• A challenge to the MILF, as well as to Aquino and Deles

    23

    The following is an article I wrote on an interview with Moro Islamic Liberation chairman Hashim Salamat published in the reputable magazine Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) on March 28, 1996, years before Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda gained notoriety after his 9/11 New York attack.

    Salamat’s official title then, which current MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim dare not assume, was Amir Al-Mujahideen, “Commander of the Holy Warriors,” his name preceded by the title Ustadz, or teacher of Islam. Salamat died in 2003, reportedly as his health suffered because he had to be continually on the run after President Joseph Estrada ordered an all-out war against the MILF. His ideas, though, still constitute the MILF’s ideology and goals. The Bangsamoro Mujahid: His Objectives and Responsibilities, which he wrote in 1985, has been required reading for all MILF members and fighters.

    The FEER article verbatim:

    * * *

    Within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, chairman Hashim Salamat is a near-mythical but shadowy figure. Many of the organization’s other leaders haven’t ever seen him in person, but he has contacts throughout the vast world of Islamic militancy. He cultivated these ties in the 1960s, as secretary-general of the Organization of Asian Students at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, and later in Pakistan, where he appears to have studied in the late 1970s.

    Essentially a religious leader – he preaches Islam through radio broadcasts in Mindanao – Salamat seems to have an acute military sense.

    AS a founder of the Moro National Liberation Front in 1970, he conceived and organized the training of what became the officers’ corps of both the MNLF and the MILF. [This was the so-called “Batch 90” of MNLF fighters whom Salamat arranged to be trained, reportedly by retired British Special Air Service officers in Malaysia, which former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir himself recently confirmed. – RDT] In the 1980s, he ordered the deployment of MILF guerillas alongside Afghanistan’s mujahideen, then fighting the Soviet-backed Kabul government. [Among the financiers and fighters of these mujahideen was Osama bin Laden – RDT]

    MILF founder Salamat: Have they renounced his goal for an independent Islamic state?

    MILF founder Salamat: Have they renounced his goal for an independent Islamic state?

    Salamat’s strongest and philosophical influence are said to be Syed Qutb of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syed Abul Ala Maududi of Pakistan’s Jamaat I Islami Party. These writers, both now dead, have a substantial following among Islamic militants worldwide. [Qutb’s teachings inspired Al Qaeda while Maududi’s, the idea of establishing Islamic states as a religious obligation – RDT]

    Some of Salamat’s responses to the interview:

    On the MILF’s goals: Only the full independence of the Bangsamoro people with an Islamic state will solve the problems of Mindanao. The Bangsamoro homeland was unjustly annexed by the Manila government. And it succeeded in gradually annihilating the Bangsamoro Muslims. In the 1960s, they numbered 3.5 million out of a Philippine population of 23 million, according to statistics of the Manila government itself. By 1993, Muslims totaled only 2.8 million, while the total population has grown to 66 million. This tactical genocide must be stopped.

    On the MILF’s demand for autonomy: Autonomy will not work. When the Manila government was not happy with Zacarias Candao, the first governor of the so-called Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, they did everything to defeat him in the succeeding elections and replace him with a real puppet. The same thing will happen to any autonomy in Mindanao. It will only be manipulated and controlled by the Manila government.

    On the MILF’s strategy: Like all unjust, oppressive and corrupt governments, the Manila government will collapse. When this happens, the Bangsamoro Islamic government will automatically arise.

    We will exert all possible peaceful means to achieve our goal. However, in the meantime, we continue to build up the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces and strengthen the apparatus and machinery of the Front. [In an interview with this author around the same time, Murad Ibrahim, now the MILF chairman and then its vice-chairman for military affairs, explained that the MILF already had the structure and core battalion for six divisions, which are about the same as the Armed Forces’ troop strength.]

