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PIA Press Release
2008/11/29

IMT withdrawal won't affect ceasefire agreement - Eastmincom

ICC General Santos City (29 November) -- The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) believes that the International Monitoring Team's termination of tour of duty (TOR) would not in any way impact the implementation of the ceasefire agreement in southern Philippines.

Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman for Eastmincom said the military does not see any collapse in the truce agreement should the mandate of the International Monitoring Team or IMT come to an end.

Although he admitted that it may have possible effect but said there are other "established mechanisms of the peace process" that have been effectively employed on the ground to carry out such agreement.

Acknowledging the "established credibility" of the IMT, Cabangbang said IMT's role was vital in the realization of the ceasefire agreement in Mindanao.

"They have provided a lot of help," he told media attributing the successful implementation of the truce to IMT.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Alexander Yano also said that there are existing peace instruments to safeguard peace security in Mindanao adding that IMT's pullout will not worsen Mindanao's condition.

Yano is referring to the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) that is facilitated by military and MILF representatives, the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and the local monitoring teams (LMTs).

He said that while government supports the extension of the IMT beyond November 30, its withdrawal will be an opportune time for the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) "to reach an understanding that would finally bring lasting peace in Mindanao."

The IMT composed of representatives from Japan, Libya, Brunei and Malaysia as the largest contingent, keeps an eye on government's ceasefire agreement with the MILF.

In the past months, Mindanao peace advocates have been pushing for the continued stay of the Malaysian-led IMT.

The group credited the empowerment of local stakeholders to IMT's move in involving local communities in peacekeeping efforts that paved the way for a sustained peace environment in some communities in the region. (PIA SarGen) [top]

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