• 4,000 MILF troops join MNLF

    22
    Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters patrol inside their base at Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao in this file photo. AFP PHOTO

    Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters patrol inside their base at Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao in this file photo. AFP PHOTO

    GENERAL SANTOS CITY, South Cotabato: Some commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have joined forces with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) along with thousands of their men because they do not want to give up their high-powered firearms and ammunition.

    Ustadz Pendie Colano, the overall chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Committee, a sub-wing of the MNLF, told The Manila Times that four top MILF commanders have rejoined his group.

    Each commander has 1,000 combatants under him.

    “So this means that if four commanders are not willing to lay down their firearms, 4,000 MILF fighters will merge with us.

    That is the reason why I have said that the annex on normalization will not be fully implemented because MILF forces, especially the followers of Chairman Ibrahim Murad, are against laying down their firearms,” he said.

    Colano added that more MILF commanders will soon join the MNLF.

    He made the revelation when he met with MNLF senior leaders in General Santos City over the weekend.

    The annex on normalization outlines steps to decommission MILF firearms. It is one of three annexes that comprise the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which was signed by the heads of the government and MILF peace panels in Malacanang on March 27.

    Under the annex on normalization, an independent decommissioning body (IDB) composed of three foreign and four local experts will oversee the laying down of MILF guns.

    The IDB will also monitor the inventory of weapons, their collection, transport and storage.

    The other annexes deal with transitional modalities and arrangements, revenue generation, wealth-sharing and power-sharing.

    Another reason why the four MILF commanders joined their group is that they do not want to support Malaysia’s supposed plan to use the MILF to help them maintain control over Sabah, Colano said.

    The MNLF leader added that the commanders revealed that Malaysia wants the MILF to fight the MNLF, particularly its forces who are protecting the family of the late Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd of the Royal Sultanate of Sabah and Borneo. The sultanate is claiming Sabah, now part of Malaysia.

    “Aside from their refusal to surrender their firearms to the government, these MILF forces do not want to fight us,” Colano told The Times.

    He noted that the four commanders also threw their support behind the MNLF’s demand for full implementation of the 1996 peace agreement signed by the group with the government.

    Colano claimed that the MNLF, not the MILF, is the “franchise holder” of the peace agreement recognized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

    He did not identify these commanders because they are yet to inform the MILF chairman of their move to join the MNLF.

    “They do not want Murad to know that they are already with us.

    But if they are summoned [by the MILF leader], they said that won’t be a cause for concern because they hid their firearms in a secure place and there is no danger that these arms will end up in the hands of government troops,” Colano said.

    He added that some MILF commanders have “long planned” to return to the MNLF fold but were just waiting for a chance to do it.

    “Now they have this chance,” Colano stressed.

    The MILF is a breakaway group of the MNLF.

    War
    Colano also claimed that the transfer of thousands of MILF fighters to their group greatly boosted their numbers.

    “[President Benigno] Aquino [3rd] is very confident in ignoring the MNLF final agreement signed on September 2, 1996 because he believes that we are not capable of waging another war. That is the blunder of Aquino because half of the 30,000 forces of the MILF are with us now and the more that [our number]increases, [the more]ready we are to face war. We have enough forces to send to help the royal family of the late Sultan Kiram and fight the Malaysian government who has the interest in Sabah,” he said.

    He added that Malaysia brokered the peace process between the Philippine government and the MILF only “because of Sabah.”

    “It’s not that we don’t want peace. We look up to and give high respect to the head of state. But it’s President Aquino who provoked the situation,” Colano said.

    He explained that the President expedited the peace deal with the MILF because he wanted to become “a hero” by showing that he can succeed in negotiating peace with the MILF like what former President Fidel Ramos did when his government signed the final agreement with the MNLF.

    Colano said the 4,000 MILF fighters who rejoined them are ready to fight alongside MNLF commandos if the 1996 peace agreement is ditched by the government.

    He warned that a “greater and more serious problem” will arise if Aquino insists on the implementation of the CAB.

    But Jimmy Labawan, the vice chairman of the MNLF Central Committee, said his group wants to avoid a shooting conflict because they also want peace in Mindanao.

