Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman Col. Gerry Besana said MILF members are not allowed to carry firearms during the conduct of the exercise in all areas under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
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MILF not allowed to carry guns during plebiscite
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2019 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The military allayed apprehensions of some sectors that armed members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are going out to participate in tomorrow’s plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman Col. Gerry Besana said MILF members are not allowed to carry firearms during the conduct of the exercise in all areas under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“They are not allowed to bring firearms if they will go out from the identified community area,” Besana said.

He said the MILF leadership pledged to help in maintaining order “but within their community.”

He said the prohibition of carrying firearms also applies to civilians or those who are not identified as members of government law enforcement agencies, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Westmincom, whose area of operation covers Central and Western Mindanao where the ARMM’s five provinces and two cities are located, have mobilized 10,400 troops to secure and ensure the safe conduct of the plebiscite.

Besana said they have sufficient troops who have been placed on standby as augmentation force.

Besana added the Westmincom have also set up a center to monitor the political exercise in all ARMM areas.

The PNP’s Regional Office has also deployed three companies of police mobile forces battalion.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they are monitoring known threat groups who might disrupt the plebiscite on Monday.

While there are no immediate threats, Albayalde said security preparations are in place and they are not taking anything for granted.

A group called Asnsar Khalifah Philippines (AKP) is being monitored as a possible threat.

The plan was discovered following the arrest of one of its members, Abubakar Pagayao, last Tuesday.

The PNP said they received intelligence information that the AKP was planning to conduct bombings during the plebiscite “just to sow fear.” – With Romina Cabrera

BANGSAMORO ORGANIC LAW MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND
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