Aquino vows to crush 'spoilers'
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III's directive against spoilers of the peace process is clear: subject them under the force of the law.
Fighting erupted in Maguindanao between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and government forces just hours after the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the final annex that would complete the comprehensive peace agreement on Saturday, January 25. The BIFF is a breakaway unit of the MILF.
"So the AFP, in its role to protect our people, is [conducting] these operations to prevent these lawless activities from inflicting harm on our populace and to seriously degrade their abilities to again act as spoilers," Aquino said Wednesday, January 29, on the sidelines of the 2014 Outstanding Filipino Award.
As of Wednesday, January 29, at least 37 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and one soldier were killed in clashes between government forces and the MILF's breakaway group.
The firefight has displaced at least 3,000, according to human rights groups.
MILF troops are helping government forces chase after the BIFF.
"We are hoping that after the signing of the agreement and the annexes – and with what's happening, that the MILF and the govenrment is helping each other crush those violating the law – that the partnership between each other will be strengthened and we will be able to intensify the fight against those bent on inflicting violence in Mindanao," Aquino said.
The comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the MILF – expected to be signed not later than March – aims to end 4 decades of Muslim insurgency in Mindanao that has claimed the lives of about 100,000 people.
Under the deal, a new Bangsamoro political entity will be created, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The envisioned Bangsamoro government will be ministerial in form, with elected members choosing a chief minister withinthemselves.
Led by former 105th Base Commander Ameril Umra Kato, the BIFF splintered from the MILF after serious disagreements on the conduct of the peace negotiations with the government.
The BIFF is waging a rebelliion to pursue an independent "Bangsamoro Islamic State." - with a report from Angela Casauay/Rappler.com
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
Take discussions to the next level with Rappler PLUS — your platform for deeper insights, closer collaboration, and meaningful action.
Sign up today and access exclusive content, events, and workshops curated especially for those who crave clarity and collaboration in an intelligent, action-oriented community.
As a bonus, we’re also giving a free 1-year Booky Prime membership for the next 200 subscribers.
You can also support Rappler without a PLUS membership. Help us stay free and independent by making a donation: https://www.rappler.com/crowdfunding. Every contribution counts.