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Malaysian peace monitors to arrive Cotabato Sunday from Kuala Lumpur

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 25 — A 20-man Malaysian police and military officials will arrived here on Sunday to re-start its monitoring job as part of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process.

Undersecretary Rafael Sequis, chief government negotiator, said the Malaysian military contingent will fly directly from Malaysia on board a Malaysian Air Force's C-130 cargo plane.

"I am optimistic that the formal deployment of the IMT will further strengthen the security aspect of the peace process, particularly in overseeing the ceasefire implementation," Sequis said in a statement.

The International Monitoring Team (IMT) is a monitoring mechanism that will help the government's military and the MILF in the implementation of the 1997 general agreement on the cessation of hostilities in southern Philippines.

Sequis will lead government officials and military commanders in welcoming the Malaysian peace monitors upon their arrival at Awang airport.

Malaysian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Datuk Baharom Bin Hamzah is the incoming head of mission of the IMT which will have bases in Cotabato, Iligan, Gen. Santos, Zamboanga, and Davao cities.

"The IMT is also tasked to monitor the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development aspects of the peace process and the implementation of the newly signed agreement on civilian protection," Sequis said.

The Malaysian contingent is composed of 60 personnel with additional forces from Libya, Brunei and Japan.

With the arrival of the international monitors, the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the IMT will be activated, the office of presidential adviser on the peace process said in a separate statement.

The IMT became inactive in November 2008 after the government and the MILF peace process broke down after the Supreme Court nullified the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. (PNA) LOR/NYP/EOF

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