Exchange bullets for ballots, MILF told

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TO complete their transition from fighters to ordinary citizens, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should also register as voters so that they can join the electoral process in 2016, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday.

The Comelec urged MILF fighters to register beginning on May 6, 2014.

“The first steps to peace have been taken. Now is the time for our brothers [in the MILF]to move farther down that road as ever more significant partners in our democracy,” James Jimenez, the poll body’s spokesman, said.

Jimenez added that the Comelec is “greatly heartened” by the MILF’s move toward joining the political arena, “moving from bullets to ballots.”


He said the maximum potential of the group to join politics can only be achieved if they will register as voters.

Commissioner Grace Padaca said MILF members who are of legal age can register in
any of the satellite offices of the Comelec.

The registration of voters will end on Oct 31, 2015.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said the commission sees no problem if the MILF files a petition to be a registered national or regional political party.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, any organized group of persons seeking registration as a national or regional political party must file with the Comelec a verified petition attached with their constitution and by-laws, platform or program of government and other relevant information.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the government will continue to monitor activities of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups that may threaten the recently-signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said authorities will stop armed groups that will sabotage the peace process.

Coloma made the statement after BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama threatened to continue their armed struggle.

He noted that the government will not allow violence to reign.

The government, Coloma said, will also check if there are cases or warrants of arrest against the leaders of the BIFF and other armed groups.

But he noted that the government remains open to talks with the BIFF and other rebel groups.

Coloma asked them to give up the armed struggle and join the government in the path of peace.

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