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Thursday, February 12, 2015

It is our duty to support the peace process, says Tabak chief

By Gideon C. Corgue

LABANGAN, Zamboanga del Sur Tabak division commander BGen. Berardo Barrientos Jr. has reminded the soldiers that it is their duty to support the peace process pursued by the national government.
Speaking during the 65th founding anniversary of 5th Infantry (Duty Bound) Battalion on Wednesday at Kuta Major Cesar Sang-an, Barangay Pulacan in this municipality, Barrientos said a peace negotiation between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had started years ago that resulted in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014.
But the peace process has recently been be stalled following the unfortunate and tragic incident in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao where 44 elite members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were slain in a clash with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Barrrientos, however, said that sustainable peace could only be achieved through reconciliation and peace negotiation with the MILF amid “immense sacrifices, difficulties and challenges experienced by the soldiers.”

Barrientos added the government has constant meetings and dialogues with different MILF organizations in the division’s area of responsibility for quite sometime and that it did not “have specific engagement with the rebel group.”

“The conduct of series of meetings and dialogues is a manifestation of our support to the national reconciliation efforts,” Barrientos announced.

He said “if the civilians dream of a peaceful resolution to armed conflict, more so are the soldiers.” Every Filipino dreams of a lasting peace, the Tabak commander explained, as he urged the civilians to actively support the government’s reconciliation efforts.

Barrientos expressed optimism that the creation of the board inquiry into the Mamasapano bloody incident would pave the way for the solution to the imperiled peace talks with Moro rebels.

Meanwhile, Barrientos observed that in the 1st Infantry division there is a a strong coordination between and among the local police force, the military and other law enforcement agencies particularly in the implementation of Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) or “Bayanihan” campaign.

 “The AFP and PNP forces have good relations here. We hope that this will be sustained through engagement and team building activities,” Barrientos proudly said.