    On the main difference between the MNLF and the MILF: The MILF believes that since the Bangsamoro people are mostly Muslims, they must not deviate from the correct Islamic line in both peace and war. The MNLF might be willing to compromise Islam as a complete way of life. But the MILF is not willing to do so. Islam is the ultimate solution to all human problems.

    On non-Muslim’s place in an MILF state: Under an Islamic state, all the different tribes and religious groups can live side by side and enjoy full freedom without being prejudiced.  End of FEER article.

    My colleague, Tony Lopez of Asiaweek magazine, also interviewed Salamat in March 2000, in which the MILF leader discussed in more detail his ideas:

    “To make it very simple, our demand is independence. It means having a separate territory, a separate government, a separate armed forces, the power to tax, the power to exploit our natural resources, the power to conduct foreign affairs, the power to negotiate with other countries, including Manila.

    “It is our right to demand independence. The only way to solve the problem permanently is to give the Bangsa Moro people independence. Make them free. We want the East Timor formula. The East Timor formula is asking the East Timorese whether they wanted independence or autonomy. So they voted for independence. If East Timor became independent, why not our people?

    “Independence can be the subject of negotiations. If the Philippine government can show us something that can address the problem of our people, then we do not close our doors. We will consider the possibility of signing a temporary agreement ­­ before independence.”

    It seems that Salamat, many years later, would get the “temporary agreement” he was dreaming of, and it is called the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that requires the enactment of a Bangsamoro Basic Law.

    The challenge

    My challenge to the MILF’s chairman, Murad, and its chief negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal:

    Can you categorically state that the MILF is no longer following its founder and former religious leader Salamat’s goal of establishing an independent Bangsamoro Islamic state?

    My challenge to President Aquino and his chief adviser on the MILF:

    Can you ask the MILF chairman Murad and Iqbal whether they are still following its founder’s ideas, and inform the public of their reply? Would you check our immigration bureau to see if the top MILF officials use Philippine passports that say they are Filipinos?

    If the Muslim insurgents’ ultimate goal is to establish an independent Islamic state, shouldn’t the Bangsamoro Basic Law contain safeguards that will automatically block the MILF and the Bangsamoro government from even attempting to set up such a state?

    tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
    FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    23 Comments

    1. Very Funny for the MILF/MNLF, etc to blame Manila for their plight.
      The Moro leaders have time and again shown themselves to be more inept and more corrupt than our ‘Manila’ leaders.

    2. As usual. Malaysia has a hand is this independence kuno. Instead of getting back Sabah, Malaysia has used its money to turn it around. Cut-off diplomatic ties with Malaysia and get ready for war to get back Sabah. All Filipino muslims including the MNLF and the MILF should support the GPH and fight malaysia.

    3. As usual. Malaysia has a hand is this independence. instead of getting back Sabah, Malaysia has used its money to turn it around. Cut-off diplomatic ties with Malaysia and get ready for war to get back Sabah. The MNLF and the MILF should support and fight malaysia.

    4. THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PNOY, MALAYSIA AND THE OIL RICH MINDANAO
      BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW (BBL) is not a framework for “PEACE” being heralded by this administration but rather it is PNoy’s discreet Co-Ownership agreement or joint business ventures between PNoy, Malaysia and the traitorous MILF disguising under the most misuse word of “Peace Process.” This is PNoy’s ultimate place of refuge when he steps down in power come 2016.

    5. We are all moros before becoming known as Pilipinos. We have Rajah Sulaiman of Luzon, the Humabon of Visayas, and the Sultanate of Sulu in the south and as far as Sabah as Philippine territory. We are now one sovereign country and must stand as one, free from any foreign intervention.

    6. Lumad Bagani on

      The MILF is not representative of the Muslim tribes as a whole, just as the Muslims are not representatives of Mindanao’s majority. The BBL aims to appease the MILF yet excludes the majority of the people in the area it seeks to govern.

