Press Release
October 7, 2008

Raise bounty for 3 MILF commanders to 60M--Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today reiterated his call on the government to jack up the reward money to P60 million to whoever can give vital information that would lead to the immediate capture of three Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders.

Gordon issued the call as he noted that millions of government money are being spent daily to sustain the operations of the military against the three MILF commanders as well as to address the increasing casualties among the evacuees.

"If we raise the bounty to 20 million pesos for each rogue commander, people are going to report on them. They will not be able to sleep just anywhere. Everywhere they go, people will be tempted to turn them in because of the tremendous amount of suffering that is happening in Mindanao," he said.

"The government is spending money on shells that cost P750,000 every time you fire and that shell has no permanent address, it is to whom it may concern. Talagang walang direksyon, kung tamaan ka, sorry ka na lang," said Gordon.

Mindful that a single howitzer shell costs around P750,000, Gordon raised the question of how many shells were used every day to keep the pressure on the rogue commanders.

According to him, it might be more effective to raise the bounties on the MILF commanders, similar to the capture or killing of key leaders of the Abu Sayyaf after the US government put up multi-millions dollar bounties.

"We have to be smarter. You can preposition your troops in certain areas, come out with a reward system, you don't quarrel with the MILF main, you quarrel with the MILF outlaws. These are outlaws, these are terrorists plain and simple. We should apply the full force of the law against them," Gordon said.

The Arroyo administration has offered P10 million each for the capture of MILF commanders Ameril Ombra Kato and Abdullah Macapaar and P5 million for Aleem Sulaiman Pangalian.

The three commanders are wanted by authorities for alleged atrocities they committed in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Saranggani provinces after the signing of a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain with the MILF collapsed.

Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, also voiced concern over the alarming number of civilians, estimated at half a million who were displaced by the protracted conflict and were forced to makeshift evacuation centers.

"We already asked for additional budget from ICRC (International Committee of Red Cross) to provide more funding for these people. They really need to be provided with assistance. It is very stressful to live in these evacuation areas," he said.

News Latest News Feed