MILF says to surrender a third of weapons when Bangsamoro plebiscite results out

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2019 08:38 PM

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MANILA - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is ready to surrender a third of its weapons "immediately after" results of the Bangsamoro plebiscite is announced, the group's chairman said Thursday, ahead of the scheduled referendum.

About 12,000 of some 30,000 to 40,000 weapons the MILF owns will be turned over "immediately after the ratification and announcement of the result of the plebiscite" on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim told ANC's Early Edition.

"Definitely those owned by the organization, wala nang problema doon (there's no problem there) because 1/3 of that will be immediately decommissioned," he said.

"We are still accounting the firearms because there are three categories in the weapons we have: weapons owned by the organization, weapons owned by the combatants, and weapons which are owned by sympathetic civilians," he said.

The decommissioning of the MILF's other weapons are still being negotiated, Murad said.

"'Yung mga private armies, 'yung mga ibang grupo, para sa amin, for now, approach namin sa kaniila opening dialogue with them. Nag-uusap kami," he said.

(The private armies, other groups, for us, for now, our approach is opening a dialogue with them. We are talking.)

The MILF, the country's largest Muslim armed group, is expected to lead the transition government of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region after the government determines which provinces would be included in its territory through plebiscites set on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6. 

The BOL is the enabling law of the comprehensive peace agreement between government and the MILF, reached in 2014 after decades of negotiations. 

The establishment of a Bangsamoro entity, which under the law will be given self-governance powers, is seen to resolve the secessionist rebellion in long restive Mindanao.