We support the President’s call for sobriety in not going for an all-out war against the MILF, but we urge the MILF to come out with a categorical statement in regard to their so-called ‘lost commands’ that have been sowing violence in Basilan over the past weeks. We also urge the President to suspend peace talks with the MILF temporarily. The GPH and the MILF must first strengthen the mechanisms of the peace talks, specifically the provisions on ceasefire violations.
Unless the loopholes in the provisions on ceasefire violations are addressed, we fear that violations will continue and more lives will be lost.
Ceasefire violations are a hindrance to genuine peace talks. The strengthening of mechanisms against such violations is crucial to both parties moving forward with the peace negotiations. This must include provisions on bringing to justice those perpetrators who, with their actions—regardless of their motives—have resulted in the loss of lives.