    Labawan called for restraint during his consultations with MNLF ground commanders.

    He said though that the signing of the CAB was “treacherous” because by doing so, the government set aside the peace pact with the MNLF.

    Labawan added that the Aquino administration copied some provisions of the peace agreement with the MNLF. What were changed, he said, were the methods by which the provisions of the CAB will be implemented.

    Draft law
    Meanwhile, Malacañang said the proposed law that will create the Bangsamoro entity is expected to be in Congress by May.

    Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino intends to submit the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law to Congress next month since the draft is still being crafted under the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

    “The timeline is really to submit it as early as possible. We are hoping that we will be able to finalize the review process in time for filing sometime in May,” Lacierda told reporters on Monday.

    He noted that the BTC will forward the draft to the Office of the President for further review.

    “Once it is okayed by the Office of the President, we will submit it to Congress. The President will certify it as urgent. Hopefully by the end of this year, we will have the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted,” Lacierda said.

    Legislators are on a Holy Week break. They will report back to work on May 5, 2014.

    When asked if he expects the law to have “smooth sailing” in Congress, Lacierda said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles has “already made the rounds with the House and the Senate” to brief lawmakers on the CAB.

    “We certainly would hope that the House and the Senate realize how important and how vital this particular peace agreement is to the development in Mindanao,” he added.

    With Catherine Valente

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    22 Comments

    1. basta mga maranao matitigas ang mga ulo kahit ano payan mga batas naya ginugulo ng maranao, dahil nakasanayan nila ang mga ugaling ganyan, e mgabasura natin sa ranao di maayos ayos e punong puno tayo ng basura at mga kanal natin puno ng basura dahil di maka agus o makadaloy maayos tubig dahil walang maintenance ang ating mga kanal. ung pera para sa bayan ay di ginamit, ginamit lang nila sa pagandahan ng bahay at sasakyan at paaral sa mga matatas ng kolihiyo.

      TANONG NAKAPASYAL KA NA BA SA BANGGULO NA NAGLALAKAD HANGGANG BARIO NAGA TO PLAZA DI BA, SUPER MALANSA ANG AMOY NG MGA KANAL NAGKAKAROON UNG MGA TAO NG SAKIT NA TB, OR HIPPA, AT NIEUMONAITIS DAHIL SA AMOY NG KANAL DI MANLANG MALINIS LINIS NG MAAYOS. WALA BANG PERA O BADGET UNG PARA SA ATING MGA KALSADA LUBAK LUBAK KASI, ANG MGA NABANGGET WALA BANG BADGET. UNG MAY TRABAHO XA PA ANG MAY FORPEACE, UNG MAHIRAP NAGKALUGMOK SA HIRAP.

    2. Colano is quite liar, this information is not true it is only a black propaganda because they are opposing the CAB. MILF Firearms and ammunition were not going to lay down to the Phil. Government. As a Pro-MILF we are not a crazy to surrender our guns and firearms to the government.

      Bangsamoro don’t believe this statements of certain people who could abide the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

      As far as decommissioning is concern b4 we implement this everything is in normalized no more fighting , no more Phil. Soldier in the territory of Bangsamoro. we are not crazy as what you are expected.

    3. Bro – you seem to be feeding off of this and I’m sure you get a kick out of too! I grew up in Mindanao before you were born to become a John. Your so called commanders & leaders are nothing but murderers aspiring to rule Mindanao. Name one with no criminal record or has been indicted an accomplice or the perpetrator either a massacre or murder. It’s a tribal feud to gain personal gratification not unification. It’s Muslim against Christian so what’s new that you’ve got to offer. Why would they give up their guns and end the chaos that they so love. It’s a job that’s worth dying to feed their family. There’s no such thing as universal right to bear arms for self-defense and self-preservation that would applicable to lawless individual or groups. You put guns in the hands of illiterate and you have dangerous thugs. It does not take a whole lot of brain to pull a trigger or pull a pin from a grenade. What are you going to offer education, apprenticeship, jobs for non-writing & reading individual. Only the educated ones will survive and the whole cycle will begin again as to who will exploit the hopeless poor. Your organization encourages them to register gun-owning to obtain a license. Are you kidding me! Are we talking license to carry a firearm when they now carry and kill with not taking responsibility. How warrant of arrest has been issued for this crime related to your rebels with loose guns? You must be dreaming my Muslim brother. This has been going on even until you and I die. There’s no solution to this medieval crisis that even the Pope can stop it until God & Allah meets or become one and speak one language Peace and not Piece.

