Is the MILF leadership in control of its ‘fiefdom’?

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RODY DUTERTE could find a lost celphone in Davao.

Very recently, a baby kidnapped by a househelp in Davao City and brought to the province of Maguindanao was recovered through the relentless efforts of men under Mayor Rody Duterte who in turn used his connection with Muslim leaders in the area.

Late last year, a businessman who owned a chain of restaurants in Davao City was stabbed dead in a planned robbery murder by a man and his girlfriend. His car and his body were abandoned in a town in Davao del Sur about 60 kilometers away.

The suspects were tracked down and arrested in less than 24 hours.


In Davao City, if a visitor loses his celphone inside a taxicab, all that he needs to do is to report to the police the color of the taxi and the celphone will surely be recovered.

All of these stories point to one indisputable fact: Mayor Rody Duterte, the leader of Davao City, is in full control of his city and he can deliver.

This is the question which confronts the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following the massacre of 44 elite police commandos belonging to the Special Action Force (SAF) on Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The fallen SAF policemen, who were part of the more than 300 commandos ordered to arrest international terrorist Zulkifli bin hir alias Marwan and his Filipino counterpart, Basit Usman, were stripped of their belongings and guns by the huge group of MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) members after they were killed.

The acting chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gen. Leonardo Espina, has called on the MILF leadership to order their men who participated in the carnage to return the personal belongings and firearms of the slain SAF policemen.

Espina made the call last week and it could have been a golden opportunity for the MILF to show a degree of respect for the fallen policemen.

Most of all, it would be a proof that the MILF indeed is in control of its people and of the territory which it claims to be its fiefdom.

There has been no response from the MILF so far, not even an acknowledgment that they have received the message from Gen. Espina.

This could be a fatal blow to the credibility of the MILF.

The failure on the part of the MILF to show that they are in control of its people and of its “territory” will further bolster the claims of the detractors of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is touted to bring peace to the Southern Mindanao area, that the rebel group could not deliver its part in the commitment to peace.

Indeed, how can a rebel organization who could not even control its own people assure the rest of the country that after the signing of the BBL, there will be peace in the southern part of the country?

Perhaps, it would be better for the MILF to get some pointers from Mayor Duterte on how to project the image of a leader who is in control and who could deliver.

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3 Comments

  1. I wish I had the money to print a million or more posters showing the names and faces of all the lawmakers who support the BBL with the heading, “These are your representathieves who want to surrender Mindanao to the beasts that killed the SAF 44” and have them plastered all over the country with the help of everybody who is against these evil plan to turn Mindanao into a permanent war zone like the Middle East. That can start a movement that is strong enough to achieve anything, including propel somebody to the presidency. You think Duterte is up to it?

  2. The answer to your article is no. The MILF is not in control of its fiefdom. Therefore, unless and until, they are in full control and can be trusted, there is no point approving the BBL and for that matter sitting down with them to negotiate peace for another agreement. I will keep repeating until everyone is tired of listening: This country, including Mindanao, can be governed by only one law. No special law can be given to another location, on account of religious differences. We should be able to live peacefully in this country and practice different religious beliefs, speak different tongues, promote and practice varied cultures and traditions. What we need is to promote tolerance and appreciation for these differences. We should not re-do our laws, specially when it contradicts our Constitution, to suit some groups.

  3. The MILF cannot control the south. They are made up of commanders who have established bases and rule their territories. These private armies answer to their commanders. They loosely follow the MILF when it is in their best interest only. The commander that attacked the PNP will not surrender himself or his people.