      The disproportionate allocation for the BBL is nothing more than a ransom for peace to be paid out to a minority. Peace can never be achieved without justice and the onerous provisions in the BBL will, in all probability, cause a greater conflict to arise.

      Deles reflects the very image of imperial Manila in Mindanao. An English Literature professor by profession, she fails to understand the dynamics of the tribal conflicts that are at the core of the separation of the MILF from MNLF. It has always been about power for the Maguindanao faction, not the best interests of the Filipino Muslims. It has always been a front of the Malaysian government’s interests in Mindanao and Sabah, not about religion.

      This government risks civil war by not understanding the crux of the matter. We all want peace in Mindanao but the BBL is not the path to peace. It is the road to war.

    7. The MILF and Malacanan are telling us that it’s only either BBL or War. Fact is…

      We don’t need :
      1 ) BBL. Political concessions that could create a substate that is precursor for an India-Pakistan situation.
      2) War. Means misunderstanding the real problem in Mindanao. Even with the secessionists gone, we of Mindanao would not be able to go freely to other areas of Mindanao simply because of lawlessness. People would still be poor because of feudal society dominated by powerful clans.

      We NEED:
      Rule of Law. Mindanao’s problem is LAWLESSNESS marked by widespread presence of armed groups and individuals (utilized by religion-based ideologues) and powerful CLANS contesting for government funds and armaments.

      Government needs to shape up and do it’s job competently.

    8. Carl Cid Inting on

      The BBL is the “stealth” way to independence. Under the cover of a sub-state, the Bangsamoro will gradually distance itself from the “unjust, oppressive and corrupt government” in Manila, until such time that it is strong enough to break completely free. Later on, they will annex other parts of Mindanao until they can proclaim a totally independent Islamic Mindanao.

      That is why the MILF and the BIFF are actually one and the same. They are brothers and share the same ultimate goal, as espoused by their chief ideologue Salamat Hashim: Total independence from the Philippines and establishing an Islamic state in Mindanao. MILF and BIFF only vary in their pronounced method to seek independence. MILF has resigned itself to seek independence gradually, via a duplicitous arrangement with the present government granting the MILF immense unregulated powers that will eventually allow the MILF to build up its capacity for belligerence and intimidation. The BIFF’s overt position is outright independence. But both MILF and BIFF aspire for the very same objective.

    9. vagoneto rieles on

      Mr. Tiglao is entitled to his opinion, as are some ninety-five million other Filipino stakeholders. From the perspective of an overwhelming majority of Ilocanos, Pampanggos, Tagalogs, Bicolanos and Visayans, the area from Itbayat in the Batan Archipelago in the north, to Sitangkay and Simunul in the Tawt Tawi Archipelago in the south, is one sovereign and indivisible homeland called ‘The Philippines’. Some Filipinos seem predisposed to piss away an area, the size of Belgium, to a population-component who have, heretofore, persisted as Maranao, Maguindanao, or Tausog; and who, now insist in being Bangsamoro rather than Filipino. They, further, allude to the government’s neglect of, and therefore, the cause of the underdevelopment of predominantly Muslim areas..without looking into why or how this has come to be so.
      The Philippine Muslim, (Filipino, if they consider assimilation both ways), have never been discriminated against, nor marginalized. They have always had political representation and budgetary allocations no different from the others. Names like Alonto, Rasul, Pendatun, Matalam and Tamano, (and more), are now part of Philippine history. It would seems that the underdevelopment referred to is traceable to something else.
      Having been recognized as a distinct people; and, having been assigned an autonomous area, the Philippine Muslim should now strive to develop this area. They should also endeavor to assimilate some, if not most, of Filipino culture, and to be prepared to accept some assimilation and governance themselves. If we were all Filipinos, there would be no reason for the BBL.

      • Very well said… The problem of Mindanao which is always pointed to Manila as its perpetrator is but a shallow propaganda. The Muslims have they numerous representatives in Manila, some you have named, but did nothing much, rather these representatives even became richer and more powerful, while their constituents became poorer. Now same representatives would claim that the only solution is the a Bangasamoro substate.

