AFP ready in case peace talks collapse

THE Armed Forces (AFP) is prepared for any eventuality in the event that peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will again prove unsuccessful.

“If worse comes to worse, we are prepared, the Armed Forces is prepared for any eventuality. Remember that a big portion of our forces are in those [MILF] area and we are fine-tuning deployment,” AFP spokesman Brig. General Jose Mabanta yesterday said in a radio interview.

Mabanta said: “It is a loosely organized oganization not as what they claim that they have control… that’s what’s the problem is… and their problem is they (MILF) cannot control some of their rogue leaders and forces on the ground.”

He he quickly added: “But I’m sure they are fixing this.”

Mabanta said the peace negotiations, which are set to resume next month, are expected to run smoothly since the government believe the MILF is sincere in pursuing the peace with the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Yes, we see their sincerity and we all know that the whole government is riding high the mandate given to it. The president has a very high mandate and we feel that the MILF feels the same so we are all riding on the new mandate and credibility of this,” Mabanta said.

But, the AFP spokesman said that the military is well-prepared to deal with any eventuality in case peace talks bogs down like what happened in 2008.

The AFP spokesman added that they are not discountiing the possibility that the MILF might use the peace talks to build up its forces by recruiting new members and rearming themselves.

“Of course any organization would like to move their forces or capability not just higher,” Mabanta said.

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