 3,875 conflict affected barangays Wednesday a P1 million-worth building for the JMAT in
in 150 municipalities around Mindanao. Barangay Kuloy in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
The BDA has implemented the pilot projects using the The seven-room JMAT observation outfit in Barangay
Kuloy, built by the Army’s 54th Engineering Brigade, will
MTF since April 2006, Juanday told reporters Thursday
also house representatives of the military, the MILF, and the
at the signing of the administrative agreement for joint ceasefire committee as part of a cross-section involvement
Canada’s additional support. in preventing undue hostilities in the area.
Presidential Peace Process Adviser Jesus Dureza urged Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, who
reporters in a press conference Thursday to focus not only led military officials and MILF representatives in
on the ceasefire efforts of the government, but also the inaugurating the building, said he is certain the activation
development work under MTF. monitoring outfit will enhance the ceasefire in this town,
He cited updates on BDA accomplishments as proof where Moro guerillas and paramilitary forces figured in
of development. bloody encounters last year.
The ceremony was witnessed by Eastern Mindanao
He said the peace process has been ongoing with the Command chief Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana, Gen. Raymundo
BDA’s development projects and a working ceasefire Ferrer of the 6th Infantry Division, the chairman of the
between the government and the MILF. government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of
“But the public has focused only on the ceasefire Hostilities, Brig Gen. Edgardo Gurrea, and his MILF
because of its dramatics.… It’s time to look at the good counterpart, Von Al-Haq.
news,” Dureza noted. “We can now see light at the end of the tunnel. We need
He said the talks could push through after the elections to continue the cooperation between the government, the
as they did not want it to be affected by the dynamics of MILF and the countries helping in the Mindanao peace
the upcoming polls. process,” Esperon said.
Representatives of the IMT, particularly those from
Juanday said they are confident the peace process Brunei, will help oversee the operation of the newly-
would move forward as any unfortunate scenario is inaugurated ceasefire monitoring outfit in Barangay Kuloy,
detrimental to the BDA’s projects. which is built in an open field separating territories occupied
He said if the peace process will fail, the BDA will also by the MILF and patches of land where there are military
fail, adding even a prolonged ceasefire is unwanted. He and militia detachments.
said the projects are slow, as the peace process is also The June 28 to July 6 encounters here between the MILF
moving slow. and militia forces, sparked by the June 23 bombing at the
He said their goal at the BDA is to create a critical town proper which left seven people dead and nearly killed
Maguindanao Gov. Datu Andal, caused the dislocation of
mass of leaders through value formation. He said the
some 10,000 marginalized Moro villagers.
possibility of a coordinated program with the Southern The old makeshift shelter of the ceasefire monitors in
Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) is remote, Barangay Kuloy here was razed in the ensuing firefights.
noting they have different orientations. Esperon said he is confident the newly-built, semi-
“Development should go side by side with the peace permanent JMAT base here, which has its own water and
process. But prolonged peace process will not be good for electrical systems and communication facilities, will prevent
the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people,” he said. a repeat of last year’s hostilities.
Dureza said talks on possible BDA-SPDA coordination “There is no conflict we cannot solve through peaceful
could come after the tripartite evaluation of the 1996 Final dialogues, as long as both sides agree to resolve
misunderstandings the diplomatic way. The ceasefire is
Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF.
holding, let’s help each other sustain the momentum,”
Mary Judd, World Bank’s Mindanao coordinator, told Esperon said. ()
MindaNews even if the peace process fails, the efforts
under MTF Phase 1 will not be wasted. (coco pugon); Brgy. Pacalundo, Baloi, Lanao del Norte
“This is capacity-building plus learning with actual (community hall and training center), Brgy. Malisbong,
projects that help the people,” she said. Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat (warehouse and solar drier,
Juanday reported that the projects are ongoing in two units); Brgy. Sungayan, Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur
Lukatan, Tarragona, Mati, Davao Oriental (community (tire path); and Brgy. Baguindan, Tipo-tipo, Basilan
hall and training center); Brgy. Sapad, Matanog, (community hall and training center). (Written by Walter
Maguindanao I. Balane / MindaNews Thursday, 26 April 2007)
10 June 2007
MILF . . . from page 1 MORE . . . from page 1
the hostages to Liguasan Marsh, a 220,000-hectare talks; gains, gaps and challenges, on April 24 at the
marshland which is a known lair of the MILF and Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.
kidnap-for-ransom gangs led by rouge secessionist Among those present in the discussions were
rebels. Klaus Preschle, KAS representative to the Philip-
The MILF, which is negotiating a peace deal with pines, and representatives of the Armed Forces and
Manila, also has scattered forces around the area. the MILF.
After learning that the four foreigners were The roundtable discussion was started with an
dragged by the gunmen into the area, Kabalu said overview of the activity which Atty. Benny Bacani,
MILF forces began to deploy to intercept the hostage IAG executive director, discussed to participants.
