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MILF fears military buildup can be used vs Moro rebels

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 02:54 AM December 25, 2015

THE MORO Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday rued that the Philippines’ military buildup could eventually be used against insurgents if the Mindanao conflict remained unresolved.

On its official website, the MILF expressed support for the Aquino administration’s efforts to increase the defense capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to guard the country against external threats, singling out China’s expansionism in the South China Sea.

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“This country must strengthen itself. And it must fight off any aggression from without,” the MILF said. “However, the sad part of this military buildup is that if the armed mess in Mindanao is not resolved, these war materials, including the supersonic jet fighters, will be used against the Moro insurgents.”

The MILF said the military’s new materiel had been used in fighting legitimate targets like the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan and Sulu, but the operations had affected civilians.

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It is time for “filibustering” lawmakers to do “some soul-searching” and reflect on the possible repercussions of the non-passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would allow Moros to govern themselves under the supervision of the central government, the group said.

The BBL faced rough sailing in a previously supportive Congress after the MILF was blamed for the deaths of 44 police commandos deployed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, in January to take down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan.”

In its statement, the MILF warned that the non-passage of the BBL would “feed on the appetite of so-called radicals and terrorists,” which would worsen the country’s internal security problems.

“A sizeable portion of the AFP will be deployed in Mindanao or elsewhere to contain the threat within. Consequently, instead of focusing on external defense, the AFP will also be forced to fight an internal war,” the MILF said.

“If these conflicts intensify on both fronts, what will happen to this country? We do not want to paint a grim scenario. Let us just hope that nothing of this sort will ever come our way,” it added.

The Aquino administration has spent over P100 billion in the past six years to improve the country’s defense capability, one of the weakest in the world.

For decades, the military was focused on fighting communist insurgents and secessionist groups until China’s aggression amid a maritime dispute in the Spratlys Islands highlighted the need for the AFP to build a so-called “minimum credible defense capability.”

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In the 2016 national budget, however, defense and security sector still has the lowest budget allocation among all the departments with P129.1 billion, or 4.3 percent, of the total P3.002 trillion budget.

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TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebels, news, Regions
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