Government peace panel member and Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu issued a statement according to a MindaNews dispatch that the government of Malaysia has already given the go signal on the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Malaysia is of course the third party facilitator, who goes between the two panels. It also leads the International Monitoring Team.
But no date has been set yet for the resumption, which could be the 14th of a series of exploratory talks.
The press statement came in the aftermath of a series of skirmishes between government forces and the MILF in remote barangays of Midsayap town in North Cotabato.
The last meeting of the panels was on Dec. 1 in Kuala Lumpur in a question and answer session over the MILF’s reply to a new proposal of the government.
But talks had been stalled since September over the territory strand of the ancestral domain issue.
Davao’s business chamber, the one who bolted the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in October, has a new brain child.
They are advocating the creation of a system for a Seal of Excellence label in all products made in Davao.
In fact, according to Councilor Peter Lavinia (spelled with a Spanish “n”), the Davao City council’s committee on trade and commerce chair, they are already hearing the ordinance legislating the move.
He said it’s a tool to market Davao’s best products to the rest of the country and the world.
Another backfire from Arroyo’s Presidential Proclamation 1017?
Davao’s militant organizations have called a press conference Monday for an announcement. No its not another victim of political killing or a slay attempt as you ‘normally’ hear them announce these days. Not even to remind the public of the anniversary of an oppressive event or their reaction to a current event like the ASEAN summit.
On January 26, about 10 months after they were tagged to Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador’s rebellion case, the charges were withdrawn. Or, at least the affidavit that could have been used to file the charges was retracted.
Their accusers, Chief Inspector Rex Rodriguez and Police Officer Franco Duca of the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group of the Philippine National Police, even apologized for filing the “plausibly inaccurate” complaint.
For the militants, its a tactical victory for street parliamentarians and a big blow to the government’s accusation that they are fronting for communist rebels.
How did it happen? Read the story here.
Bukidnon 3rd District Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri is not Bukidnon’s lone candidate eyeing a seat in the Senate this May. Bukidnon 1st Ditrict Rep. Nereus Acosta, too, is running. Acosta was named today as among the Liberal Party-Drilon wing’s senatoriables. Just a note: both politicians are in their third and last term.
Bukidnon elections would be something to watch for this summer, especially that former elections commissioner Virgillio Garcillano also expressed intention to run for Congress against Acosta’s mother, Socorro.
Here are photos taken on January 28, a day after fighting between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in at least three villages in Midsayap, North Cotabato. Thousands fled as the Philippine Air Force’s OV10 planes bombed MILF positions. The Moro rebels retaliated. Evacuees refused to go home as tension eased even if firefight stopped that afternoon.
From villages hit by both ground and airstrikes Saturday, evacuees flocked to kin’s houses in neighboring barangays to seek refuge. Just like the family in the last photo (below).
The government and the MILF ceasefire committees met with the International Monitoring Team Sunday to prevent further fightings. The IMT and Sec. Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, is scheduled to enter the areas early Monday. Read this story, again, for reference. This story is an update.
Photos courtesy of MindaNews’ Skippy Lumawag.