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Army commander denies report of arm manufacturing facility in Maguindanao

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao– The Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao has denied reports about the alleged presence of firearms manufacturing facility of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th ID commander, said his unit has been conducting investigation about this even before the reports and claims about the existence of a gun-manufacturing facility of the MILF in Maguindanao emerged.

Sen. Peter Allan Cayetano, during the hearing on the infamous Mamasapano encounter, declared that the MILF has manufacturing facilities for cal. 50 barret rifle in Maguindanao. He showed some photos provided him by former military commanders in Maguindanao.

But Pangilinan insisted the report has never been validated and confirmed by the Army’s intelligence community.

Even Colonel Harold Cabunoc, chief of the AFP public affairs office, told reporters there was no existing MILF gun making facilities in Maguindanao or in Lanao del Sur.

There was one, Cabunoc said, but that was already captured by the military when Camp Abubakar, the MILF’s largest camp, fell on government hands in 2000.

He said other than the one in Camp Abubakar in 2000, no other firearms manufacturing facility were found elsewhere in the country.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon also dismissed claims the MILF has gun-making facility in Mindanao.

Biazon maintained that even the Armed Forces of the Philippines do not maintain a weapon’s facility, much less the MILF.

The decommissioning of 75 MILF firearms as initial part of the annexes on normalization of the GPH-MILF pece agreement raised some doubts from some sectors obviously opposed to the success of the Mindanao peace process.

To show sincerity in the peace process, the MILF agreed to lay down 75 high powered firearms and decommissioned 145 fighters.

After the June 16 decommissioning ceremonies, the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) is keeping the firearms in a safe facility inside Camp Abubakar in Northern Maguinanao.

Ret. Gen. Rey Ardo, an IDB member, said the firearms are safe in a storage facility only the IDB can open. pna

 

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