MANILA, Philippines—While describing the recent turnover of the slain SAF men’s firearms by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a good start, the Palace said it would take more than that to show the rebel group is really sincere and committed to the peace process.
Presidential spokesman Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said the return of the weapons is but a partial response.
“The president wants more concrete signs of proof that they are really sincere as our partner in the path to peace,” he said.
To do that, he said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front return all the SAF men’s weapons and other equipment, hunt down wanted terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, and turn over its fighters who were involved in the killing of the policemen.
44 members of the PNP Special Action Force commandos were k****d last January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its splinter group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighers after they conducted a mission to capture or k**l wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
Lawmakers also imposed the same three conditions on the rebel group before they can again support the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Palace’s Fourth Condition
Aside from the three conditions, the Palace also set a fourth one for the rebel group to follow: Prevent the BIFF from meddling in the government’s anti-terror campaign.
“We need them to fulfil these conditions. If not, then we will really doubt their commitment of solidarity and cooperation with the government,” Coloma said.
The BIFF broke away from the larger rebel group after the latter accepted a peace deal with the government a few years ago.
Unlike its parent group, the BIFF maintained it will keep the SAF weapons since it intends to use them against government forces.
Forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the BIFF have been embroiled in a clash since last weekend.