Malacañang on Friday reiterated that the Philippine government does not recognize the Bangsamoro Republik of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari.
Despite an earlier denial, reports said that Misuari declared independence last month still persist.
Misuari, a former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor, declared independence for Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and even North Borneo or Sabah, which is controlled by
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte, however, said that there is only one government in the country.
But she admitted that the government cannot disregard Misuari because the 1996 peace accord with the MNLF is still existing.
”The agreement is still existing,” Valte said. “Does he exist at all? Of course, of course. How nice of you guys to ask. But, he has, of course. You know, if we were to ignore you then, we would not respond to anything—at all.”
Misuari earlier expressed dismayed over the ineptitude of the present administration in the full implementation of the 1996 peace agreement.
He has reiterated in the past years that some of the provisions of the 1996 MNLF peace accord have not been fully implemented.
The Palace official, however, said that the government is not abrogating the peace accord when they signed the Framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
”That’s very clear, she said. “We all agree that ’96 agreement is still enforced, and it’s not been abrogated, at least by us.”
”The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is not just for—unlike the ’96 agreement which was forged with the MNLF—seeks to benefit not just the MILF but also all those in those areas,” she added
According to Valte, when the Bangsamoro Basic Law is drafted and is ratified, that would apply to the areas that will be covered by the law.
However, that would be really dependent on the plebiscite, she said.
”The plebiscite, really, my understanding is . . . you know, there’s an infographic on the Official Gazette when the Framework Agreement was signed on the roadmap to the Framework Agreement, and it will end with a plebiscite, precisely, to do…to ask the citizenry there whether they would want to be part of or covered by that particular proposed law,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Palace official assured that the government forces are ready to protect nation in case Misuari’s men resort to violence in their independence bid.
The Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) also continues to hope for peace in Mindanao, she said.
”The AFP has already said as much,” Valte said. “They continue to hope that the MNLF will continue to be supportive of the on-going negotiations for the Bangsamoro.”
”But, they also did say that in case there is violence, they will be ready to protect the citizens,” she added.