Philippine fighters to hand over first weapons

Moro Islamic Liberation Front will decommission 75 heavy weapons next month.

Philippine fighters to hand over first weapons
World Bulletin/News Desk
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, once the largest rebel group in the southern Philippines, will begin handing over its weapons next month, the head of the government peace commission said Wednesday.

The front, known as the MILF, will hand over 75 heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, mortars and assault rifles to an international decommissioning body, Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said.

A peace deal signed with the government in March brought an end to 17 years of negotiations and a decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao, the country’s second largest island, while granting Muslims greater political autonomy.

The international decommissioning team, led by Turkish diplomat Haydar Berk, will play a key role in accepting the weapons.

In a statement, Coronel-Ferrer said the weapons would include .50 and .30 caliber machine guns; rocket launchers; rocket-propelled grenades; mortars; and assault rifles.

She added that landmine clearing operations are being conducted in various parts of Mindanao.

Six camps used by MILF will be developed into other facilities, Coronel-Ferrer explained.

Meanwhile, a veteran ex-lawmaker from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, said Wednesday that the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is set to establish a new Muslim entity to replace the autonomous region, would “stand the storm” of legal and constitutional scrutiny.

Simeon Datumanong, who represented Maguindanao province, predicted the law would gain support across Mindanao and the rest of the country.

Datumanong said the creation of a parliamentary system in Bangsamoro was “well within its [Congress’] plenary authority.”

The former justice secretary added: “The framers of the 1987 constitution are well aware that the solutions to the secessionist problems in southern Philippines are not quick-fixed but are constantly evolving.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Aralık 2014, 17:29