Muslim rebel leader pledges to adhere to election gun ban in S. Philippines
COTABATO, Philippines, Jan 21, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
A senior Muslim
rebel leader assured Tuesday authorities its forces in the
southern Philippines will strictly adhere to the five-month
government election gun ban.
Von Al Haq, spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (
MILF), said "We already disseminated to our men the Central
Committee's direct order that they should adhere to the Commission
on Election (Comelec) gun ban and refrain from carrying weapons
outside their camps."
Earlier, the Commission on Election said the MILF, which just
resumed its 35th round of talks with government in Malaysia, was
not among those exempted from the ban on carrying firearms outside
residences and in places of business during the election period.
The gun ban took effect on Jan. 13 and will be implemented
until June 12, the end of the election period.
Under the Comelec resolution implementing the gun ban, people
are prohibited from bearing, carrying and transporting firearms
and other deadly weapons unless with approvals by the election
However, the Comelec said members of the MILF and even of the
government peace panel could, however, be allowed to carry
firearms if such were part of their peace agreement and if given
permission by the Comelec.
"We assure the government that our men will strictly observe
gun ban implementation," Al Haq said.
The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to
establish a self-rule Muslim state in southern Philippines.
The government and the MILF signed the framework agreement last
October. It will become the basis for the final peace pact for
Mindanao, which will include the gradual transfer of law
enforcement functions from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to
the police force for the Bangsamoro government.
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