Gov't to keep eye on BIFF amid threats

Posted at 03/30/2014 4:12 PM

MANILA – The government will continue to monitor the activities of breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups that may threaten the peace progress in Mindanao.

"Patuloy pong pipigilan kung meron silang gagawing karahasan, at patuloy pong sisiyasatin ang kanilang mga isinasagawa, pati na rin 'yung kanilang paggamit ng armas," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview over government radio dzRB. "Kung sila ba ay gumagamit ng mga iligal na armas ay pananagutin din po sila sa batas."

Coloma also said the government will check if there are cases or warrants of arrest against the leaders of the BIFF and other armed groups.

"Aalamin natin kung may umiiral na kaso o kautusan sa paghuli o warrant of arrest laban sa kanila. Kung sila ay natunton o nakitang gumagawa ng labag sa batas, tiyak na pipigilan sila ng mga alagad ng batas," he said.

Coloma's response came after BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama threatened to continue their armed struggle, even after the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was already signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"We want independence... through armed struggle," Mama recently told AFP. "The MILF have their own way and we have mine too."

The CAB, an agreement which seeks to end more than 30 years of the secessionist movement in Mindanao, has five component documents. They are the framework agreement signed in 2012 and separate annexes on revenue generation and wealth sharing, normalization, power sharing and transitional arrangement.

Meanwhile, Coloma said they are still calling on the BIFF and all the other armed groups in Mindanao to give up the armed struggle and join them in the path of peace.

"Kaisa kami sa panawagan ni Chairman (Al Haj) Murad (Ebrahim) ng MILF na ipinahiwatig niya noong signing ceremony ng Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Siya po ay nanawagan sa MNLF at sa lahat ng iba pang armadong pangkat na itigil na ang karahasan at sumama na sa daloy ng kasaysayan tungo sa katahimikan at kaunlaran ng Bangsamoro," he said.