Peace Panels End Talks, Vow to Help Displaced Persons

Manila Bulletin, April 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Peace Panels End Talks, Vow to Help Displaced Persons


The peace negotiating panels of the Philippine government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed to "swiftly return" the 100,000 remaining internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are still sheltered in evacuation centers in conflict-torn Mindanao as the two parties concluded its 18th round of exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.There were 600,000 IDPs housed in evacuation centers prior to the resumption of the formal peace talks in December 2009. Out of the 600,000 IDPs, 500,000 have already been sent home but there are still 100,000 that have yet to return to their respective homes."To this end, the Parties tasked the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) to help ensure the safety and security of returning evacuees by accompanying them to their respective areas of origin, in close coordination with local government units (LGUs) concerned, the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and other concerned agencies," the two parties said in a joint statement.Both parties likewise reiterated its invitation to the Norwegian government to join the IMT with a specific coordinating role of the Civil Protection Component (CPC).Also discussed during the two-day Exploratory Talks include the implementing guidelines of a project that would clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in conflict-affected areas. The project will be jointly undertaken by the GRP and MILF CCCH, Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL), and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD)."The parties reached a consensus to enhance operational support arrangements for the CCCH and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG)," it added.The joint statement was signed by GRP peace panel chairman and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, MILF panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal and Malaysian Chief Facilitator Datuk Othman bin Abd Razak. …

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