Brig. Gen. Edgardo Gurrea, chairman of the
“It was fortunate that informants were able to
government’s Coordinating Committee on the Ces-
send the MILF leaders in the area text messages that
sation of Hostilities, and his counterpart in the MILF,
called on them to help rescue the kidnap victims,”
Kabalu said. Von Al-Haq, were present in the discussions.
Kabalu did not say who the kidnappers were, The event in Makati City was followed by the
describing them only as “armed men” who May 8-10 conflict management and peace building
apparently wanted to hold the foreigners for ransom. seminar attended by 42 company commanders un-
Authorities though identified the leader of the der the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
gunmen as a certain Datucan, a known cattle rustler The seminar was held at Camp Siongco, the
in the area. command base of the 6th ID in Datu Odin Sinsuat,
Marine Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of the GRP- Shariff Kabunsuan.
MILF Ad-Hoc Action Group (AHJAG), claimed “The program gained satisfactory acceptance
Datucan led three other gunmen in seizing the four among all of its participants,” said Lt. Col. Julieto
foreigners. Ando, 6th ID spokesman.
Dolorfino said Datucan initially demanded an The IAG, on June 4-6, initiated a follow up of
unspecified amount as ransom. the conflict management training at the Marco Polo
He said the MILF guerrillas pressured Datucan Hotel in Davao City for battalion and brigade com-
and his men to give up the hostages by firing rocket manders of the 6th ID.
propelled grenades (RPGs) to threaten the Armed Forces chief-of-staff Lt. Gen.
kidnappers. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., defense officials, and the
“Datucan’s group was demanding ‘board and
6th ID commander Major Gen. Raymundo Ferrer at-
lodging’ fee in exchange for the release of the
tended the workshop.
hostages, but the MILF leaders rejected the demands
Preschle flew from Manila to grace the event,
by firing RPG rounds,” Dolorfino said.
The four victims were later found abandoned by which the KAS helped organize as part of its peace-
MILF guerrillas while government troops and initiatives in Southern Mindanao. 
policemen kept their distance.
Dolorfino said the victims have requested for
military escorts from MILF’s Camp Rafanan in The four were on board a Nissan van that was
Parang, Maguindanao where they are expected to hijacked by the gunmen who then took them away
be turned over to members of the International on motorcycles.
Monitoring Team (IMT). Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan claimed witnesses
Soria said he had been informed that the four saw the four “Caucasian looking” foreigners near the
hostages were in MILF hands and that members of boundary of Pagalugan town in Maguindanao.
the joint GRP-MILF ceasefire committee were on their Sultan said the kidnappers left the vehicle of the four
way to pick them up. hostages, a two-ton metallic brown and gray van with
The 12,000-strong MILF signed a ceasefire with license plates YDN 826 registered to a certain Roselyn
the government in 2003. Timbal of Maa District in Davao City.
The government and MILF’s Coordinating The Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander Maj.
Committee on Cessation of Hostilities have been Gen. Raymundo Ferrer said the initial military and
cooperating on the interdiction of criminals and police reports on the ground quoted witnesses as saying
terrorists in areas covered by the ceasefire. the four were bound and taken away on motorbikes.()
June 2007 11
IRAN . . . from page 1 CANADA . . . from page 1
a rehabilitation specialist from Japan, which comprise the which is bankrolled by the Canadian International
International Monitoring Team (IMT) are helping monitor Development Authority.
the ceasefire in Mindanao as part of a multi-national effort “Canada has closely studied the issue and if there is a
to hasten the on-going government-MILF peace initiative. consensus from the Government of the Republic of the
Iranian Ambassador Jalal Kalantari, during a tour in Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Government of Malaysia, we would give serious
last year, said Iran focuses attention on the GRP-MILF consideration to sending a civilian observer, probably with
talks and, like the states which has representatives to the expertise in governance issues, to participate in the IMT,”
IMT, is also willing to deploy ceasefire monitors in the Rheault-Kihara pointed out.
South if asked by the GRP and MILF’s peace panels. Rheault-Kihara, however, said there has been no
Canada and Sweden have earlier announced formal invitation yet for Canada to do so.
readiness to participate in the activities of the IMT. The Embassy official’s statement followed a recent
Kabalu said the involvement of different countries in meeting between Canadian officials and Filipino
the peace talks is a big boost to the Mindanao peace development workers here on, among other concerns, the
process, which is also premised on the socio-economic and issue of Canada’s entry into the IMT.
political empowerment of the marginalized Moro sectors “It (Canada’s part in the peace process) may be seen
in known MILF strongholds. as one that would give extra focus on issues and programs
The Iranian Speaker said Iran can also help Mindanao on good governance,” said Jose Deles, a former program
through tie-ups with the Philippine government on manager of the Local Governance Support Program in
various humanitarian projects that can alleviate the plight the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (LGSPA).
of poor communities in the South. Aside from Rheault-Kihara and Deles, the meeting was
Peace talks between the government and MILF have attended by May Wong, head of the Canada International
been stalled since September last year due to Development Agency (Cida); Marion Villanueva, LGSPA
misunderstandings on the ancestral domain agenda of the field program manager, and Cindy Fair, LGSPA country
The ancestral domain issue encompasses territorial Deles said one plan was for a Canadian-supported
coverage, natural resources and the Muslim communities development organization in ARMM to institutionally
the MILF want to group into a Bangsamoro Juridical back up that country’s peace observer.