        In fact Batanes was more neglected that Mindanao for a long time, even commercial transportation is so rare in Batanes that they could have established their own independent state or could have joined Taiwan without Manila noticing it. The great difference though is that there are no terrorists, and warlords in Batanes. many investors do want to invest in the province, but the people preferred to preserve nature and culture. In Mindanao, do not expect investors when foreigners are being kidnapped for ransom and every now and then armed groups will storm your factories.

        The problem of Mindanao is not purely from external factor but a creeping illness which the protracted leaders of our Muslim brothers are inflicting.

      • Lumad Bagani on

        Mindanao is part of the Philippines. Any attempt to make it a separate state is an act of Treason.

        I am a Lumad. I am a Bagani. We are part of Mindanao and we are Filipinos.

        BBL is not the path to peace. It is the road to war.

      • The sole and real problem of Mindanao is Malaysia and all of its muslim chieftains. It is not true when muslims or the moro’s will claim that it is government neglect why their people are so impoverished. The fact and the truth is,it is their chieftains that are to be blamed because they allowed themselves to be used by Malaysia and Britain than to assimilate their people to be legitimate Filipinos. Their provinces are not the only ones which are underdeveloped? Did they ever tried to look at the provices of Mindoro,Samar,Negro, Bicol region,Isabela,Quirino and Abra before? The people and leaders of this regions strived very hard and worked for the improvements of their lives,and did not use the barrel of the gun so that they can be recognized by the government to ask for autonomy. So unless their muslim leaders do what they are ASSIGNED BY GOD to do for the common good of their people,even with the BBL at their disposition,Mindanao will continue to be poor,impoverished and politicaly divided.

    10. No to independence of Mindanao. Mindanao is not for the MILF alone. Mindanao is for all the Filipinos whatever their beliefs as our Muslim brothers and sisters are living in the different places of the Philippines. The MILF are just using the idea that our Muslims brothers are for independence but this MILF wants power to govern for themselves.

    11. When i was younger we hada problem with communism. No one from the free world wanted it spreading. We know in theory communism works, but not in practice. There is never total equality. Give 2 people the same ammount of money & see how differently they use it. One drinks, parties & womanises. The other invests & worls hard & saves & invests. 10 years later one is penniless & wanting help, the other is making more & more money & communism would now entail he gives his monty to the other as he has more & all are equal. Luckily for us the world ( even china ) is coming to terms that communism cannot continue forever.
      Its the same with these muslims, they want the world to be muslim. But look at the different sects in that religion. The sunnis & the sheites for example, they just cant seem to co exist. They are always killing each other.
      Now give these people some land in mindanao & later they will want some more, then some more. It would be lees painful to stop them now than in 20 or 30 years time when they are even more organised & powerful.
      I wont be alive much after that so i will be free of that problem but many of you wont & none of your children will. So its in your hands.

    12. Rogelio Feir on

      Marriage gone sour. Try the principles on divorce, for a change. Might work. Good luck.

