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‘Clearing, of landmines in Mindanao a herculean job’ 05/22/2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

‘Clearing, of landmines in Mindanao a herculean job’

The head of the government Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) yesterday described as a “herculean job” its and the Moro Islamic Liberation’s (MILF) task of locating and ensuring the safe disposal of landmines and unexploded ordnance scattered in various areas in Central Mindanao at the height of the fighting in the region.

Brig. Gen. Jose Vizcarra, AHJAG chairman representing the Philippine government and concurrent deputy commander of the peace process of the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces, said many of these deadly devices could be found in the vast Linguasan marshland and jungles in the region. 

Vizcarra welcomed the move to ban the use and the clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, which, he said, will strengthen the peace process between the government and the MILF. 

A group called Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) and the Foundation Suisse de Deminage (FSD), or the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, are supporting this noble project. 

The implementing guidelines for the PCBL-FSD project, signed last May 5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was pursuant to the joint statement of both panels in November 2007 relative to the clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance (unexploded ordnance). 

Vizcarra said the government and MILF teams will jointly conduct tracking and defusing of landmines and unexploded devices to ensure that people in Central Mindanao and other areas will not be hurt by them. 

He said many live mortar and cannon shells were dropped in the Linguasan marshland during the fighting but did not explode and they will try to recover and defuse them. 

Vizcarra also appealed to the MILF to report to the AHJAG any landmine and unexploded ordnance they find in their areas so that these explosives can be defused properly. 

Another task the AHJAG will have to contend with is to find unexploded bombs dropped in Mindanao during World War II. 

“These explosives must be located and defused,” Vizcarra said.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100522nat10.html


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