GPH, MILF sign protocol of cooperation vs illegal drugs » Manila Bulletin News

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By Antonio Colina IV

The government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a protocol Friday that sets the “cooperation and coordination mechanisms” between government and MILF forces in addressing the drug problem in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and some parts outside this region.

During the 4th Consultative Meeting to Address Drugs, Criminality and Corruption Friday at a hotel in Davao City, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy said the signing of the protocol between the two parties was a manifestation of a yearlong series of meetings how both parties can work together in clearing the Bangsamoro communities of drugs.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

He said the GPH and MILF acknowledged the enormity of the drug problem in the country and that the areas controlled by the MILF “are not exempted.”

He said the protocol would provide procedures and integrate efforts of both parties during anti-illegal drug operations.

In a 15-page document, the MILF has recognized the ill effects of illegal drugs and the rampant trading of shabu in the Bangsamoro and declared “the use, sale and proliferation of shabu as ‘haram’ and prohibited in Islam.”

It said protocol applies to anti-illegal drug operations and other related anti-illegal drug efforts that would be conducted jointly by the government and MILF forces.

It also said the protocol aims to integrate efforts, provide procedures and clearly “define the roles of GPH and MILF in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and related activities in MILF areas through ceasefire agreement with the end goal of filing drug cases against arrested drug personalities.”

The protocol provides that the government agencies that would conduct anti-illegal drug operations in MILF areas “shall inform not less than 24 hours prior to the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations, the GPH-AHJAG (government-Ad Hoc Joint Action Group).“

The Joint AHJAG “shall then inform the GPH-MILF CCCH (Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities in order to avoid misencounter between the GPH and MILF forces.”

The protocol also provides, among others, the general guidelines, operational procedures, and implementation of search warrant.

Chief Supt. Pierre R. Bucsit, chairman-GPH AHJAG, said he believes the coordination between the police and the MILF would become “smooth sailing” with the signing of the protocol.

He noted the difficulty of the government forces in holding operations inside the Bangsamoro communities before.

“The coordination will be smooth sailing when it comes to law enforcement operations. Today is another milestone between government and MILF,” he said.

GPH-CCH chairman Brig. Gen. Earl Baliao said he saw the need for the two parties to collaborate and coordinate  “efforts for us to be able to further fast-track our cooperation against illegal drugs.”

He said the protocol would allow proper coordination with their MILF counterparts.

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