Skip to main content

Despite clashes, Govt, MILF peace panels to meet in Malaysia

MANILA - Philippine government and Muslim rebel negotiators will meet in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday for the first time since a wave of bloody clashes erupted in the troubled south, a rebel official said.

The informal talks in the Malaysian capital will address an on-off peace process and the tensions that surged over two weeks of bloody fighting in October, which left as many as 40 soldiers, police and civilians dead.

"The talks are more important now because there are many issues to discuss such as what happened (in October)," Ghadzali Jaafar, vice-chairman of the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said on Wednesday.

But he said the new talks were scheduled before the outbreak of fighting between government forces and MILF-linked gunmen last month, and dismissed the clashes as a "minor issue".

In two different areas in the Philippines' Muslim-dominated south, a pursuit of wanted outlaws turned into pitched battles with MILF-linked fighters.

The MILF later disowned some of the gunmen involved but also blamed the military for intruding into its territory.

Since then, government officials have warned the MILF that it may come under attack if it continues to shelter the "lawless elements".

"If the military fires at the MILF, the MILF will fire back. We have not done any provocation. We just want everything to pass through the (peace) process," Jaafar told AFP.

Government negotiators could not be reached for comment.

The two sides are ostensibly meant to be observing a ceasefire. Long-running negotiations stalled after the MILF snubbed Manila's "roadmap" for peace in August.

The Muslim rebels, who now want autonomy after long fighting for a separate state in the mainly Christian Philippines, initially said they would not resume talks unless the government changed its proposal.

But Jaafar said that Malaysia's government, which has been facilitating the talks, had persuaded both sides to try to air their differences. — AFP
---------------------

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.


According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.



Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…