• MILF joins fight vs illegal drugs

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    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has signed up as the government’s partner in its intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

    The government and the MILF signed an “agreement of cooperation and coordination” to launch anti-illegal drugs operations in the rebel group’s controlled territories.

    The agreement provides that both parties will coordinate all operations in MILF areas through the existing mechanisms of the peace process such as theAd Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).

    “In the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations, all existing protocols under RA 9165 [Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act] and all relevant agreements signed between the government and the MILF shall apply,” it said.

    All information that will be shared by the MILF, including a possible list of drug suspects, will be validated by the law enforcement agencies.

    The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the anti-drugs units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Customs were given the primary responsibility of implementing the anti-drugs program.

    Under the agreement, the MILF can also conduct information drives on the ill-effects of illegal drugs.

    Such information drive, however, may be conducted only in coordination with the barangay (village), municipal, city or provincial anti-drug abuse councils.

    The agreement was signed by Government of the Philippines-AHJAG chairman Brig. Gen. Arnel de la Vega, GPH-CCCH chairman Brig. Gen. Glenn Macasero, MILF-AHJAG chairman Abdul Dataya and MILF-CCCH chairman Butch Malang on July 12.

    In November last year, the MILF central committee issued a directive to its political and military leaders to help curb the trading of shabu in communities in Mindanao.

    But this was met with objections from government security agencies fearing that it would breach the ceasefire accord between the government and the MILF.

    The MILF said it was compelled to launch the anti-shabu campaign because “the drug menace is destroying the future of the Bangsamoro people and hence should be confronted head on.”

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