GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Murad” Ebrahim maintained that the police and military need to coordinate their operations with officials in the region, reminding them that this was a condition in the 2014 peace pact.
Ebrahim said this on Thursday, September 1, after Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Lieutenant General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. questioned why the police and soldiers have to inform BARMM’s local officials first before they carry out operations in the special Mindanao region.
Ebrahim, who is also the MILF chairman, said, “Coordination is the essence of a ceasefire mechanism which is a vital part of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) forged by the government and the MILF.”
Azurin has questioned the rule, saying it could jeopardize police operations against criminals.
He pointed out that the country only has one PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and there should be no need to ask the permission of local officials in the BARMM before they could operate in areas where the MILF has established itself.
Azurin cited the case of the Ampatuan policemen in Maguindanao who went to serve an arrest warrant against a man wanted for robbery on Tuesday, August 30.
The town’s police chief, Lieutenant Reynaldo Samson, and his aide, Corporal Salipudin Endab, were killed in an ambush while they were headed back to their police station.
Azurin said the Ampatuan policemen were wearing uniforms and were in a police patrol vehicle at that time, and didn’t need to ask permission from local officials to serve a court warrant because they were identifiable.
Ebrahim, however, said the matter has long been settled and agreed upon by the government and MILF.
“Proper coordination is always necessary to avoid misencounter between law enforcement units and the MILF,” Ebrahim said.
He said the peace process is a delicate and sensitive work in progress – the reason why coordination mechanisms on the operational guidelines on the aspects of law enforcement and security tasks in pursuing transitional and normalization efforts in the peace process were put in place.
Ebrahim said the BARMM government and the MILF were helping to bring the group behind the Tuesday ambush to justice.
He said MILF’s ground commanders were given instructions to closely coordinate with authorities to catch the suspects.
Authorities alleged that the ambush was the handiwork of a group led by Abdulnasser Sabtulah Guianid and Guipar Abdulkarim. The suspects have been identified as a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). – Rappler.com