Press Release
July 3, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called on the government to leave no stone unturned in putting an end to the firefight between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels and militiamen in Maguindanao.

Pimentel said the armed clashes have not only caused losses of lives and properties but have also imperilled the peace talks.

Reports reaching Pimentels office showed there are now 2,000 families on mobile evacuation and 150 families who have evacuated to specific areas outside of the war zone. His office also received reports that more than 30 people have died as a result of the exchange of fire between the protagonists.

Aside from the physical casualties of the war and the damage of properties, the peace process between the government and MILF is put at risk, the lone senator from Mindanao said.

That is why it is important that the government should exert efforts to stop the shooting before it escalates into a full-scale war between the government and the MILF.

Pimentel also urged Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to mobilize government assistance to the families displaced by the armed clashes.

Reports said fighting broke out when lawmen tried to serve a warrant of arrest on two MILF commanders in Sharif Aguak, Maguindanao suspected of involvement in the bomb explosion that was meant to kill Governor Andal Ampatuan more than a week ago.

Army soldiers refrained from being drawn into the fight but they reportedly provided artillery support for the policemen and civilian militiamen who were out to apprehend the two MILF commanders.

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