    4. Norodin Alonto Lucman on

      Rubbish! What can 4,000 do against Sharia Law and millions of peace loving Mindanaoans, assuming it is true? Those who refuse to disarm are obviously connected to family wars, ridos but this can be tackled decisively under the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

      • Well said but do you know the population we now have in mindanao both registered and unregistered? Do you know how many digits are there in a million vs. millions? If that was true as peace loving they are then there would be no war! Your middle and last name is distinct and known among the people of mindanao. Look into your family history because I grew up and went to school with your grandfathers.

    5. Ben-abdulmajied on

      Hangga’t hndi maging maayos ayos ang pamamalakad ng ating governo, hanggat hndi maging patas ung ating mga Hukom, hanggat hndi mawala ung korapsyon, hanggat hndi maibalik ung death penalty, hndi mawawala ang gulo nayan…. ang pinaka malaking nakikinabang sa bayan at ang mga politiko lamang at ang mga mayayaman, pero ang mahihirap, hirap sila ng hirap, halos wala silang rights, tulad ng mga magnanakaw, ang laging nahuhuli ay ang mahihirap, pero iyong mga malalaking magnanakaw, hndi nahhuhuli, sila pa ang may batas,…. sa katunayan, hndi natin masyado napapairal ang batas ng pilipinas kondi ang pera….. comments lang po….

    6. Rocky Coronel on

      If this is accurate, this is a shame to both government and rebel Muslims, whatever faction they belong. It would mean these rebels cannot be trusted at all. The sad experience with Nur, is bound to be repeated. There can never be peace as long as these rebels are getting their support from sympathetic Muslim countries.

    7. The PEACE in Mindanao will depend largely on their willingness to LAY DOWN their arms. The recently concluded CAB has huge support from the people of BANGSAMORO. And who are the MNLF and the MILF faction not to abide by the people’s decision..? There will be Plebiscite and we will see what the public has to say about the CAB. If the Plebiscite is OK then there is no reason for MNLF to pursue their hopeless war. They should test the resolve of PNOY – this time, MNLF BIFF will be crushed just like what ERAP has done.

      • light bringer on

        What you say won’t happen. He’s just good at selling your country to your neighbors… such as how his family sold sabah to the malaysians, and selling government owned corporations to oligarch friends of the family

      • …Erap has done that ironically to MILF bro….have you forgotten that it was only last Sept and with “only more than a hundred trapped MNLF combatants in a highly urbanized area? It took how many days to end the siege? The Govt didn’t even knew where their enemies slipped away? Killed? captured? Well, our AFP would brag here and there if they did that!

        Don’t miscalculate them. You should rather listen to their arguments and heartily convince them to join the agreement, not belittling them. A wounded heart is a furious heart and much more violent when it wanted to fight back.

    8. After all CAB is unconstitutional… I much prefer the ARMM since it is considered a

      province and not a separate state… This could give MILF an opportunity to separate

      Mindanao to the Philippines,… Those in the government does not know what they

      are doing… By approving CAB, Sabah would become Malaysia’s and not ours…

      Sabah is ours not by historical proof, like what china is doing, we have a land title

      that it is owned by Sultan Kiram the Hero of Sulu…

    9. Eddie de Leon on

      The FAB and CAB that the Aquino adminitsration signed will not ring about peace as long as the government’s peace negotiators just deal with our Muslim fellow Filipinos separately. In this case the Aquino women who negotiated with the MILF were not even dealing with our fellow Filipinos. These are Muslims in Mindanao who don’t acknowledge being people of the Philippine Repubic–unlike the MNLF with whom President Ramos’ negotiatiors in 1996 and the dictator F Marocs’s negotiators in Tripoli and Indonesia signed peace agreements clearly stating that the autonomous region for the Muslims would be part of the Republic of the Philippines.
      NownAquino is giving the MILF a part of our Republic with all the attributes of an state. Murad Ibrahim and Mohagher Iqbal can now proclaim their state independent and self-determining because the TREASONOUS and ANTI-PHILIPPINE people in Malacanang have given them the legal international right to do so!!!!!
      Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, Aguinaldo and our other heroes just be turning in their graves.

