MAGUINDANAO – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. on Tuesday called for an impartial investigation of the explosion in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan (DSA), Maguindanao, which claimed the lives of two children and wounded several others on Sunday (May 24).
Galvez said he has already directed the government’s peace mechanisms to investigate the incident which happened during the celebration of Eid’l Fitr, the occasion which marked the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan.
“We are saddened by what transpired on Sunday. We would like to assure our Moro brothers and sisters that we shall leave no stone unturned as we seek justice for the victims,” Galvez said.
He appealed to the residents who have been affected by the ongoing armed conflict, as well as the leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), “for calmness and sobriety as authorities conduct an investigation on the incident.”
According to reports prior to the incident, members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) carried out simultaneous acts of harassment against military detachments and killed soldiers manning quarantine control points.
Quarantine control points have been established in communities across the country to ensure the strict implementation of community quarantine protocols as part of the government’s measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
CCCH begins investigation
Acting on Galvez’s directive, the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) together with the International Monitoring Team (IMT), has already started its investigation on the incident.
Based on the Implementing Operational and Administrative Guidelines and Ground Rules of the Agreement of General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH), “the CCCH shall promptly conduct motu proprio or as directed by the GRP-MILF Peace Panels, conduct an inquiry on alleged violations of the cessation of hostilities pursuant to the Implementing Guidelines and Ground Rules.”
“(The CCCH shall) conduct an inquiry, prepare a report and recommend appropriate action on matters pertaining the alleged violations/infractions of the provisions of the implementing Guidelines and Ground Rules of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GRP-MILF) AGCH,” the AGCH added.
The IMT shall then release the results of the investigation after coordinating with the CCCH of both the government and the MILF through Joint Field Verification Mission.
BARRM, AFP to conduct parallel investigation
On Monday, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana met with the officials of the BARMM to address the incident.
Sobejana said the security forces, the local government leaders of the BARMM, and other stakeholders have agreed to collectively work to hasten resolution of the case through the conduct an “honest and parallel investigation.”
“We will let the Bayanihan spirit work to give justice to the victims and ensure the protection of the people from harm,” Sobejana said.
Among those who attended the meeting are Datu Saudi Ampatuan town Mayor Resty Sindatok; Minister of the Interior and Local Government-BARMM lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo; Joint Task Force Central Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon; 1st Mechanized Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Efren Baluyot; 601st IBde officer in-charge Col. Joel Mamon; and other military officers. (IA/OPAPP)