• MILF commanders restive

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    Ground commanders of theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are becoming more impatient and frustrated over the delay in the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress that they believe will also delay the establishment of a Bangsamoro entity in Mindanao.

    These commanders, who lead hundreds of Muslim fighters, fear that they are being betrayed by the Aquino Administration and just being “played with” after their group signed a “meaningless” peace deal with the government.

    “We cannot wait for the uncertain decision of President Aquino because we believe that this is a kind of dilly-dallying, of delaying our hopes to attain what we want to achieve and that is the Bangsamoro Independent Islamic State. And war is the only solution to our fight,” a commander based in Sultan Kudarat who commands 600 men told The Manila Times in an interview.

    He said even MILF vice chairman for political affairs Gadzali Jaafar can no longer endure the prolonged agony of the MILF freedom fighters who have declared that they are ready to go to war to show their contempt for the “betrayal” by the Aquino administration.

    Jaafar added that many MILF ground commanders are losing hope over the Bangsamoro law.

    Sources said MILF fighters may join members of other rebel groups if the government will not rush the passage of the Bangsamoro law that will be the basis for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by a Bangsamoro entity.

    “Though our MILF organization had misunderstandings under the leadership of Al-Haj Murad Imbrahim, still we believe in one fight for an independent Islamic state. And maybe this time, the separate group of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) commander Ameril Umbrakato, Aleem Aziz Mimbantas faction in Lanao del Norte and the leadership of Murad will be joining in one united front against the government,” sources told The Times.

    Another source who refused to be identified said the failure of the government to submit a final BBL draft has triggered “an outburst of hate and anger” from MILF commanders who fear that the peace deal with the group may end up like the peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front.

    A military official admitted that the delay in the crafting of a final BBL draft may spark a bigger conflict in Mindanao.

    “A new war between the government and the MILF will erupt if the submission of the BBL draft to Congress will continue to be delayed and the problem is not settled immediately,” a ranking intelligence officer assigned in Central Mindanao who asked not to be named said.

    He added that intelligence reports revealed that the MILF has key Ulamas (Islamic priests) whom the group can deploy to rouse the group’s supporters in case it decides to launch strikes against government forces.

    But, according to the military officer, soldiers are ready for any uprising in the South.

    “We are ready for war if the MILF will declare war against the government,” the intelligence officer said.

    Intelligence reports claim that Kato, the former MILF commander of the 105th Division in Maguindanao, met with MILF commanders on the ground who are ready to join the BIFF and launch attacks anytime at target Philippine Army camps in Maguindanao, Midsayap, Sultan Kudarat, Kidapawan and North Cotabato.

    Reports said Commander Abdurrahman Bravo, the commander of the MILF’s 113rd Division in Lanao del Norte, is also ready to join Kato’s group and is only waiting for the go-signal from their leaders.

    Such MILF positioning had alarmed military officials, who expressed hopes that the rebel group would give the government more time to finish the BBL draft.

    “The MILF’s frustrations can be discussed. We do hope that the MILF frustrations will not [lead]to the launching of a serious war in Mindanao,” a military officer based in Maguindanao said in an interview.

    In his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said they are still in the process of fine-tuning certain provisions that would make the BBL “reasonable, just and acceptable” to all.

    Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the government’s negotiating panel, earlier said delaying the submission of the BBL is better than rushing it because there are issues that may be seen as unconstitutional.

    The Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which was in charge of drafting the bill, met last week with the MILF and members of the government peace panel to work on the details of the BBL.

    But Rep. Romero Quimbo, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said Congress should find a way to speed up the passage of the Bangsamoro bill into law.

    He gave the advice after former President Fidel Ramos said the measure will not be passed under the Aquino administration.

    “We need to make it [Bangsamoro bill] into law. We need to help them because Mindanao’s progress also means progress for Metro Manila, or any province. If we achieve this and spur economic activity in whole of Mindanao, we won’t need to import much goods from our neighboring coun–tries,” Quimbo said.

