MILF Chair gives Duterte an assault rifle

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The leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gave a “special” present to President Rodrigo Duterte on the day MILF fighters laid down their arms as part of a peace deal with the government. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — The leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gave a “special” present to President Rodrigo Duterte on the day MILF fighters laid down their arms as part of a peace deal with the government.

MILF Chairman and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Chief Minister Ahood Ebrahim said he gave Duterte a “special type of highly automatic compact weapon.”

Duterte’s close aide, Senator Christoper “Bong” Go said it was a Tavor 5.56mm assault rifle.

This transpired as hundreds of MILF members underwent decommissioning on Friday. About 920 weapons, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, were surrendered as part of the Bangsamoro 2014 Peace Agreement. The weapons will not be turned over to the government but to an independent body. In exchange, each combatant will receive a socio-economic package.

Duterte assured that he would provide assistance to the Moro rebels as they begin to lead civilian lives.

“As we proceed with the decommissioning process, let me assure the MILF combatants that the government will assist you as you reintegrate into the society, and enjoy fruitful and productive civilian lives,” the President said in his speech on the same day.

Around 12,000 MILF fighters will go through decommissioning until March next year.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report