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Govt chief negotiator: "Mamasapano incident is not the first, but we want it to be the last"

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"This (Mamasapano in Maguindanao incident)? is not the first ugly turn we have endured in this difficult journey to peace in Mindanao, to peace in our country, but we want it to be the last," a government peace panel chief negotiator said Saturday.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Ferrer said this in a press statement emailed to Zamboanga Today.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Thursday, Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace negotiators agreed on details of decommissioning and they signed the protocol on decommissioning of arms and personnel of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF)

Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato' Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed and Turkish diplomat Hayder Berk were witnesses of the signing.

Coronel-Ferrer also said the clash that killed 44 Special Action Force police personnel in Mamasapano in Maguindanao last Jan. 25 should be the last ugly turn on the road to peace.

"We want the Mamasapano encounter the last ugly turn in the road to peace," Ferrer said. "This (Mamasapano incident) is not the first, but we want it to be the last," she added.

"As in any war situation, civilians were also killed and for them we equally grieve. For them, these nameless, faceless villagers we also grieve," she further said.

In this unwanted, she said: "Unexpected  mini-war that erupted in Mamasapano, we  praise our police officers  and remember them for their sacrifices and the unflinching service they have rendered to the nation. We know that more than anything they wanted to be remembered in this way – as heroes.  As heroes first and foremost."

According to her, in this regard, we are exerting all efforts to continue on with the road to peace, peace with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao. To achieve peace through peaceful means with our brothers and sisters in the MILF as we have set out to do in our negotiations and now in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

She lauded the police officers for their sacrifice and service to the nation. But she admitted there is "more to be done to quell terrorism."

For his part, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal extended his sympathies to the kin of the fallen –"those who have fallen in the Mamasapano incident."

Iqbal also commended the International Monitoring Team for helping stop the incident.

"The Bangsamoro people have suffered a lot as a result of several massacres in the past...The incident in Maguindanao is not intended," he said.

Iqbal also said the MILF suffered 18 dead and 14 wounded in the Mamasapano incident.

He added the decommissioning of MILF forces is the ultimate sacrifice.

"No amount of obstacle can stop us in pursuit of peace in Mindanao," he said.

Meanwhile, Ferrer added the MILF is ready to turn over 75 high-powered firearms to an independent decommissioning body.

She said the ceremonial turnover will be in March. Hader Glang




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