Basilan situation being defused, says presidential peace adviser
Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez said the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) are working to "defuse tensions" between the government forces and the Moro fighters in Basilan.
"The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) is deeply concerned with the ongoing armed incident between forces of the 101st Infantry Brigade and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkayan Pukan, Basilan, which broke out on Tuesday," he said.
Galvez assures residents and local government officials of Basilan that when the hostilities broke out OPAPRU immediately reached out to both parties in order to deescalate the situation.
"The peace mechanisms, particularly the CCCH and the AHJAG are now on the ground and doing everything possible to diffuse tensions, and most importantly, prevent further the loss of lives," he said.
"The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro ushered an era of unprecedented peace and security in the Bangsamoro, as it finally silenced the guns of war and put an end to decades of armed conflict. We cannot allow this latest incident in Basilan to negate the major gains we have achieved over the years," said Galvez.
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman is calling for the immediate implementation of ceasefire between the MILF and the military forces and challenge them to explain why the conflict occur despite the presence of the peace mechanism.
"We are calling for an immediate ceasefire between the clashing forces in our province now, for the safety of the people who might caught in the cross fire and to prevent the further escalation of the situation. Our people are suffering from this," he said
"We want to challenge the government and the MILF to explain why this kind of encounter occur specially that we have mechanism of coordination between them under the AHJAG," he added.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Joint Task Force Basilan Commander, said five soldiers were wounded because of the clash between the government forces and the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) supported by other lawless groups which started around 12:25 pm Tuesday. Robina Asido/DMS