Malaysian International Monitoring Team arriving in southern Philippines Sunday


MANILA, Feb. 25 – The 20-man Malaysian International Monitoring Team (IMT) tasked to head in overseeing the implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will arrive in southern Philippines on Sunday. The Malaysian IMT will fly directly from Malaysia aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft to Awang Airport in Cotabato City some 850 kilometers south of Manila.

Ambassador Rafael E. Seguis, chairman of the Government’s Peace Panel (GRP) negotiating with the MILF, will lead government officials in welcoming the Malaysians upon their arrival.

Maj. Gen. Datuk Baharom Bin Hamzah of the Malaysian Armed Forces is the incoming head of mission of the IMT.

Seguis has expressed optimism that the formal deployment of the IMT will further strengthen the security aspect of the peace process, particularly in overseeing the ceasefire implementation.

The IMT is also tasked to monitor the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development aspects of the peace process and the implementation of the newly signed agreement on civilian protection.

The Malaysian-led IMT is composed of sixty personnel coming from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, and Japan.

Norway, Indonesia and Qatar have been invited to join the IMT.

Seguis said that with the arrival of the international monitors, the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the IMT will be activated.

Last Feb. 17, an eight-man IMT Advance Team headed by Lt. Gen. Datuk Raja Mohammed Affendi bin Raja Mohamed, chief of staff of the Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters, arrived in Manila before proceeding to southern Philippines to pave the way for the redeployment of the IMT.

The GRP will host a welcome ceremony for the arriving Malaysian IMT at Estosan Hotel in Cotabato City.

Representatives of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya and Japan, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), MILF and members of the press are invited to the welcome ceremony.

[Photo from Mindanao Magazine, 2007.]

Asia, ConflictBen Cal