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Chiz: MILF should come clean on weapons-making facility

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
June 22, 2015

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero is calling on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to come clean on its reported weapons manufacturing facility that produces high-powered firearms and explosives.

Escudero said it would have been a more credible confidence-building measure had the MILF surrendered its weapons machinery instead of just a small portion of its firearms collection during the so-called “ceremonial decommissioning” of MILF weapons and combatants last week.

“The MILF should have first surrendered their machinery that makes guns, bullets and bombs. It’s useless to surrender guns when they can easily make new ones,” Escudero said.

He also said that it was only fair to ask the MILF to explain how its forces were able to amass firearms and ammunition, as well as their sources and suppliers, in order to prove that they were really sincere in pursuing peace.

“As our partners in peace supposedly, can they also tell us where and how they brought in their arms and ammunition, and who and where did they buy these from and how did they bring these in,” Escudero said.

Escudero also vowed to press for the inclusion of the decommissioning process in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the decommissioning will continue only if the BBL is passed.

“If indeed, as Iqbal says, they won’t continue with the decommissioning without the BBL passage, then I would insist on the inclusion of the decommissioning process in the BBL,” Escudero stressed.

Escudero earlier said the MILF’s precondition only underscored the need for the Senate to scrutinize the BBL and include a timetable that will detail the entire decommissioning process.

He said the details of the decommissioning process must be explicitly provided in the BBL to ensure that the MILF will no longer have the capability to perpetrate acts of violence after surrendering its forces and put all its firearms beyond use.

Last week, the MILF handed over 75 firearms and 145 combatants in a symbolic turnover witnessed by no less than President Benigno Aquino III.