Are the Republic and the MILF still at war?

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WE all think and hope the answer is no. But many of us are now asking the question with increasing urgency, worried that the nation must brace itself for new hostilities, and that this may be influenced by the Islamic State tide in the Middle East.

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With a notable sense of timing, on the second day of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano incident/massacre, the chairman of the peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Mohagher Iqbal, jolted the hearing with a letter that squarely showed where MILF stands with respect to Mamasapano.

The letter said three things:
First, the MILF is a revolutionary organization, and would remain as such until its peace agreement with the government is fully implemented.

Second, for his appearance before the Senate, he requested that it take place in an executive session.

Third, he offered a gesture of civility by saying the MILF will commit to return the firearms and personal effects of the 44 PNP Special Action Forces ( SAF) killed on January 25.

The opening paragraph of the letter should be quoted in full because of its grave implications. Mr Iqbal wrote:

“Please bear with us as we engage the institution of the Philippine Senate officially for the first time. The MILF is a revolutionary organization. While we may have signed a peace agreement with the Philippine Government after 18 years of intermittent war and negotiations, that peace agreement has yet to be implemented. Until the peace agreement is fully implemented, we will remain to be a revolutionary organization.”

Marcos raises alarm
The effect of the letter on the Senate was electric, and the senators immediately jumped on it as soon as the hearing was opened.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr was first in line to raise questions once the designated MILF representative finished his introduction of the letter into the Senate records.

Marcos expressed alarm over Iqbal’s statement in his letter that the MILF would remain a revolutionary organization until the peace agreement with the government is fully implemented.

He asked: “Is my interpretation correct that in the view of Chairman Iqbal until the Bangsamoro government is formed, we are still at war with the MILF or they continue to be a revolutionary organization so they are still fomenting revolution until the peace agreements are completed?”

.Senator Marcos disclosed that the MILF’s position was in direct contradiction to what its officials have told the senators during the hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“We are told that we are in a situation (between MILF and Philippine government) where there is a cessation of military action or revolutionary action. Even in our first hearing, we were told that the process of decommissioning of arms had begun, but this does not seem to be consistent with that. I would just like to clarify so that we know what basis we are talking here. Can we now assume that we are still at war with the MILF?” he asked.

GPH peace panel chair comments
When asked to comment on the MILF statement, Ms. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, chair of the government peace panel, said Iqbal’s letter should be seen in the context of the whole peace process.

“We are not at war with them precisely because we have a ceasefire agreement, but that ceasefire was broken on January 25,” she said.

“That is the matter being investigated now. The circumstances that led to the breakdown of the ceasefire on January 25 and the law enforcement operations conducted by the SAF,” she added.

Elaborating, Ferrer said that they have a roadmap that will lead to the full transformation of an armed group such as MILF into an unarmed organization that is fully participating in the political, social, economic and cultural processes of the country.

Ferrer’s explanation did nothing to calm Senate and public anxiety about the MILF letter. It certainly will not arrest the growing public pessimism about the prospects of peace holding in Mindanao.

Mamasapano looms too large over national life today.

Suspension of BBL consideration
Both chambers of Congress have suspended discussions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law that Malacañang so eagerly wants to pass.

The letter that MILF Central Committee Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim wrote to the House of Representatives on December 29, 2014, explaining his refusal to attend the hearing to which he had been invited reveals a shocking fact.

It is this: That up to less than two months ago, the chief leader of the rebel separatist group that President Aquino, OPAPP Secretary Deles and Head of the Philippine panel Coronel-Ferrer wish to hand over a large part of our sovereignty in Mindanao has a complete misunderstanding of the political system of the Philippine Republic.

Chairman Murad said in his letter that there is no need for him to deal with Congress for “MILF negotiated its peace agreement with the understanding it was negotiating with the totality of the Philippine government or the ‘whole government’ especially since the powers of the president allow him to bind the whole government including its different branches.”

He, and most likely the whole MILF Central Committee, completely refuses to accept the Republican and democratic political system of our country, in which the “commander in chief” has no power to bind the legislative and judicial branches of governments to his decisions.

Instead of wasting time on the BBL, our country should be ready for the war that the MILF’s Chairman Murad is obviously ready to wage if the Bangsamoro Basic Law that he expects is not the one passed by Congress and when our patriotic Supreme Court declares as UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Framework Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro that Coronel-Ferrer, with President Aquno’s blessings, signed with her MILF counterpart Mohagher Iqbal.

