The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) led by Ameril Umbrakato has pledged to join the fight of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) against the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that seeks to create a new entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari has rejected the BBL because he said it will only create more problems in Mindanao.
Jimmy Labawan, vice chairman of the MNLF central committee and concurrently the acting chairperson of the group, said the government is not really serious in dealing with the MNLF because the peace agreement signed by the group in 1996 had not been fully implemented.
“We have been giving signals to the administration of President Benigno Aquino that he must heed the suggestion of the senior leaders of the MNLF central committee to settle first the issue of the MNLF-GPH peace agreement before settling the agreement with the Moro Islamic liberation Front (MILF) but he did not listen to us.
Instead, he proceeded to enter another agreement with uncertainty,” Labawan said.
Ustadz Pendie Colano, the over all chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Command that covers the entire Region 12 or Socksargen area, disclosed that Umbrakato sent an emissary to the MNLF camp with the message that BIFF forces are willing to join the MNLF once it declares war against the government.
Colano said they have urged the President to schedule the tripartite review of the MNLF agreement which had been stalled many times.
“The 70,000-strong MNLF is divided into two—half of it is in favor of pursuing the GPH-MNLF 1996 peace agreement while the other half is looking at the possibility of declaring war if the government will not accomplish the peace pact with the MNLF,” Colano said.
He added that he received reports that the BIFF will mount terror attacks in Southern and Central Mindanao if the government will turn its back to the agreement with the MNLF.
Meanwhile, lawmakers were urged to scrutinize the Bangsamoro Basic Law and pass it because it is legal, not because of pressure from Malacañang.
The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro will resume its deliberations on the measure on January 19.
“I appeal to my fellow legislators not to succumb to any political pressure or to fears of the resumption of armed conflicts in the Mindanao by passing the Bangsamoro measure without excising provisions which are unconstitutional. Instead, we must make it a life mission to ensure that the measure conforms to the Constitution and that we won’t create a special state within the Republic of the Philippines,” Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano said.
“At the end of the day, the real test for the Bangsamoro Law is its constitutionality. It is not a matter of whether it will be passed in the House or it will muster the support of the Senate to be signed as law by the President,” Albano added.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte remains optimistic that Congress will approve the measure.
“We understand that there are a number of issues that need to be thoroughly discussed by lawmakers when this reaches the floor. But we remain hopeful that it will make the intended timetable with the cooperation of our fellows in Congress,” Valte said in a radio interview.
WITH LLANESCA PANTI