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MANILA: The Philippine National Police (PNP) will be placed on alert as part of security measures with the expected arrival of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to witness the signing of the framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf) tomorrow.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr said police forces in Luzon and the Visayas were placed on heightened alert while other police units in Mindanao remained on full alert.
“Starting Saturday, a number of foreign dignitaries and visitors are arriving. For one, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, second are the representatives of the OIC. They will be sending delegations, so on that note we really need to ensure they are secured by placing our police force on heightened alert. So Luzon and the Visayas are in heightened alert while Mindanao has been on full alert,” he added.
Cerbo said there is no specific threat related to the signing of the framework agreement between Philippine government and the Milf.
The military also said it has not detected any threat.
“We have not monitored any plans to commit atrocities ahead of the signing of the framework agreement. However, our field units have remained vigilant to monitor and preempt any evil plans from bad elements,” Army spokesman Maj Harold Cabunoc said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col Arnulfo Burgos Jr said general headquarters would not raise its alert status.
“However, the unified commanders have discretion to raise alert levels depending on the security assessments in their respective areas of responsibility,” he said.
Cabunoc said they are coordinating closely with various government agencies, including the police, to deter any violent acts.
“We are also counting on the help of the people in reporting any plans to create chaos and confusion. This is our way of contributing towards the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said.
Foreign and civil society leaders are also expected to attend the historic signing of the framework agreement between the government and the Milf tomorrow.
Expected to attend the signing are Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Milf chairman Al Hadj Murad and the Milf contingent.
Members of the International Contact Group, the International Monitoring Team, some aid organisations and civil society organisations involved in the peace process will also be present, presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
The framework agreement laid down the groundwork for achieving the “final and enduring peace in Mindanao” by enjoining all stakeholders to support the implementation of the needed “structural reforms,” President Benigno Aquino said last Sunday.
Under the agreement, a new political entity will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and will be named “Bangsamoro.”
After the signing of the framework agreement, the President will issue an executive order creating a Transition Commission that will recommend a draft bill to Congress creating the Bangsamoro.
Congress will then deliberate on the Bangsamoro Basic law, government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen earlier said.
The commission will hold all-inclusive consultations in the affected areas to know the pulse of the people in the proposed Bangsamoro, Leonen said.
He explained ARMM would continue to exist until new law is enacted by Congress to replace it.
The Philippine Star