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PIA Press Release

PGMA condemns MILF dawn attack in Lanao del Norte

Manila (19 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo strongly condemned the MILF's treacherous attack at dawn of August 18 to several towns of Lanao del Norte saying that such was not only a violation of the peace accord but a challenge to the collective desire of the people to have peace and prosperity in the whole island of Mindanao.

Because of this "sneaky and unjust attack," President Arroyo has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) "to defend every inch of Philippine territory against MILF forces, and immediately restore peace in the affected areas in Lanao de Norte."

In a press statement, the President assured that she will not tolerate and will crush any attempt to disturb peace and development in Mindanao.

The President also called for an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) in the afternoon to assess the situation in Lanao del Norte and other areas in Mindanao, and come up with concrete, firm and decisive action to defend the peace-loving people of Mindanao.

Saying that "I am with you in peace; we are all in this," President Arroyo assured the Filipino people that the government will defend them at all costs against enemies and any group that will detract the collective aspiration for a genuine and lasting peace -- not only in Mindanao but in the whole country.

The military reported a series of hostilities involving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels on Sunday.

First, the MILF ambushed a military convoy in Mulondo, Lanao del Sur; eight were killed in action including four regular troops and four CAFGUs.

Another is the twin bombings in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte where four people were reported to have been injured.

Furthermore, there was the harassment activities by MILF groups in Maasim, Saranggani where two civilians were killed and business establishments were reported to have been ransacked.

Meanwhile in Sumisip, Basilan, an encounter between the military and the MILF forces was also reported.

The incidents happened immediately prior to the Lanao del Norte attacks, the military officials said. These are clear manifestation of the hostile acts the MILF have committed, proofs of the insincerity on the part of the MILF commanders.

Suspected Moro rebels ruthlessly attacked several towns in Lanao del Norte and Sarangani provinces early Monday, burning houses and taking over local banks and businesses and killing at least 16 civilians.

Armed Forces chief of staff General Alexander Yano said the military has already filed a formal complaint before the joint cease-fire committee after the ambush in Lanao del Sur. Criminal charges will also be filed in court against the perpetrators.

More than ever, the government troops, taking on the directive of the President will double their efforts to protect the people and to ensure that the rule of law prevails. (PIA 8) [top]

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