• Mainland Mindanao MNLF leaders dismiss Nur’s threats

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    OTHER senior leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front have raised doubts over the threat of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari to pursue Moro independence through his faction.

    Misuari signed on behalf of the MNLF a final peace deal with the government on September 2, 1996 under then President Fidel Ramos, who reopened in succeeding year the state’s peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    “Moro independence is a dead issue now. Prof. Misuari and some of us were given the put in actions our aspirations for the welfare of the Bangsamoro people but failed miserably,” a member of the MNLF’s pioneering “Top 90” Batch said.

    Other pioneer members of the MNLF and of the succeeding “Spartan 300” generation have downplayed Misuari group’s reported creation lately of a “Bangsamoro Republik” in unnamed area in Mindanao.

    “Who heads the Republik? Who belong to it? Where is it based? The answers, I think are obvious. It is Misuari and his loyal followers, and the base is Sulu,” a member of the “300-member” second Batch said in a text message.

    The “Top 90” included Misuari of Sulu, Salamat Hashim of Maguindanao and Dimas Pundato of Lanao del Sur, who eventually became chairman and vice chairmen of the then undivided MNLF.

    Due to grave policy differences, Hashim left the MNLF and formed his faction now known as MILF, which is now chaired by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, a member of the 300-strong MNLF second batch. Pundato also split and created the MNLF-Reformist Group, which eventually fizzled out with its leaders appointed in various government posts.

    Mainland Mindanao-based MNLF leaders and senior MILF members believed that Misuari was given the chance to translate the Moro revolutionaries’ visions for their community’s welfare when he was named chairman of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) and elected governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but “failed to deliver.”

    “There were gray areas on the part of the government in the implementation of the 1996 peace accord, but Misuari should gave optimized every available albeit limited resources for the maximum benefits of his people. But he miscarried out his functions and yet demanding more and more funding and powers,” another MNLF pioneer member averred.

    Misuari’s displeasure with the purported government misgivings in the 1996 peace agreement broke out into bloody pocket of revolution, which Misuari led in Sulu and

    Zamboanga City in early 2000s. Authorities sought him with arrest warrants until his repatriation from Malaysia and eventual detention in Metro Manila.

    Misuari, whom former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo afforded with a reprieve from jail, assailed anew the government for proposing to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) a closure of the protracted review of the 1996 peace accord

    Misuari received a letter from the OIC about such proposal. Intellectuals, however, believed that the OIC letter did not mean the closure as a stoppage to the implementation of remaining provisions of the pact.

    Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles clarified that in their proposal, they advocated for the completion of the review process and the start of carrying our agreed mechanisms on implementing all unimplemented provisions of the 17-year old accord.

    Misuari’s pronouncement prompted the spread of a barrage of text messages warning about eventual armed protests in Mindanao.

    The text messages were capped by the floating of an MNLF statement announcing this week the forming of the “Bangsamoro Republik.”

    Government and MILF officials refused to give formal reactions about such “Republik,” saying this could be undermining their current peace talks that propose the replacement of the ARMM with new political autonomous entity called “Bangsamoro” sub-state.

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