Teodoro, Puno, Dureza presscon on Mindanao (Aug18 ’08)

Random notes from a presscon given in Malacanang by Press Secretary Jess Dureza, with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Interior and Local Government Secretary Puno. These are incomplete notes and may be hard to understand. But I want non-reporters to have an idea of what our government officials are saying, since the stories can only use some of their quotes. The stories, however, would be shorter and have an analysis. The transcripts and notes are raw data. Words in parentheses are questions, or summaries of questions.

Teodoro: In the middle of these things we are fighting for peace process…give us assurances that do not materialize…we want to see clearer signs of good faith…otherwise admission they cannot control these base camps, put people outside the peace process, just assist us in enforcing…(the law)
(up to milf to admit renegade or not)…need for greater objectivity…easy to go overboard in these types of situations…with consequences that may be damaging to everyone…

puno: we’ll go after them. They committed crimes, guilty of arson, murder, we’re going to hold them in account for this, regardless of whether anybody knows what they’re doing or not. Comes in heels of north cotabato attack…have to view with greater seriousness. Everything he did are a breach of ceasefire agreement, act of ordinary crime…take same courses of action…to ensure that the same cannot be repeated.

(biggest incidents since ceasefire mechanism set up) teodoro: northcot was big in the past two weeks but since I assumed the position…

puno(will act of aggression endanger peace process) don’t want to endanger. Peace adviser in Malaysia now trying to find some way to come up with peaceful solution…this changes the ground situation…when peace process undergone and talks continuing, did not have attacks on civilian population going on…how can you have discussion when the forces of one side continued to wage attacks on civilian population…not for me to speculate on but from purely peace and order standpoint…I think unlike three months or four months ago, they were content to let the peace discussions go on, go through constitutional processes, but when their lives and property are being put in danger, don’t think same situation anymore.

Teodoro: value of dialogue always there but must reflect situations on the ground…dynamic situation, changes every so often, must be prepared to deal with situation as it faces us.

(some civilians have decided to arm themselves…govt action) puno: the displacement in past several hours not as large as in northcotabato. Serious but not in proportions of northcot. Convene meetings of regional peace and order council in next few days for the ones affected. We will find a way to make sure communities are assured of personal safety without allowing situation to get out of hand. There must always be a unit or a number of people from the law enforcement agencies, the pnp or afp that is supervising such groups they have to keep themselves in the folds of law to ensure they are agents of law rather than wayward elements that conduct peace and order efforts the way they see fit. Cvos like cafgu and scaa are not informal organizations…those individuals that are part of local govt units in area and performing as police auxiliaries or law enforcement deputies…

(advisable for them to arm themselves) sa nakikita namin, most areas are under control. A number of them, in plebiscites before, opted to join armm. What you have is a population that might not be thinking the same way as the other towns in the area…it is the afp that has come in and taken over the responsibility of the peace and order. Right now ang advice natin is medyo magingat pero huwag naman matakot masyado nandyan naman ang mga kawal ng afp and pnp na tutulong sa kanila. The pnp even during the takeover hindi naman umalis sa lugar, just retreated to…regional mobile group..as soon as afp came in, within a couple of hours they were able to recover the entire town. I think the law enforcement agencies can still handle the situation.

(may cloud of doubt na ba regarding the people you’re talking to) kung ako ang tatanungin mo, if we are talking about somebody respecting your home, na hindi ka nanakawan, tapos pumayag ng pumayag then kinabukasan ninakawan pala ang kotse mo, baka mali ang kinausap mo. I think the facts will speak for themselves. After we talk and talk, fixed the problem in northcot…continue to assure us there will be no hostile action…then somebody burns my municipal hall, I’m going to be severely disturbed…

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