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PIA Press Release

AFP on active defense against MILF violence

Zamboanga City (7 August) -- In the wake of recent attacks from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which victimized civilians, ground commanders were directed to take preventive actions should there be imminent attacks against civilians and military units.

The troops were also equally reminded of the primacy of the peace process. The most recent MILF attack was on 03 August 2008 in Sitio Baliling, Brgy. Gumaga, Libungan, North Cotabato where three villagers were hurt and hundreds fled their homes.

Major Gamal Hayudini, acting group commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group, said that civilians have been unnecessaryly made victims by the unprovoked attacks launched by the MILF over the past few months. They have been displaced from their homes and some of them got hurt, and at some point, their homes were reduced to ashes. In view of all these, the AFP has to act and fulfill its mandate as the protector of people.

Hayudini said that troops have been ordered to prevent and contain actuations of any violence by members of MILF. "We cannot allow more aggressions from the MILF to cause further sufferings to our affected countrymen."

"The AFP is mandated to protect the territory, the people and the state. The AFP is determined to quell and suppress any armed rebellion or conflict in order to maintain the territorial integrity of the state and protect the lives and properties of the people," Hayudini stressed.

He added that field commanders have been directed to use force and protection with caution – giving the safety of civilians and respect for human rights the utmost priority.

The military strongly condemns the MILF attacks which incurred the most serious and savage impact on innocent civilians who were displaced; lost their homes, lands, and livelihoods; while the children were suddenly stripped of a normal life and their growth stunted by trauma. (4CRG, CRSAFP/PIA-BASULTA) [top]

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