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BGen Roa Heads Ceasefire Committee

Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City— Following the “zero ceasefire violations” recorded since January, the Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes the appointment of BGen Gilberto Jose C Roa as the new Chairman of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) panel in the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).

A legal expert as a lawyer and experienced officer as The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) of the AFP, Roa’s appointment is seen vital in the expected transformation of the CCCH to a monitoring committee once a peace agreement is made with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) this year.

Replacing Roa as Officer-in-Charge of the Judge Advocate General’s Office of the AFP is LtCol Maria Victoria M. Girao from the Judge Advocate General Service (JAGS).

BGen Roa replaced MGen Ariel Bernardo who is now the Commander of the 10th Infantry Division. Roa has been with the CCCH since 1998 as a legal representative, member, and assistant chairman. His primary responsibility includes the protection of the interest of the AFP in deference to the GPH-MILF Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities (AGCH).
As the only military-lawyer in the GPH CCCH, BGen Roa led several Fact-Finding Inquiries (FFI) in cases that occurred in MILF-held areas including the killing of 14 soldiers in Datu Piang, Maguindanao in 2004; the encounter in Libutan, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and killing of 9 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces in Sultan Naga Dimaparo, Lanao Del Norte in 2005. He was also in-charge of the FFI for the encounter in Rangeban, Midsayap, North Cotabato in 2006; and the killing of 14 Marine Troopers in Al Barka, Basilan in 2007.

These FFI missions on alleged AFP ceasefire violations were legally rebutted and put the AFP in moral high ground as far as respect to the observance of the AGCH is concerned. Prior to his appointment as TJAG of the AFP, BGen Roa served as the Judge Advocate General of the Philippine Army.

The CCCH is a peace mechanism used by the government and the MILF to implement and monitor the AGCH. It performs quick-reaction missions to prevent the occurrence of violent incidents; deescalates actual armed conflict; and conducts FFIs on alleged ceasefire violations.

“The AFP is keen in upholding the primacy of the peace process and integrating the spirit of “Bayanihan” in all our operations. We are optimistic, hopeful, and eager on the immediate closure of conflicts through the democratic and peaceful means being employed by the government,” AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie D Dellosa said.

“We congratulate BGen Roa for his appointment as chairman of the government panel in the CCCH. This year has been remarkable as far as the peace situation with the MILF is concerned and we expect that the conditions for peace will further improve with the appointment of BGen Roa,” Gen Dellosa added.

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PAO | Armed Forces of the Philippines | June 24, 2012 | Article Link

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