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6 Comments

  1. Vicente Penetrante on

    I agree with the comments of rolly javier and Eddie de Leon. Sorry for the lateness of the hour, I watched the televised House Inquiry.

    The break-away groups, like the MILF when negotiations was being done with the MNLF, and now, the BIFF when negotiation is being done with the MILF, are tactics used to keep ‘warring guerrilla units.’ That is the leash tied to the hands of our peace-loving officials to keep feeding those dogs all they can eat.

  2. for ph, it appears that choice is only limited to one…erap done it before, it could be done again, except that peanoy does not have the egg and anything attached to it..

  3. MNLF peace talks d pa nga naaaprove, tumiwalag ang ibang kumander ng MNLF at sila’y tinawag na MILF. Makalipas ilang taon…nangurakot lang si MNLF-Misuari at walang naging kapayapaan. MILF naman ngaun…ganun rin d pa nga naaaprove BBL…tumiwalag na si Umbra kato isang kumander ng MILF at sila’y tinatawag na ngaun na BIFF…syempre mangungurakot lang din yang mga MILF tulad ng MNLF…wala pa rin kapayapaan. Mga year 2025…BIFF naman makikipag peace talks….d pa nga maaaprove kasunduan….isang kumander ng BIFF ang titiwalag at sila’y tatawaging…Bangsamoro National Freedom Fighters-BNFF…ganun rin mangungurakot lang din ang BIFF….in 2035 there will be BILF (Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front), BNLF (Bangsamoro National Liberation Front) and in 2050 there will be MIFF (Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters) and MNFF (Moro National Freedom Fighters)… naiintindihan naba ninyo ang ibig kong sabihin?

    Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na namamangka sa dalawang ilog ang MILF katulad ng ginawa ng MNLF noon. Ang totoo…while MILF are negotiating for peace…MILF created BIFF so that any terrorist that hides in their lair can be accommodated without them being accused as coddlers since they can easily point to their created loose command kuno like BIFF…so lusot sila…clever. Now sino kukubra ng 5 million US dollar? d ba mga tauhan ng MILF? So nakapatay na sila ng 44 SAF…may pera pa?

    Ladiasan also stressed that the MILF does not have any connection with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which Iqbal earlier alleged was the one coddling Marwan. Teka muna d ba MILF mismo nagsabi na magkaka-mag anak sila…papaano ba tayo nakakasiguro na hinde magka-ugnay ang MILF at BIFF eh…galing sa MILF mga BIFF eh..tapos magkakamag-anak pa kamo at magkakalapit ng kampo…hinde ba’t dalawang MILF ang tipster sa location ni Marwan?

    Question: Did our government negotiators studied the MNLF peace accord? If yes….what are their findings?…Why it was seemingly a FAILURE?….What happened to the billions of pesos poured into the ARMM? Is there any COA report on the performance of the ARMM? Is there any military and police report on peace and security situation in the ARMM during Misuari’s time until today? Dapat nasagot muna ang mga tanong na ito bago nakipag negotiate sa MILF. Lumalabas na “we are a nation whose history repeat itself.”

  4. Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head, Manila Times. Now Aquino’s men in Congress are BLACKMAILING us Filipinos that not passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law will lead to war. Mga traidor sa Inang Bayan kayo ni Aquino, Deles at Ferrer!
    Don’t you all hear what the MILF leaders have been saying since Aquino became president? They will kill us all if the Bangsamoro substate that they like is not given to them by Aquino, the commander in chief of the Philippine military with whom they are negotiating! They do not respect the Philippine Republic so they cannot accept any Suprme Court ruling that the arrangement to be given to them is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Iqbal talks to Ferrer et al in secret, and Ferrer wants the appearance of the MILF to in executive session (in secret) because we would then hear her MILF friends tell the truth about their stand.
    Napaka gunggong naman ninyong mga tao ni Aquino. Palakasin ninyo ang ating militar at PNP-SAF at ang buong kapulisan. Cahil kung hindi ang BBL na gusto ni Murad ang ipapasa ng Kongreso, magkakagyiera pa rin.
    Hoy, gising!
    Thank you, Manila Tines. Dakila kayo!