InterAksyon – Marcos urges MILF to return #fallen44 guns, gear

By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon.com

InterAksyon_featured_imageMANILA – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., on Sunday urged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to return the firearms and other battle and personal gear of 44 fallen members of Special Action Force as a confidence-rebuilding measure.

Trust between the government peace panel and rebel groups eroded after the bloodbath in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government hearing arguments related to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), said that there is need to recover the lost trust on both sides.

“It may be a small thing but a great start — to return the things that have been taken away from the battle scene. That’s Number One,” Marcos said.

Secondly, he said, the MILF should help the government capture Usman, one of the subjects for serving the warrant of arrest that was at the heart of the mission gone bad — a legitimate law enforcement operation that turned into a lopsided combat situation.

Marcos said that the MILF would do well to manifest sincerity, to tell the truth, about its relationship with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“Third, I note, by monitoring the Joint Press Conference of the Government and MILF Peace Panels in Kuala Lumpur, that the MILF panel was quite adamant about dissociating itself from the BIFF,” Marcos said. “But circumstances seem to be painting a different scenario. For one, and not a few are saying this, here is a heavily-armed group staying within your camp or territory. Just what is the meaning of this?”

Marcos also expressed apprehension about the enforcement of the Protocol on Decommissioning of Guns and Combatants that was signed a couple of days back in Kuala Lumpur.

“If the disarmament process has, indeed, started, as our government had said at a public hearing, why the need for a decommissioning process, and why haven’t we seen the weapons that have been yielded by the MILF elements? What’s going on here?”

Marcos said it is going to be very ironic if MILF combatants, including those who took part in the massacre of the 44 SAF commandos, get commissioned as Bangsamoro Police. “The Philippine National Police is not going to go for this. What are we going to do about this?”

Marcos said that the BBL should certainly be enacted to give peace a chance in Mindanao, but not without fine tuning certain proposed measures in order to plug up loopholes and achieve clarity on unclear provisions.

“We need BBL, but we should not proceed haphazardly on this,” he added.

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