    13. T
      Maguindanao Self-Government a FARCE and a SHAM!
      The Mindanao Muslims struggles for self-government is but a guise for an independent Islamic Sgtate, sovereign and separate from the Philippine central government. They were given autonomy under the AARM but did not work as the Muslims final objective is to secede from the Philippine government and establish their own government free from the control and supervision of the central government authority. The Constitution allows only ONE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT composed of the: (1) Executive (headed by the President) to whom executive powers belong; (2) the Legislative ( composed of the Senate and House of Representative) with the power to make laws (local and national laws) and power of the purse; (3) Judiciary (made up Justices) with power to interpret the Constitution and all laws.
      The Constitution does not allow another separate government with the foregoing 3 powers. Further, the Nation has also ONE territorial and geophysical jurisdiction recognized under International Law over which The Republic of the Philippines exercise its sovereignty Local governments allowed are those political units and subdivisions that are govern by the Local Administrative Code and the Barnggay Code, but which operate under the Constitution and the Central government, The are also subject to ONE national military and police forces, taxation, international foreign and trade policies and national Security to protect its sovereignty against internal or external aggressions. Any special law creating a special local self-government must be subject and yield to above powers of the National Central government, even if given autonomy for its local economic and social upliftment and development or in exercise of its political rights to be elected and vote. Such special local government can enact its owns local laws called Oridinance but must conform to the Constitution, and NOT to the Muslim Shariah Islamic Laws.
      The so-called long years of struggle by the MILF or MNLF (way back to Kamlon years -1950) up to NOW was ARMED secessation/struggle for a separate country of Mindanao. All through those years, they could have participated in the economic, social development of the region thru the exercise of their political rights of peaceful and non-violent protests and peaceful assembly and airing of grievances instead of armed and violent resistance, to have their grievances heard by the national government. It is true that this region of Mindanao was neglected before by many national leaders but that time was when the government was bankrupt and leadership more focused on Luzon and Visayan regions. Now Mindanao is an important component of the country for its sustainable development that national government is pouring its resources to develop the region. Hence, armed struggle for resistance to air old grievances is passé and not the vehicle for its progress. Rather, MUSLIM leadership must work in tandem with National leadership on its political rights to participate in the governance and development of the region. Armed and Violent protest is not conducive to attaining a lasting peace and progressi but instead will stunt and hinder the growth of lasting peace and promotion of the Muslim welfare in the region. After all WE ARE ALL PILIPINOS!

    14. NOOOO. TO BANGSANGMORO LAW AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
      BBL will ultimately result in Dismembering the Republic of the Philippines into
      Just Luzon and Visaya, without MINDANAO!

      No, to a special law (BBL) or Contitutonal Amendment that will grant special treatment and status to Maguindanao region just because most residents have different religious beliefs (Muslims/Koran). It is unconstitutional under the “Equal Protection Clause” of the Constitution, which provides that all citizens must have the same basic rights, duties and obligation and equally protected by the Constitution and the laws enacted thereunder. To surrender some governmental powers like police, military, national security, taxation, judicial system, trade and foreign policies to the Maguindanao autonomous region is tantamount to yielding the philippine Sovereignty which will territorially dismember the country for creating a separate and independent State of Islamic Maguindanao! In fact, even without BBL the MILF is already claiming “prior consent and permission” by MILF to all police or military operations in their alleged autonomous area of jurisdiction, like the PNP launch of Marwan and Usman operation to serve arrests warrants. It is ok to coordinate with MILF to prevent friction from the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement but the secrecy of police action need not be coordinated with them as the PNP is a national force that is over and above the MILF forces. In the first place the MILF should not maintain ARMED forces of whatever type as they are not legally so authorized. Further the PNP is there to serve and protect ALL people in the region regardless of religion. We embrace all our MUSLIM brothers not because we are Christians or Catholic but because we are PILIPINOS and they too are! And the Constitution and the National laws (like the Local Government Units under the Local Administrative Law) that apply to us must also apply to them as we are all PILIPINOS! Hence, No Need for Special law (BBL). What is needed is love, harmony and trust to have PEACE!
      The National Governance from President, members of Congress and Judiciary must recognize promote and serve the social, economic and political welfare of the region under the existing Constitution and laws, not by amending the Constitution or Comprehensive autonomous laws for the region.
      The National leadership must continue to maintain a sincere and honest dialogue with MILF or MNLF to pursue the full development of the Mindanao regions economy and its social and religious freedom to attain the elusive peace that has evaded the region for centuries!
      Jun Adan
      New York City

      • Martial Beltran on

        Jun Adam, I think you dont know that much about socio-politico-econmico things about the country you love called Rep. of the Phils. specially its total history and revolutions.

