MILF to return seized firearms

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CALL FOR PEACE Members of Muslim groups led by the Mindanao Alliance for Peace hold a rally in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City to call on lawmakers to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

CALL FOR PEACE Members of Muslim groups led by the Mindanao Alliance for Peace hold a rally in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City to call on lawmakers to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

CALL FOR PEACE Members of Muslim groups led by the Mindanao Alliance for Peace hold a rally in front of the House of Representatives in Quezon City to call on lawmakers to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will return the firearms and personal belongings of the 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) members killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.

This assurance was given on Tuesday by Mohagher Iqbal, head of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), to the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by Sen. Grace Poe.

In a letter read by Rasid Ladiasan, head of the MILF Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), Iqbal informed senators that the group has decided to
return the firearms and “any retrievable personal effects of the fallen PNP-SAF men.”


“Perhaps, in a couple of days, the MILF will be able to finish the internal process of accounting of the materials to pave the way for their return,” the BTA head said.

Iqbal added that the MILF is fully committed to the search for truth and justice.

Members of the PNP-SAF who were killed in the clash with MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom (BIFF) fighters were reportedly stripped off their uniforms, firearms and personal belongings.

Relatives of the slain police commandos said they even received calls and text messages from alleged MILF men using the cellular phones of their lost loved ones informing them that they are already dead.

There were also reports that the seized firearms and equipment of the fallen SAF men were being sold in Mindanao.

The senators expected Iqbal to attend the hearing on Tuesday, but in his letter, the MILF official noted that he will appear at the Senate after the MILF panel that investigated the incident comes out with its findings.

Iqbal relayed a request of the MILF’s Central Committee that his appearance in the Senate be held behind closed doors.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano questioned the sincerity of the MILF, saying he was dismayed by the group’s failure to send a representative who can answer queries of lawmakers.

“I take offense of them [MILF] not being here because this is a tactical move. I cannot accept that we are conducting a hearing while they take their time and then attend later,” Cayetano added.

The senator cited the MILF’s ties with terrorist groups as proven by the presence of terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who was killed in his hideout located near an MILF territory.

He noted that with the MILF’s existing peace agreement with the government, the rebel group is obligated to arrest terrorists and criminal elements in their areas.

“So more than whether we coordinated with each other and more than if we coordinated with the MILF, the bigger question for this hearing is why [are]MILF territories becoming havens for terrorism here in Asia? This will be in the heart of the decision whether to have a BBL [Bangsamoro Basic Law],” Cayetano said.

But government peace adviser Secretary Teresita Deles appealed to the senator to wait for results of the government’s investigation of the Mamasapano incident.

Deles noted that before the incident, there had been no firefight between government forces and MILF fighters in the past three years.

“The reality is we have come to this point of a comprehensive agreement where the MILF agreed to go through a legal legislative process,” she said, referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

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6 Comments

  1. you don’t really want to believe that there had been no firefights between the government and milf for three years. c’mon! just ask families of those who were assigned there.

  2. If you believe in the sincerity of the MILF, you believe that there is a tooth fairy. The Bangsamoro’s ultimate goal is to establish a Sharia based state. If you do not understand what this means just look at what the Talibans and the ISIS are doing. This movements going backwards to the medieval times, we need to move forward. Scrap this Bangsamoro it will never work with in the framework of our Philippine constitution.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      Do the lives of “infidels” really mean anything to people with the ISIS mentality? Come on. If it is not worth learning about democracy as the leaders of muslim “revolutionary” armies seem to not know about how agreements are treated, then only sharia law matters. They think that agreements signed by representatives of the executive branch are already “it”. They need to know that power in a democracy is divided into 3 equal branches: legislative (law-making body), judiciary (giving official interpretations for the laws made by the legislative branch), and executive (to enforce the laws). Laws are periodically made to suit the needs of the present–unlike Sharia Law which has no regard for changes that happen with the march of time. Democracy is rule for the people, by the people, and of the people. Power ultimately resides with the people. Dictatorship has no place in a democracy. Will the leaders of the MILF show up at the deliberations of the BBL in the House of Representatives and the Senate (the two bodies that comprise the Legislative Branch)? So far, they have not. They sent letters which seem to reveal their ignorance of the process.