‘MILF or MNLF will not save the Bangsamoro’

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COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: “The fate of the Bangsamoro lies in the hands of the Bangsamoro, not in the hands of the MNLF or MILF or these two combined which do constitute even .5 percent of the 16 million Moros [Filipino Muslims] and definitely not in the hands of one man,” the Sultan of Lanao del Sur told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

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The MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) both claim to be fighting for an independent Islamic homeland in Mindanao.

Dr. Firdausi I. Y. Abbas said unless all stakeholders participate, there “can never be a viable solution” to the political and military conflict in southern Philippines, home to the country’s Muslim minority.

The man he was referring to is Nur Misuari, founder of the MNLF, whose followers lorded it over tripartite talks among the Government of the Philippines (GPH), the MNLF and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held last September 7-9 at the New World Hotel in Makati City (Metro Manila).

Misuari is wanted by the Philippine government for a failed uprising in Mindanao a few years ago.

Abbas said the recent tripartite talks in Makati City were delayed by discussions among the MNLF group on who should sit as delegates.

The general legal counsel of the MNLF and one of the delegates to the 2007 tripartite conference in Jeddah said, during the talks, the OIC insisted that only the delegates to the 2007 tripartite meeting in Saudi Arabia be allowed inside the conference room because they are the delegates recognized by the OIC under an agreement known as the Jeddah formula.

According to Abbas, delegates of Misuari insisted that the list of the MNLF founder be followed.

The argument ended with the Jeddah formula implemented and other delegates named by Misuari were added to the roster.

The apparent concessions given to the MNLF, in Abbas’ view, showed how even more factionalized and fragmented the group has become.

He pointed out in the conference that “nothing will come out of the talks because there is already the Bangsamoro Basic Law [BBL] and it appears that two canoes are paddled on the same river.”

Abbas explained that in the BBL, all the agreements between the MNLF and the GPH are included, that is why it is called comprehensive and its enactment and approval in a plebiscite would repeal all previous Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao organic acts–Republic Act 6734 and RA 9054.

”The GPH-MNLF talks [at present]are on amendments to RA 9054. Once it is repealed, there is nothing to amend. Furthermore, the subjects being discussed in the [recent]talks are all provided already in the BBL. The government will not agree to negotiate again with the MNLF and will not agree to revive RA 9054, which will not be legally feasible,” he said.

Abbas took time to hit at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

“The OIC continues on these talks because it is the only agreement it got signed and [it had]failed in all its other mediation endeavors. [It] has done very little for the Bangsamoro and is even ignorant of the real concerns of the Moros. Even its status as an organization has been reduced to mere cooperation,” he said.

According to him, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of Abakada party-list who questioned before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the BBL, including the GPH and MILF peace negotiators, may even question trips of Philippine delegations to tripartite meetings in Jeddah that, he said, were just senseless expenditures and junkets and a waste of the taxpayers’ money.

He sits as permanent delegate of the MNLF to tripartite meetings by resolve of the OIC.

Abbas headed an MNLF delegation to Jakarta and met with Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kalla, paving the way for resumption of derailed tripartite talks.

Meanwhile, he also told The Manila Times that Moro children are dying of malnutrition and women are dying in their pregnancy because of the absence of basic services.

Abbas said the economic uplift of the South and development of the Moros are a constitutional mandate and not dependent on any agreement with the MNLF or the MILF.

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5 Comments

  1. The Government is never be a sincere to achieve a Lasting PEACE in Mindanao! Sen. Bongbong Marcos is another murderer to the Muslim in Mindanao. He wants WAR to be took place to the bangsamoro homeland, The Mindanao! Marcoses never be trusted!

    PEACE is not only for Bangsamoro, but it is a PEACE for all Filipinos!

    Give PEACE a Chance to Mindanao…

  2. Dr. Abbas is right about the OIC’s approach, but I think it is not their intention to further divide the Moros. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation only wanted to hear every side to avoid agitation amongst Moros or ease out mistaken feelings by some groups being left out in the talks. The OIC Representative who visited in Manila recently even stated that a convergence in Moros moves are better inasmuch as their fight for self-governance is concerned.

    Moreover, I observed Dr Firdausi Abbas remarks “…and it appears that two canoes are paddled on the same river.” I don’t think there is anything wrong in “two canoes paddled on the same river”. Be it in idioms or in reality, even thousands of canoes can be paddled all on river at the same time! What is impossible is “a single canoe is being paddle on two rivers at the same time” much more like the Tagalog’s “kasabihan”—“Bawal mamangka sa dalawang ilog”!

  3. hindi makapapayag ang muslim Mindanao na mauwi na parang SYRIA at AFGANISTAS Mindanao….2.5 milyong Syrian, iraqi at Afghan refugees ang tumakas, tumatakas, nag-eebakwet, ang lumisan at naghahanap ng matitirhan ngayon sa EUROPE…

    bilyong dolyar na ang nasayang at nawaldas sa mahigit apat na dekadang labanan (1970s – 2015) sa Mindanao…mahigit kalahating milyon na ang nagsilikas na muslim Pilipino sa Sabah Malaysia (illegal, legal refuge at migration), may ilang daang libong mga muslim Pilipino ang lumipat at nanirahan na sa Metro Manila, Cebu at Luzon dahil sa walang kasiguruhan at kawalan oportunidad sa Mindanao..

    iPASA at huwag ng isabotahe ng mga pulitiko ang original version ng BBL sa senado at sa Kongreso..

  4. Mario O. Simbajon on

    We the Filipino people and our Muslim brothers hope to see peace in the near future in Mindanao there are no winners in war all are lossers kawawa ang walang muwang na mga bata let PEACE be achieve.

  5. Bernabe Q. Sanchez on

    I fully salute Dr. Abbas in this position! Allah must be with him in this pronouncement! Keep it up and Muslim Philippines will eventually attain their dreams!