Caraga peace council wants private armies disbanded, illegal guns trade stopped

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/27 November) –  Members of the Caraga Council for Peace and Development)  are calling for the disarming of private armies of local politicians and the strict enforcement of the law against illegal arms trade, as they noted that proliferation of guns and private armies are causing “unpeace” in Mindanao.

Gumamac Diron, assistant regional director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said the real culprit behind the ”unpeace” of Mindanao is the proliferation of guns and private armies by warlords like the case of the Ampatuans in Maguindanao.

Diron’s sentiment was echoed by Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, CCPD chair. Pueblos said that with “less firearms,” there will be less chaos in the region.

Pueblos said the selling of guns must be stopped and if it is sold “it must be registered.”

“Malipay ko kung adunay law ma implement to stop arms distribution” (I will be happy if there is a law to stop distribution of firearms).

Diron said it was the “culture of guns” that led to the ghastly massacre in Ampatuan town two years ago. He said the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus were feuding over political control in Maguindanao.

Sultan Gamal Amerol, another representative of Muslims in the CCPD, cited the use of guns in  “rido,” a clan war common in Moro communities.

Engr. Alexander Macapangcat, regional chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for Caraga and member of its Central Committee,  said Muslims in Caraga want the MNLF and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end the war.

“Kaldero ang among kontra dili ang AFP o PNP” (Our enemy is not the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police but hunger), he said.

“For the information of everyone, lest speculations and various stories come out, we support one hundred percent Bishop Pueblos’ work for peace,” Macapangcat said. (Vanessa L. Almeda/MindaNews)