The government on Tuesday appealed to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari to control his men and “listen to the clamor of the Bangsamoro people.”
In a statement, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles said that the government “calls for calm and sobriety.”
“We call on Chairman Misuari to reign in his followers, and listen to the clamor of the Bangsamoro people,” she said, adding that0 the armed group that stormed Zamboanga City “had genuine peace farthest from their minds.”
“The group’s willful intent to misunderstand and misrepresent the real status of the peace process was very clear,” Deles stressed
The government, she said, “stands firm in its quest for peaceful solutions to the conflict in Mindanao through inclusive dialogue and formal peace negotiations.”
“We pray for the safety of innocent civilians taken as hostages by these armed rebels,” she said. “The government is doing its best to restore peace and order in Zamboanga City and to hold these rogue elements accountable for their actions.”
Deles condemned the MNLF attacks that paralyzed Zamboanga City.
”To them we ask, how can you demand to hoist your flag in the name of peace while brazenly bearing arms and hurting innocent civilians?” she added.
She said MNLF leaders are trying to mislead the public and spur their members to rebel with their insinuation that the government has terminated its peace agreement with the MNLF that was signed in 1996.
Deles said that the government did not terminate the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
“What the government intended was the completion of the almost six-year Tripartite Review Process on the implementation of the 1996 FPA, to pave the way for the Agreement’s full implementation,” she explained.
She maintained that Aquino administration has “continuously engaged the MNLF” through the government-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Review Process. She said Misuari attended the meetings.
According to Deles, the Organization of Islamic Conference-Peace Committee for the Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) has scheduled the convening of the 5th Meeting of the GPH-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Review on the Implementation of the 1996 FPA Sept. 16 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
“It is for this that the Chair of the OIC-PCSP, Indonesian Ambassador Hassan Kleib visited the country last week for top-level consultations with the government in Manila on Sept. 5 and the MNLF groups in Davao City on Sept. 6, in preparation for the meeting,” she said.
“The proposed completion of the Tripartite Review Process was thoroughly discussed and clearly understood by the OIC-PCSP as shown by the letter to the OIC Secretary General of Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr. Marty Natalegawa, which the Indonesian Ministry shared with us, which states that ‘the GPH conveyed its assurances that in the case of the closure of the Tripartite Implementation Review Process, GPH will continue to engage relevant parties of the MNLF, through existing mechanism, to find a just and comprehensive political solution for the issue of the Southern Philippines,” she explained.
Deles said that the government has also been engaging the MNLF under the PAMANA program that covered former MNLF bases that were transformed into Peace and Development Communities as beneficiaries, and provided assistance for community infrastructure needs.
“More than 50 senior MNLF leaders signed a resolution of commitment on Sept. 1, 2013, as partner of the regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to help alleviate the economic status and welfare of the MNLF communities through socio-economic projects in Mindanao and affirming their continued support to the 1996 FPA,” she added.