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MILF: No training center, just orientation

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday denied conducting training in Iligan City, as alleged by a complaint filed by the military and local residents with the ceasefire panels.

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said the military may be referring to “orientation” sessions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being given to their supporters and sympathizers.

“The orientations deal with topics like the status of the BBL, what type of government is democracy, the ministerial form of government and the relations of Muslims and Christians under the Bangsamoro government,” Jaafar said.

“There is nothing wrong about it, according to the provision of the ceasefire agreement,” he added.

When asked why the orientation was held in an area not included in the proposed BBL, Jaafar said in Filipino: “There are MILF members there. The more we should orient them because if the Bangsamoro is established and they are not included, they might react negatively.”

Jaafar also disputed reports that recruits had been asked to pay P800 in exchange for five hectares of land.

“If you study revolution, there are no promises that you would be given something. Those who enlist with the MILF do so voluntarily,” the MILF official said.

“They enter a sacred struggle and they spend for themselves,” he added.

Jaafar said they established a camp in Iligan a long time ago but could not recall exactly when.

The military has filed a protest against the MILF for its alleged recruitment activities in the city. The recruitment, training and expansion of area are prohibited by the ceasefire agreement signed by the government and the MILF.

The protest was based on the complaints of residents of Barangay Robongon and was forwarded by the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Brigade to the ceasefire panel.

The MILF’s 103rd Border Command was accused of violating the ceasefire in the recruitment of 175 Higaonons and Maranaos since May last year.

Complainants alleged the MILF’s 305th Guerrilla Unit had promised five hectares of land to each recruit once the BBL is passed. Recruits were reportedly asked to pay P800 before they can undergo training.

Explosives discovered

Meanwhile, soldiers pursuing the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao found bomb-making materials in an abandoned house in Datu Unsay town on Saturday.

Troops discovered cellular circuit boards, fuses, blasting caps and cell phone batteries. The items were hastily abandoned by BIFF rebels who escaped the military operations.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said the BIFF has turned some parts of Maguindanao into terrorist havens and bomb factories.

“We will continue to deploy troops in these former BIFF controlled areas inside the SPMS box,” Catapang said, referring to the towns of Salvo, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao.

“We will not allow (wanted Filipino terrorist) Basit Usman and his cohorts to make this area a safe haven and launching pad for their terrorist actions against innocent people,” he added.

 

ARMED FORCES BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY ROBONGON BASIT USMAN BORDER COMMAND JAAFAR MAGUINDANAO MILF
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