GENERAL SANTOS CITY (July 9, 2019) – The presence of ceasefire mechanisms such as the International Monitoring Team (IMT) has been crucial in sustaining the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process.
This was highlighted during the official turnover of duties and jurisdiction from the IMT Site 4 to IMT Site 1 which was attended by representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Col. Joel Mamon, head of the combined secretariat of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH), Ad Hoc Joint Action group (AHJAG) and International Monitoring Team thanked members of IMT Team Site 4 for their invaluable contribution to the success of the Bangsamoro peace process.
“We thank you for your enormous contribution in preserving the gains of the peace process,” Mamon said.
The IMT was launched in 2004 after the resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF in July 2003.
IMT is primarily tasked to monitor the ceasefire agreement between the GPH and MILF, as well as the compliance of both parties to the civilian protection component of the agreement throughout conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
With the closure of Team Site 4, its members based in General Santos City composed of two Bruneians and one Malaysian will be transferred to Team Site 1 stationed in Cotabato City.
The areas of jurisdiction of Team Site 4, which covers the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Davao, will be transferred to Team Site 1.
For his part, Major General Dato Yacob bin Haj Samiran, IMT head of mission, said the presence of the IMT has provided stability to the GPH-MILF peace process, especially during the crucial stages of the peace negotiations.
“Our presence has reduced the [number] of ceasefire violations and created a stable and conducive environment for the GPH-MILF negotiations,” Samiran said.
In light of the IMT’s accomplishments, he said there is a need for all stakeholders to work hand in hand to preserve the gains of the peace process.
“We all need to be united to uphold the existing serenity that we have now,” Samiran added.
The event was also attended by members of the IMT 14; AFP Colonel Eduardo Gubat, Joint Task Force Gensan commander; Lieutenant Colonel Celestino Daniel, PNP Regional Office 12 deputy regional director for operations; and Abdulwahab Hussain, MILF CCCH member. ####