Settlers put end to land dispute in Maguindanao
John Unson (Philstar.com) - January 19, 2016 - 3:37am

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Parties to a bloody land dispute on Monday signed an interim truce conceding to the peaceful resolution of their squabbles for ownership of farms in Datu Abdullah Sangki town.

The initial agreement between Moro and Visayan groups was brokered by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the provincial peace and order council.

Datu Abdullah Sangki, home to mixed Muslim and Christian settlers, is located in the second district of Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu said local officials in Datu Abdullah Sangki and the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have also been helping address the problem.

The signatories to the agreement, crafted Monday at the provincial capital Buluan, also acknowledged the need for the provincial offices of the natural resources and agrarian reform departments to help resolve amicably the land disputes in Barangay Banaba in Datu Abdullah Sangki.

"There is consensus to let these agencies and the provincial government and local officials in Datu Abdullah Sangki address this peacefully, without any police and military intervention," Mangudadatu said.

Army Gen. Glen Macasero and Butch Malang, chairmen of the government and MILF’s ceasefire committees, respectively, also affixed their signatures to the peace pact.

The government and the MILF are bound by the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities to cooperate in addressing security concerns in flashpoint areas in Southern Mindanao.

Moro and Visayan peasant families in Barangay Banaba have been fighting over more than 60 hectares of lands for years now.

Armed Visayan settlers and their Moro adversaries, backed by BIFF forces, repeatedly clashed in the past two months, exacting fatalities on both sides.

Hundreds of innocent Muslim and Christian villagers have also been displaced by the hostilities.

Mangudadatu said the contested lands in Barangay Banaba, registered as lots 37, 38 and 42, are covered by a land titles in the hands of a certain Daisy Bansil.

"But there are other claimants too, each claiming ownership of the lots. This is the root cause of the conflicts there," Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu said the parties to the land dispute also agreed not to "import" armed sympathizers from outside of Barangay Banaba to help them fight each other.

The peace agreement was also signed by local officials from nearby Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat province, local police and Army officials.

ARMED VISAYAN ARMY GEN BARANGAY BANABA DAISY BANSIL DATU ABDULLAH SANGKI ESMAEL MANGUDADATU GENERAL CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES GLEN MACASERO AND BUTCH MALANG MANGUDADATU MORO AND VISAYAN MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN
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