The Moro Islamic Liberation Front officially returns sixteen firearms its fighters got from government elite cops during the January 25 Mamasapano Special Action Force operation. “This is for the sake of peace process in Mindanao. We already tested the pathway of war. The issue that we are confronting now in relation to the firearms is not justifying position but full partnership,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines sees the return as a gesture of sincerity for peace. “The return of the 16 firearms clearly manifests the MILF’s sensitivity to public clamor to show their sincerity,” AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.
However, Senator Alan Peter Caytano said it is not “very significant, hindi natin dapat utang na loob ang pagsauli ng gamit.” He said that MILF should also “turn over the arms factory.”
Senator Ralph Recto said that all personal effects from 44 SAF troopers should also be returned such as cellphones, watches, wedding rings and wallets with the pictures of their family.
Recto also hopes for the “retrieval of more firearms because after the return of the 16 today, it leaves 47 – enough to arm two platoons – unaccounted for.”
“As MILF or BIFF fighters were the first to rush to the positions occupied by SAF, then it is very hard to believe the claim that ordinary civilians were the ones who carted off the guns and equipment of the slain commandos,” Recto added.