        I am from Mindanao, a christian-protestant by birth and training but not a muslim lover nor hater but i do understand their plight and their untold sad and horrible histories often twisted,doctored and engineered by the West to fit their purpose of subjugation of the whole archephilago. The first half of your argument in your comment shows you are still in colonial mentality. You are talking about “unconstitutional”. That’s why they wage revolution bec they dont believe your constitution. Jun Adam, it is a 500 year long Jihad, the longest in the world. Their cadres and fighters and all the peace loving muslims were told and still being told (you can call it programmed) that they are not Filipinos.They have their own identities and nations before the coming of the Spaniards and the Americans. The word FILIPINOS is given to us by the west, by the americans. We were called INDIOS by the first occupiers, Spain. Nederland or Holland called their colony Nederland’s India (that is Indonesia). British India (that then composed of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh)And Vietnam, Laos etc. etc. is French Indo-China. Muslim and non-muslim Mindanao and Palawan have have already their own names of nations (Sutanates) and races of poeples BEFORE THE CTAHOLIC SPARIARDS AND PROTESTANT AMERICANS CAME.

        It is a revolution Mr. Adan. It is inevitable. It is a pre-conditioned condition situation. Meaning – the Mindanao-Sulu muslim wars was and still shaped up by the present western form of corruptions in the western copied society.It follows the principle of the planet revolving around the sun. As the Earth stop revolving then revolution and evolution stop too and finito. But as long the earth revolve, revolution continues. IT IS INEVITABLE. Further misery and bloodshed could only be listened when you study the real history of the true “Filipino” nations written by real Filipinos, NOT history written for us by the WEST to believe in. Good luck Mr. Jun Adan for your quest of true Filipino identities.

    15. And what will happen to the Christians inside a Muslim territory? Is there no danger that what is happening now in Arab and Black Africa, peaceful Christians living within a Muslim territory are being slaughtered one after another?

    16. Pete Gabriel on

      MILF ultimate goal is SHARIA. SHARIA law and Philippine consitution will never co-exist. In order to have peace in Mindanao, one winner needs to come out, whether it is the MILF or the present Philippine government. The MILF is just bidding their time untill such time that they are strong enough to militarily challenge the government, and the Philippine government will always renege on any promises made by this treaty, so long as the seat of power is in Manila.

    17. sonny dela cruz on

      I don’t understand of what you are saying that the Moros wnats to be free from the Manila government. Are they not free to roam around the Philippines, work to make a living? Attend Universities anywhere in the country for their education? Run for public office as Mayor, Governor, to Congress and free to run for the highest office. They are free and the non-muslim people accepted them as Filipinos not any other kind of nationality. It is them who is discriminating the people for not being a Muslims. The argument is, do they consider themsellf Filipinos or not? If yes, then they don’t need the BBL to be free in the Philippines. This is purely self interest to acquire the wealth of Mindanao dictated by outside Muslim terrorist to finance their struggle to propagate the Islam. Filipinos who are not muslims should be aware that these people has a secret plan, why ask P80B pesos as part of the BBL? Please DELES AND FERRER if you have a conscienc, please protect us.

    18. our country will fall to islam because of just most stupid president in philippine history..

    19. Ecclesiastes on

      This columnist is right in advancing the theory that this CAB recently signed by the present inconsequential Regime led by the inept president in malacanang and the MILF is just an interim arrangement through BBL because the real goal is independence. This inept president is fully aware of this but he is pushing this cursed BBL by collaborating with the MILF because of his personal agenda and ambition to win the Nobel Peace Prize not a permanent and lasting peace as his propagandists are drumming. This is the same collaboration that his grandfather did with the Japanese invader during World War 11 to insure their family survival and enrichment…..This inept president should be made accountable for the foolishness he did for personal whims and caprices especially the botched Mamasapano massacre after his term expires in 2016…..