International peace observers receive award

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


THE seven-man International Monitoring Team (IMT) Team Site 3 received Bronze Cross Medals from the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) for their invaluable accomplishments as peace observers in the region.

Wesmincom spokesman Colonel Rodrigo Rebollos said the awarding of medals to the IMT Team Site 3 members was held during the flag raising ceremony Monday at Camp Basilio Navarro that houses the Wesmincom headquarters in Zamboanga City.

Rebollos said the award was bestowed to the IMT Team Site 3 members for their acts of heroism, not involving in actual conflict with an enemy but involving risk of life during their tour of duty in Western Mindanao.

International peace observers awarded
ZAMBOANGA. A photo handout shows Wesmincom deputy commander Brig. Gen. Eugenio Clemen pinning Bronze Cross Medals to IMT Team Site 3 members at Camp Basilio Navarro. (Bong Garcia)

The IMT Team Site 3 members, composed of five Malaysians, three Indonesians and two Bruneians, are holding office inside the Camp Navarro since their deployment on March 3, 2012.

Their official tour of duty as international peace observers on the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will end on March 23.

The IMT’s main task is monitoring the ceasefire agreement and the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) between the government and the MILF.

Rebollos said the IMT Team Site 3 headed by Colonel Mohammad Halim Bin Khalid of the Royal Malaysian Army and his team members also monitor and ensure the establishment of the plan for the development and humanitarian support that would complement peaceful resolution of the conflict.

He said they ensure the implementation of guidelines of the ceasefire agreement and the Joint PGH-MILF Law Enforcement Operations against kidnappers and lawless elements in areas with MILF presence.

They successfully facilitated the activities for the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) in MILF communities with the collaborative efforts of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and Wesmincom, he added.

The peace observers, Rebollos said, also disregarded personal safety by actively pacifying and preventing armed confrontations between warring clans in the provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Norte.

Last July 2012, Rebollos said they actively assisted GPH-MILF panels, local government units (LGUs), and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) in bringing cooperation and establishing trust between Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade and the MILF commanders in Tumangong, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay to prevent operations of lawless elements.

With GPH-MILF and AHJAG, they spearheaded confidence-building activities and measures between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and MILF in Basilan by setting up peaceful meetings between AFP and MILF Commanders in the area last January 2013 in Magkawa, Al Barka, Basilan.

The event started bridging network, close relationship, law and order, and facilitates peaceful resolution of conflicts between leadership and members of both camps.

Together with AHJAG, LGU and 104th Infantry Brigade, Rebollos said they were active in the settlement of conflict between Ustaz Amir Mingkong of MILF and the Bakkal family, last January 21, 2013 in Baas, Sumisip, Basilan.

Together with AHJAG, the peace observers also conducted numerous advocacies and focused discussions in the headquarters of the division and brigades on the ceasefire mechanisms and agreements, Rebollos said.

They actively assisted GPH and MILF panels, LGUs, and Civil Society Organizations during the conduct of 13 advocacies on the FAB, he said.

“These efforts greatly helped the local populace in deeply understanding the agreement in localities not covered by the proposed Bangsamoro and in covered provinces without MILF,” Rebollos said, adding Wesmincom is expecting a new batch of IMT soon to replace the outgoing personnel. (Bong Garcia)

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