Unauthorized MNLF camp in Tawi-Tawi dismantled after dialogue
This undated file photo shows Bud Bongao from a distance.

Unauthorized MNLF camp in Tawi-Tawi dismantled after dialogue

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - January 29, 2021 - 2:10pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The local government of Tawi-Tawi and the military on Thursday dismantled a camp of the Moro National Liberation Front that was illegally established in a village of Bongao town.

The dismantling of the camp prevented a potential security concern in the province, according to security officials.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said reports that the MNLF established a camp in Barangay Lakit-Lakit alarmed people nearby.

The camp, which was described to be accessible by boat, raised concerns among residents, who were worried about the continuous construction and about the presence of people who are not from the province.

Vinluan said the local government coordinated with military units in the area and held a dialogue with the MNLF. They agreed that the camp would be dismantled.

"This is a clear violation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF hence series of dialogues were conducted by the LGU Tawi-Tawi and the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi (JTF Tawi-Tawi) with the local MNLF for the dismantling of the said structure," Vinluan said.

He said the provincial government and the military, through the 2nd Marine Brigade, managed to convince the MNLF to leave the encampment.

“We disallow the establishment of camps except those by legitimate security forces like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police here in Tawi-Tawi,” Gov. Yshmael Sali said in a statement.

Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, commander of JTF Tawi-Tawi, said they will establish a temporary Marine post to secure the area and to make sure no more structures will be built in the dismantled camp.


"Diplomacy has prevailed in the name of peace, cooperation, understanding, and strong relationships and this is attributable to the good convergence among the local chief executives, other stakeholders, and the security sector," Rojas added.

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