Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Philippines – After the decommissioning ceremony yesterday, the President, delivered his speech at the old Maguindanao provincial capitol in Simuay town. He sees that the neutralizing of weapons by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should give a lift to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The President headed the decommissioning of MILF various weapons through simple ceremonies and the event was guided by protocols as agreed initially by the Muslim rebel group and the government.
During his speech, the President said, “This is why today is truly historic. Years ago, an armed group that had long been fighting with government laying down its arms was a pipe dream.”
According to the President, this is a sincere move from the MILF because the weapons that they turnover were of the “highest grade” that “can cause – and have truly already caused – extreme suffering.” He said that the MILF adhered to the peace process.
“Our brothers are voluntarily laying down their arms. They are fully aware of the threats to their own safety brought about by private armed groups, but they are doing this nonetheless; they are telling us: ‘Brother, this weapon that I used to defend myself, I no longer need it. I wholeheartedly entrust my safety to you. Brother, I lay these weapons down today because I believe that, like me, you are determined to transform our society and our very lives’,” Aquino said.
He also called the decommissioning of the firearms “a solid testament to the unreserved and honest participation” of the MILF in the peace process” and to its willingness to let go of violence.
Aquino said that public support for the BBL would deliver the dream of Filipino Muslims to live peacefully and normal, which is why he appealed to the public.
He also pleaded to the critics of the BBL to reassess their viewpoint regarding this matter.
The United Kingdom welcomed the development through British Charge d’Affaires Trevor Lewis.
As Lewis stated “The decommissioning of 50 high-powered and 25 crew-mounted weapons, and transition to civilian life of 145 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, is a significant and welcome step in the peace process.”
He also said that with any peace process, the process of normalization is linked to political milestones, the next of which will be the passage of legislation to make the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro a reality.
(Photo credit to Interaksyon.com)