Entity. () Joseph Palanca, an LGSPA official, said his group being
Cida’s implementing arm in the ARMM was likely to
USAID . . . from page 12 provide Canada’s peace observer with “institutional
support, particularly in the field of good governance.”
The regional impact projects will have construction But both Rheault-Kihara and Deles clarified that things
cost exceeding $ 50,000 up to $ 4 million, it added. were to be final only when officially approved by the
The GEM Phase 2 program, which focused on Philippine government and with concurrence of, at least,
livelihood development, is winding up this year. Its the Malaysian government and the MILF leadership. ()
contractor is Louis Berger Group Phils. Inc.
Aside from the basic contract of up to $ 145 million, decided to support another extension.
the new five-year program is allocating between $ 12 The new GEM 3 program will have many of the attributes
million and $ 16 million for optional components. and follow many of the same practices that have contributed
The GEM program has been USAID’s “flagship” to the success of the GEM-1 and GEM-2 programs.
activity in Mindanao since 1996, the development agency Mindanao, home to about 22 million people, has been
said. beset by a Moro separatist rebellion for more than three
It is the largest and best known of all the various decades now.
USAID programs and activities in Mindanao. It is an The Philippine government signed a peace deal with the
“umbrella” program under which USAID is able to Moro National Liberation Front on Sept. 2, 1996 and is at
support a wide range of different activities intended to present talking peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
contribute to peace and development in Mindanao. (MILF).
Initially conceived as a five-year program which would The peace negotiation between the government and the
run from 1996 to 2001, USAID subsequently decided that MILF, however, has been stalled over the contentious
the GEM program was such a useful and effective effort ancestral domain issues.
that it would continue the program until 2007. A few years ago, US President George W. Bush
At this point, because the GEM program has committed $ 30 million aid for Mindanao once both sides
continued to be seen as useful and effective, USAID has forge a final peace agreement. (BY GIL M. ABARICO)
12 June 2007
USAID extends its aid
program for Mindanao
To spend $ 145 M more for dev’t projects in
next five years
DAVAO CITY— Some $ 145 million will be poured
in Mindanao as a result of a decision of the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) to
extend for another five years its Growth with Equity in
Mindanao (GEM) program to further spur the
development in the island.
This was learned from Raymond L. Edler, USAID
supervisory regional contracting officers, who also said
that USAID is looking for qualified contractors to
implement the program all over Mindanao.
Edler said his office will hold a preproposal conference
last March 23 at USAID’s office in Pasay City to give
interested contractors opportunity to ask questions.
Interested contractors have until April 27 to submit
their proposals for GEM’s Phase 3 program. DIALOGUE ---- Klaus Preschle, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s
The extended program will focus on infrastructure representative to the Philippines (middle) is flanked by Attor-
development, with each project cost on the barangay level ney Benedicto Bacani and Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen.
pegged between $ 5,000 and $ 50,000, USAID said. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., during a recent dialogue on the pros-
[USAID /p.11] pects of the Mindanao peace process in Makati City.
Pre-peace pact fund raised More Libyans monitor ceasefire
but eyes still on talks COTABATO CITY (May 4) — The Libyan government
has added three more peace monitors to the International
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 Apr) – The Monitoring Team (IMT) to maximize its enforcement of
government announced actual development work
the ceasefire between the Armed Forces and the Moro
going on in Mindanao’s conflict areas as the Canadian Islamic Liberation Front.
government added P40 million to the Mindanao Trust The MILF’s website, www. luwaran.com, identified
Fund (MTF) made available prior to the signing of a
the three new IMT members as Col. Guima Marash of the
peace agreement. Libyan Navy, and his compatriots, government political
The World Bank announced that the fund, opened officers Jamal Alhamadon and Salah Aburziza.
last year, had since been raised to $3.6 million.
Libya now has seven representatives to the IMT.
But the Bangsamoro Development Authority The IMT, which has been helping oversee the ceasefire
(BDA), the development arm of the Moro Islamic in Central Mindanao and neighboring regions where MILF
Liberation Front (MILF), said it is nothing compared forces are scattered, is composed of policemen, soldiers
to what can be done if the final peace agreement is and sailors from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, and a
signed. rehabilitation expert from Japan.
BDA is the development agency established in Efforts are now underway to allow the inclusion of
accordance with the humanitarian, rehabilitation and representatives from Canada, Sweden, and the United
development aspect of GRP-MILF peace agreement States and the European Union to the IMT.
in 2001. The IMT is functioning in coordination with the joint
Dr. Danda Juanday, BDA executive director, told ceasefire committee of the government and MILF.
MindaNews whatever they can achieve at the BDA The IMT and the joint ceasefire committee have also
would be useless without the final peace agreement been involving non-government organizations, religious
[PRE-PEACE /p.9] [MORE /p.9]