THE creation of the Bangsamoro entity which will be headed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will not solve the armed conflict in Mindanao, the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo said on Tuesday.
Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said they are apprehensive how the MILF leaders would govern the planned Bangsamoro region considering that there are territories still controlled by its rival, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
The MNLF, which signed a peace pact with the government in 1996, had not paid much interest to the Bangsamoro entity being pushed by the government with MILF.
Idjirani said the government should also consider the interests of non-Muslim groups in Mindanao who would become part of the future Muslim political entity.
“The Sulu sultanate, traditional leaders, the Christians, and the indigenous peoples of Mindanao and other stakeholders should be included in the resolution of the Mindanao conflict,” he said.
But Idjirani lamented that many were left out during the peace talks and negotiations.
“And what about the Sulu sultanate? How will MILF leaders in Sulu archipelago and other territories treat the sultanate?” he asked.
The Sulu sultanate, which is fighting a territorial dispute with Malaysia over Sabah, called on the government to come up with a more “comprehensive solution” to the decades-long peace problem in Mindanao.
“What we strive for is a more comprehensive solution to the armed conflict in Mindanao, not just by simply creating an autonomous region similar to ARMM (Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao),” he added.
While they welcome the signing of the preliminary peace agreement between the MILF and the government on October last year, Idjirani said that it would not guarantee that other Muslim groups would lay down their arms.
He cited the ongoing revolt in Mindanao of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of MILF that vowed to sabotage the peace talks.
BIFF founder Kumander Umbra Kato rejected the peace talks between the MILF and the government when he split from MILF in 2008.