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Report on the Midyear Assessment and Planning Workshop of the Local Monitoring Teams (LMTs)

A midyear Assessment and Planning Workshop was held for the LMTs last July 22-23, 2004 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). A presentation was made by the Bantay Ceasefire represented by Mr. Brady Eviota from the secretariate, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID). In the assessment, Bantay Ceasefire (BC) suggested a more proactive role for the LMTs in conflict prevention…BC suggested roles in early detection and warning, meeting and dialogue with parties in potential conflict, and as “go-betweens” (although with clear limits). BC said conflict prevention should have primacy over the LMT powers and functions to “conduct fact-finding inquiries on matters referred to it by either CCCH…”

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Bantay Ceasefire Report on Joint CCCH Monitoring Outposts

The Bantay Ceasefire (BC) was invited by the Joint Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the Philippine Government (GRP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the installation of its ceasefire monitoring outposts and “ceasefire billboards” in the conflict areas in Pikit and Maguindanao. The Joint GRP-MILF CCCH in a June meeting in Davao City agreed to put up joint monitoring outposts in Buliok and other conflict-affected communities “with participation of the Bantay Ceasefire”.

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Kudal: An Abandoned Barangay No More

A little barangay in Pagalungan, Maguindanao might be showing the way home for evacuees in the war-torn central Mindanao. Last January 25, the hopes of Kudal residents came alive when some 70 people witnessed the groundbreaking in Sitio Bridge, Kudal of a self-build housing project of the Suwara Kalilintad, the organization formed by the war evacuees last year. Suawara had led the June 24-25, 2003 Bakwit Power highway protests of evacuees from Pagalungan, Pagagawan and Pikit, Cotabato.

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Cooperative Field Investigation with the Joint GRP-MILF CCCH in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao

In January 18, 2004 the Joint GRP-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) together with the Bantay Ceasefire conducted a field investigation in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. The investigation looked into reported violations of the ceasefire agreement as a result of government’s manhunt, which started mid-December 2003, against a kidnap group holding a local businessman.

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“Bantay Ceasefire” field reports on “Camp Cararao” and the Buliok Islamic Center

This field report relates to civil society efforts to bring back the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to the negotiating table. Among the obstacles to the resumption of formal peace talks this year is the reported links of the MILF to the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), as alleged by the government. Another contentious issue is on the pull-out of government troops from Buliok, which the MILF cites as a “precondition” to the resumption of the talks.

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