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37th IB Facilitates an Interagency Intervention to Pacify Bloody Rido between two MILF Groups in Sarangani

MAITUM, Sarangani Province – A peaceful community of Muslim and Christians in Barangay Mindupok, Maitum, Sarangani was shaken by three-days of intermittent firefight between two warring MILF groups on September 11-13, 2020. The armed clash happened at the boundary of Sitio Badul and Sitio Linawasan, both of Barangay Mindupok between a local MILF group under Pinda Kadir, Bde Cmdr of 3rd Bde, 104th BC, BIAF-MILF against the group of Esmail “Mike” Binago @Bonde, Bde Cmdr of 13th Biwang Bde, Foreign Affairs, Central Committee, MILF. 

The firefight resulted to two BIAF members killed and a number of wounded from both sides. The rido was attributed to the recent killing of the Barangay Chairman of Mindupok on September 7, 2020 whose death was linked to his opposition to the incursion of MILF elements from the neighboring municipality of Palimbang.

The 37th Infantry “Conqueror” Battalion deployed more troops in Barangay Mindupok to pacify the feuding MILF groups due to the rising number of civilian evacuees, which reached to a peak of around 70 families. 

After series of coordination with the feuding groups, the GPH-MILF Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), and the Local Chief Executives of Maitum and Palimbang, the armed clashes eventually ceased in the afternoon of September 13, 2020. The cessation of clashes paved way to a series interagency efforts to prevent the escalation of hostilities.

The interagency interventions started with the conduct of dialogue and consultation between representatives of the two warring groups conducted during the Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting held at Malalag National Highschool gymnasium in Maitum, Sarangani on September 15, 2020. 

The meeting was hosted by Mayor Bryan Reganit and attended by the Provincial Government of Sarangani represented by Honorable Elmer T. De Peralta, Provincial Vice-Governor; Mayor Jonime Kapina of Palimbang; MILF-CCCH represented by Zubair Guiaman and Ustadz Abdulwahab Hussein; OPAPP represented by Ms Janice Lozada; MILF and MNLF leaders; and other stakeholders.

The dialogue led to the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the immediate cessation of hostilities, which was signed by the BIAF Commanders of warring groups, LCEs, and AFP/PNP representatives. 

Another intervention agreed during the meeting was the organization of Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Team, and the subsequent inspection and clearing of the rido incident site from the presence of armed BIAF members on September 17, 2020. Consequently, an interagency effort is also currently being done by the LCEs of Maitum and Palimbang for the creation of fact-finding team that will assist in looking for a long-term solution to the said rido incident. (PRESS STATEMENT AND PHOTO FROM 37IB-CONQUEROR BATALLION)

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