    With LLANESCA T. PANTI and PNA

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    8 Comments

    1. In their culture since the birth of one of their kind they were educated opposite to our belief that to “value once life”. A culture of impunity to those who hate them was the reasons why peace in their own homeland never ceased. The problem in Mindanao was rooted to this kind of life they learned from their forefathers and runs from generations to generations. Its a fact of life that they are part of this country where the sit of the government are located outside to their land. They never in history cooperate and been part of our government. Self interest persist they will never allow others to govern them specially coming from the north. This problematic society who never initiated to trust each others will never be eradicated in our map. So we should let them go since there are many stakeholders who wants independence from our government let them go, but they should be isolated from the rest of the Philippines build a wall like GAZA and never allowed them entry for the rest of their lifetime. No trade, communication, infrastructure, seed money etc. will be extended to them. Let them live the way they wanted to be in hell.as they wishes for a long time. They don’t know the meaning of PEACE IN THEIR SOUL, AND LOVE TO THEIR HEART which we do to our HOME.

    2. even though this agreement will finally be implemented I dont think there will be PEACE in mindanao. MILF is not the only separatist movement in Mindanao. Muslim wants independence and let them have it, this is the only way peace will be achieve. Muslims dont consider themselves Filipinos ever since, although Spain has a titular rights in the whole island during the colonial times they never subjugated or exercise their authority to the Muslims and Cordillera provinces. Muslims never consider themselves Filipinos that’s why when american came they attempted to separate it to the philippines did not succeeded though because it was blocked by Filipino politician especially Quezon. history will tell us that Muslim and Christian Filipinos never did they trust each other since Spanish time. To have justice for both Christians and Muslims, Muslims should be granted their independence

    3. You sign that Islamic Independent State is a fool and stupid, theirs not Independent state inside a country. If the muslim want a war give them war, every time the muslin get cornered they ask for ceasefire, which is full of s h i t, no ceasefire only surrendered.
      Every time you give them ceasefire their head become bigger and while you are in ceasefire they become stronger and started it over again. Say no ceasefire only surrendered.

    4. The main purpose of the Bangsamoro Basic law, as the rebel group stated in this article is ” We are fighting for an Independent Islamic State) which is under Sharia law . . Rep. Quimbo, It means that they will impose their belief that is entirely undemocratic and Filipino Christians will be subjected to Sharia law .Mindanao has Congressmen just like you, in different districts, governor and mayors who are suppose to use PDAF (funds) to spend for infrastructure for job creation for all Filipinos( esp.farmers), had those funds reach all the constituents, people in Mindanao will have ample supply of foods, and commodities for local consumptions instead of importing from other countries. Corruptions has been rampant in Mindanao among the elected gov’t officials BBL is not a solution for peace.

    5. Gov’t and MILF both knows that in every aggreement written or not theres always a possibility of BETRAYAL abangan kung sino sa dalawa ang mabibiktima ng BETRAYAL na yan

    6. It seems an air of ineptness in the part of the government is wafting over the whole country, but especially within the Muslim community, in not tackling, reviewing this BBL, on reasonable time frame. Everybody s restless waiting for this bill to be send to Congress and act on it, to be sure it will stand the scrutiny for its constitutionality. I think everybody must take a deep breath, not to do anything that will jeopardize this agreement, which everybody worked so hard, after so many lives lost. This is the time to pray, continue the dialogue with an open mind, and not rush.

    7. Richarddr1234 on

      ” ‘We cannot wait for the uncertain decision of President Aquino because we believe that this is a kind of dilly-dallying, of delaying our hopes to attain what we want to achieve and that is the Bangsamoro Independent Islamic State. And war is the only solution to our fight,’ a commander based in Sultan Kudarat who commands 600 men told The Manila Times in an interview.”

      As you can see from the above quote, it seems as though the Muslim separatists’ goal was really the establishment of an independent Islamic state. It is something that the great Benigno S. Cojuangco Aquino just can give in spite of his great influence, integrity and legitimacy. I can’t help but feel sorry for the separatists.

    8. this is what they get in rushing the agreement to be signed. had they not ignore other key players from the negotiations, things could be smoother. so many intangibles left out during the negotiation that are being considered only this late in the process.