FORTY members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were released the day after they were arrested Monday, February 24, in Talakag, Bukidnon.
Lieutenant Colonel Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao, said the 40 were turned over to the chief of operations, combined secretariat of the Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH), the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (GPH-AHJAG), and the MILF secretariat.
The release was based on the instruction of PRO-Northern Mindanao Director Brigadier General Rolando Anduyan.
The police assured that the 40 were released in good physical and mental condition.
Hortillosa said they were freed because of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.
He said the release will "prevent any misunderstanding in the future that may disturb the peace process."
However, the confiscated items will remain under the custody of the Talakag town police.
"Gikuha sila sa MILF secretariat and gi-turn over sila sa GPH CCH/GPH AHJAG for the disposition. Pero pwede ta mopasaka kaso anytime kung naay mando nga mag file og kaso against them kay naa man sa ato ang mga ebidensya," Hortillosa said.
"PRO-10 asks the public for understanding since the greater good of the public is our primordial concern," he added.
The 40 MILF members on board a truck were arrested for illegal possession of guns and explosives while they were on their way to the Moro National Liberation Front Camp Madaya Basak in Talakag as reinforcement.
They belong to 118 Von Bashier Unit, Camp Badar Talangan Maguindanao under Abdulbasser Sulaiman Tahir Base Commander.