From ABS-CBN (Mar 21): 15 ex-MILF, MNLF members finish college
Fifteen former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have graduated from the Basilan State College Tipo-Tipo Extension.
The former MILF and MNLF members were among the 68 pioneer graduates of BSC-Tipo-Tipo Extension, which offers degrees in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies.
One of the former rebels is 71-year-old Ustadz Madar Cabulot, who said that it is never too late to learn.
One former commander of the MNLF, Bonnie Salih, shared the same sentiment and added that he wanted to be a role model to out-of-school youth.
He said education played a big part in his reformation.
Former representative of the lone district of Basilan, Gerry Salapuddin, congratulated the pioneer graduates and extended his special applause to his former colleagues back when he was still a member of the MNLF.
Salapuddin said that as one former rebel, education must be a priority. He spearheaded the construction of a college facility in the province, which was later named the Basilan State College.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Tipo-Tipo, Ingatun Lukman Istarul, said he wants others to see the bright side in the area, and that it is not always about war, but children and adults living in harmony with the advocacy on education as a key to success and peace.
The area where they entered is under the control of the MILF 106th Base Command and allegedly on operation having learned that wanted bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman and Malaysian terrorist Amin Baco alias Jihad were hiding in the area.
"Not a single shot was fired from both sides, because the police team was detected and promptly yelled at by MILF fighters not to proceed in order to avoid an encounter.
They were surrounded and told to raise their hands, and to leave if they don't want to be shot at," Interaksyon TV5 quoting its source saying.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., has not commented yet on the report.
The military said they too had heard about the report, but still in the process of verifying it.
Similar ‘hands-up’ orders by Moro rebels also happened to SAF operatives in Taviran, datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao in early 90’s; Masula, Isabela City, Basilan; and in Matanog, Maguindanao, when some SAF officers and men were caught between Army troops and MILF rebels in 1995.