World

Filipino Muslim rebels hand over assault weapons as gesture to reinforce peace deal

  • Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, center, is briefed by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, left, the leader of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as he witnesses the handover of 75 assault weapons, including mortar and rocket launchers, by guerrillas in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province, in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)

    Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, center, is briefed by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, left, the leader of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as he witnesses the handover of 75 assault weapons, including mortar and rocket launchers, by guerrillas in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province, in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Officials inspect 75 assault weapons, including mortar and rocket launchers, handed over by the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)

    Officials inspect 75 assault weapons, including mortar and rocket launchers, handed over by the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • An official inspects assault weapons handed over by the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)

    An official inspects assault weapons handed over by the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front in a symbolic decommissioning ceremony Tuesday, June 16, 2015, near a southern rebel stronghold in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province in southern Philippines. The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over a batch of firearms Tuesday as a gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a battle with insurgents.

President Benigno Aquino III and Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, leader of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, witnessed the handover of 75 assault weapons near a southern rebel stronghold, along with the identification of a first group of 145 guerrillas, who agreed to return to normal life with government promises of support.

The new autonomy deal signed last year after yearslong talks brokered by Malaysia was expected to be a major legacy for Aquino, a reformist leader whose six-year term ends next year.