      Eddie de Leon

    10. Bruce Catlin on

      I thought CAB was going to bring peace? Who would have guessed that the armed terrorists would continue to wage war? Manila will eventually have no choice but to concede to an independent Bangsamoro Nation state. It seems that Manila is poorly informed as to the politics in Mindinao. I wonder if Manila would have as easily given up the Island of Luzon?

    11. These rebels will never learn. They will continue to kill, steal and destroy this nation piece by piece. You agree with them; they will tear you apart when you turn your back.
      Hopefully, P-Noy and the rest of the Peace Team will have the upper hand when this agreement will go back to square one. We have conceded a big portion of Mindanao to them; yet, they will not keep their promise to accede to peace and work for the progress of Mindanao. Is war and bloodshed ingrained in their hearts forever?

    12. MNLF Right of Reply to “4,000 MILF Troops Join MNLF” (Manila Times 7 April 2014).

      MILFs returning to MILF, and even NPAs quitting and joining the MNLF — we have several similar events like these in many places in Mindanao, although mostly are unpublished.

      Consistent with the Open Doors Policy of the MNLF, we welcome the MILF Commanders who return to the MNLF. As MNLFs, you must memorize and be able to recite the One MNLF Doctrine: “There is Only One MNLF, under one ideology of Egalitarianism, under the leadership of one Nur Misuari, under one objective of Mindanao Independence, and one peaceful means to achieving political ends”.

      We would like to clarify that the “4,000” figure is unconfirmed. It is just a presumption. Hindi ko pa ma confirm yan kasi hindi naman 1:1,000 ang Commander:Men ratio. Pag merong halo na propaganda medyo nag-aalangan ako i-confirm. Remember, cases of understatement and exaggeration are poisonous information that may negatively affect the decision factors in the grounds.

      Our Firearms Policy in MNLF is quite simple. We don’t believe in decommissioning because those guns were individually acquired and owned — they were neither issued nor commissioned. We don’t believe in disarmament because the right to bear arms is a universal right that is inherent to the right to self-defense and self-preservation. We, MNLFs, encourage our gun-owning members to register and license their firearms in the Firearms and Explosive Division of the Philippine National Police (PNP-FED). The problem is, PNP-FED’s procedure is neither reasonable, nor efficient. For further detail of MNLF opinion of firearms, please read the Notes in FB/MNLFpage titled: “Gun Control Policy” (11 March 2014).

      John R. Petalcorin
      Director for Communications, MNLF

    13. Mindanao needs peace, so please LET THERE BE PEACE ONCE AND FOR ALL not only for the people of Mindanao but for the whole country and the whole world. .

      • light bringer on

        why haste? everyone needs peace. it’s either the deal is just or not that matters

    14. geyera na yan ang gusto nila nabuhay sa dahas di yan marunong magtrabaho ng maayos kaya ayaw nila sa agreement ngayon

    15. Hindi a sila nagsawa sa gulo.Kung gusto nila ng gulo huwag silang magtatago at mang hostage para malaman kung sino ang magaling kasi puro sila satsat mga traydor talaga.

    16. They should have joined the armed forces of the Philippines. This only proves that these men are hard core rebels who never wanted peace in the first place.

    17. It’s all about “MONEY & POWER” and the rest are just collateral to achieve it. Oh well, business as usual until a new administration sits down and offer more with their false promises. Let’s not forget they’re all hired killers that we’re trying to cave in with their demands. We must wait for the lone visionary with a more realistic mission if we wants peace not piece.

    18. Four MNLF commanders with one thousand members for each of them have joined the MILF forces, that numbers are just a speculation.

      The reporter may have spoken to Muslim extremists MNLF commander who are opposed in any kind of democratic government.

      Arab countries nowadays are active in closing its door from extremists, so does the OIC.