• ‘Surrender of firearms not enough’

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    RETURNED  Police officers and commandos, along with members of an international monitoring team, inspect the firearms seized by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from police commandos slain in Maguindanao. AFP PHOTO

    RETURNED
    Police officers and commandos, along with members of an international monitoring team, inspect the firearms seized by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from police commandos slain in Maguindanao. AFP PHOTO

    THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has finally returned several weapons seized from the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last month but as far as Malacañang is concerned, the rebel group has to show more evidence that it can be trusted.

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the return of the weapons is proof of the MILF’s commitment to the Mindanao peace process.

    More “concrete evidence” is needed, however, to prove that the group can be trusted by the government, Coloma added.

    “The return of firearms belonging to the SAF 44 [partly]meets the call of President Aquino for the MILF to show concrete manifestation of their support to the ongoing Bangsamoro peace process,” he said.

    “Hinihintay pa ng pamahalaan ang mas kongkretong patunay [The government is waiting for more concrete proof that they can be trusted],” Coloma added.

    According to the Palace official, the MILF should help the government in arresting terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, the Filipino cohort of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who was killed in the Mamasapano clash.

    The MILF, he said, should also identify and hold accountable its members involved in the killing of the 44 police commandos.

    Failure to meet the government’s demands will cast doubt on the group’s sincerity to pursue peace, Coloma pointed out

    Returned
    The return by the MILF of at least 16 weapons it took from the slain commandos also bolstered accusations by lawmakers and human rights groups that MILF rebels had finished off other SAF commandos who had been wounded during the clash.

    A video clip uploaded on Facebook showed one gunman shooting several times a wounded SAF commando in Tukanalipao where the elite police unit killed Marwan deep inside MILF territory on January 25.

    Armed Forces chief Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. led security officials in inspecting the weapons, mostly automatic rifles, including two machineguns, inside the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao.

    The weapons were handed over to the police but SAF sources claimed the guns had been tampered with and that many of its parts were either taken out or replaced with defective mechanism.

    Mohagher Iqbal, MILF vice chairman and chief peace negotiator, said the handover of the weapons was a gesture of their sincerity to the peace process.

    The symbolic turnover of the firearms was witnessed by government negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer, members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team, officials of the joint government-MILF ceasefire committee and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles.

    The event was also witnessed by Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero of the Western Mindanao Command and officials of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division led by Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan.

    Deles thanked the MILF for its gesture of goodwill.

    “We accept this clear signal of the willingness and determination of the MILF to sustain the gains of the peace process,” she said.

    WITH JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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    8 Comments

    1. This country should only have one constitution , one arm forces , one head of state and not a divided rules. Muslim or Christian alike should only abide to one government to achieve peace. 2 separate laws mean more differences in interpretation and decision . The future peace will surely be a failure . It will just create more intense conflict and affect the peaceful coexistence .

    2. wilmer andrada on

      This is a big joke. Returning the firearms for what?They do not need those stuff, because the enemies are better equipped.They have their own weapons factory, they get their weaponry from Alqaeda or ISIS and their financing from Foreign Jihadists.Our forces are underfunded or are corrupted .We need all the help we could get, so critics for US military aid should just shut up or else deport them to Mindanao.

    3. not enough.. they need to turn in the killers, and the killers should be handed a death penalty by firing squad then we should demand that MILFs lay down their arms and surrender.

    4. The killers/murderers of the 44 SAF soldiers should be identified and prosecuted.The MILF should provide the identities of these killers.

      Congress should NOT pass this BBL. It should be scrapped! Muslims should obey the laws and Constitution of the Philippine Republic!!

      They should NOT BE PERMITTED to have their own constitution, their own army, their own territory,

    5. daniel marahomsar on

      Gesture of good will? Talaga lang ha?..Isasauli pero altered na? Parang kang nagsasauli nang ninakaw na sasakyan na pinalitan na ang mga gulong, spark plugs, ilaw, makina at pati pedal..so what was returned?… junk?

      So, what are we trying to achieve? Are we just willing to accept the mockery of MIF?
      Deles and Ferrer, makunsensiya naman kayo. Magkano ba?

    6. Gloria M. Kuizon on

      Gesture! A token act of sincerity. That’s what it this drama is. But MILF cannot be trusted to be willing to now desire to belong to the Republic of the Philippines and be called Filipinos like the rest of us. The MILF leaders can also not be trusted to be able to control all its fighters and members.

    7. The same as returning the amassed wealth of the Binays to the people is not enough. Let the Binays go to jail.

    8. There was 44 dead and 16 tampered firearms returned…a good faith gesture of goodwill? Does anyone know how to count? Puro inutil! Ang hirap napakabilis magpatawad ng mga taong hindi namatayan at kung paano at kung para kanino sila nagpakamatay. It’s a shame – with the Deles/Ferrer should be removed from office for they are full of themselves that makes us look weak in front of those rebels & murderers. You even thanked them!! Kung ninakaw at pinatay ang kapatid mo tapos isinauli ang sapatos na ninakaw – magpapasalamat ka ba? Torpe talaga! I’ve dealt with their kind when I was in the service. There’s no honor or trust on them. You don’t sleep with both eyes for greed are bestowed upon them for whatever price it takes. Walang mga pinag-aralan ang mga iyan at puno ng inggit sa Kristiyano na matiyagang magsikap sa kabuhayan. Ano ba iyan pulos inutil na ba ang tao sa gobyerno at mga mamayan lang ang nakakakita na niloloko sila eh nagpapasalamat pa!@