Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

AFP files protest vs MILF over Basilan attack

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has filed a protest against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) over Sunday's attack on a Marine detachment in Basilan province that left two rebels dead and 17 soldiers wounded, a military spokesman said.

Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), filed the complaint on Monday before the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), which is jointly chaired by the government and the MILF, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr. said.

In the protest, the AFP demanded that two MILF commanders, Malista Malangka and Hamsa Sapanton, be "de-listed" from the rebels' rolls, Torres told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

The military also asked that the MILF be limited to their designated areas in Basilan and sought to establish the motive for the attack, as well as who else were behind it, Torres said.

Members of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf allegedly aided the MILF in the attack on the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 8 detachment in Tongbato village, Ungkaya Pukan town.

Government reinforcements were also attacked in nearby Matarling village.

"One clear indication that we are respecting the primacy of the peace process is we asked the CCCH to intervene during the skirmishes, and this led to the de-escalation of tension," Torres said.

Asked if the de-listing of the two MILF commanders would pave the way for pursuit operations against them, Torres said: "We will see."

Three of the 17 wounded soldiers were airlifted to the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City for further treatment, while the rest remained at the Camp Navarro station hospital at the Westmincom headquarters in Zamboanga City, he said.

They were also awarded with wounded personnel medals by AFP chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, who visited them in Zamboanga City on Sunday, he said. (Joel Guinto, INQ.net)

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