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Former MNLF commanders back ARMM abolition, says MILF leader

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COTABATO CITY, Philippines—A number of surviving foreign-trained commanders of the Moro National Liberation Front support the abolition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the establishment in its place of a Bangsamoro homeland with ample authority to govern itself, an official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said.

Ghadzali Jaafar, vice chairman for political affairs of the MILF, which is currently negotiating with the government for an end to a 37-year struggle for self-determination, said former comrades-in-arms belonging to the MNLF Central Committee met here on Sunday at the behest of its chairman, Muslimin Sema, who is also vice mayor of this city.

The MILF started in the late 1970s as a breakaway faction of the MNLF.

Jaafar quoted Mohammad Ali, an MNLF commander based in the “Iranon areas” of Maguindanao, as saying it was about time the Aquino government helped “facilitate the establishment of a genuine Muslim autonomy.”

Ali and some of his men, now engaged in corn and rubber production in Buldon, Maguindanao, courtesy of the government’s agrarian reform program, were one in supporting the MILF position to empower Muslim Mindanao with real autonomy, Jaafar said.

According to Jaafar, the other commanders who had expressed similar views included Libyan-trained MNLF Commander Pangamdas of Western Mindanao, Batch-90 Commander Haji Jordan of Basilan, and Commanders Sali and Sony of Sulu and Davao, respectively.

The military training abroad that began after the declaration of martial law in the Philippines in 1972 came in batches of 90 and 300, said Jaafar, whose MILF faction broke away from the MNLF in 1978 after its leader Salamat Hashim rejected the Muslim autonomous setup that arose from a 1976 agreement between the MNLF and the Marcos government that was worked out under the auspices of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The reunion of the MNLF commanders, according to Jafaar, was participated in by foreign-trained commanders of the 1970s and some local government units.

Jaafar said since the start of the peace negotiation in 1975, the MNLF signed two significant political settlements with the Philippine government—the 1976 Tripoli Agreement in Libya and the 1996 final peace accord under the administration of then President Fidel Ramos.

He said the government’s grant of Muslim autonomy that underwent several political changes and innovations has not really improved the lot of the Bangsamoro people as shown by the prevailing socio-economic and security problems in the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

“As of now, we are still poor if not the poorest region in the country; and as a result some people resort to commit crimes and other unlawful acts in order to survive,” Jaafar said.

The group, according to Jaafar, admitted that ARMM was “toothless,” needing authority and power to be able to govern by itself without being mendicants and subservient to Malacañang. Oftentimes, local officials are manipulated by the powers-that-be, prompting many to describe such manipulation as “ARMM-twisting,” Jaafar said.

Jaafar said the MILF peace panel is working out a new political setup with the authority to explore the region’s own resources instead of being the “milking cow” of the national government.

“We are rich in natural resources and yet poor. This is the irony that we want the Aquino government to resolve by heeding to our plea for self-determination,” Jaafar said.


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Tags: Autonomy , Moro Insurgency , Peace Talks , Philippines


  • Manuel_II

    Seriously, the Filipino people and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should do something about this Government who is selling us out.

    • Ilonggobyblood

      Are you asking the AFP to do a coup?

      • Manuel_II

        Am I, of course NOT, asking for a coup constitute a criminal offense and I will not incriminate myself, LOL, think again… ^,..,^

        What makes you think that, LMAO

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    sa awa ng diyos, insha’allah
    for peace and development
    in mindanao

  • Ilonggobyblood

    Your so called Self Determination will never happen! Either accept this country and become true Filipinos like you are or be branded as an outlaw! You are poor because you always had the cycle of corruption in your area. You still want the people to be poor so they can be held as slaves to arms and to the opium of guns that brings about power, yet their stomachs and brains become hungry! Educate and empower the Muslim youth not via arms but books, science, knowledge and understand! That is when you will achieve Self Determination by seeking education which will lead to understanding and the everlasting goal of PEACE! May peace and development be with you my muslim brothers and sisters!

    • Manuel_II

       Think again if we make Mindanao Autonomous and ruled by MILF, can i ask you SIr, what are you going to do with the MAJORITY of Christian living in Mindanao.

      Christian are the Majority in Mindanao not Muslim, your self determination is invalid argument, if you make the Muslim rule the Majority Christian, either they will start killing Christian in Mindanao, or the Christian will rebel against Muslim Rules who will implement Shariah Law.

      You Fail, try again.

      • Ilonggobyblood

        I don’t want them to have Mindanao sir, I want them to accept that they are Filipinos and stop rebelling. I believe this can be achieved by education and not via arms. What I want is for peace to be achieved by bridging the gap between the past and the future by using the youth and not giving them Mindanao. I Live in Mindanao, saan ako titira kung ibibigay ko to hehe

      • Guest

        In whole Mindanao, the Christians are in majority. But in ARMM, they are not. That is the crux. And you can’t expect from or force the so called Moros to call and/or see themselves Filipinos. Vice versa, Moros can’t claim Mindanao in whole, of course, but since they build the majority in the ARMM at least there they can claim self-determination (if they are serious about it).

        I hope, you do see a point. If not, then I try to further elaborate.

        But looking at it in a farsighted matter, an independent, sovereign ARMM/Bangsamoro state won’t be able to survive on its own. I am pretty sure, they will either knock on the door of the Istana Merdeka (Presidential Palace) in Jakarta or go to Kuala Lumpur asking for development aid. I would like to see the faces of the respective government officials.

        Actually, for the multinational and -cultural Philippines, a federal system would fit most. But that is another story and that won’t happen in 500 years anyway…

  • Patas

    These rebels owe no allegiance to the republic even when they sit on power. Masama nito, aapihin nila ang hindi nila ka-relihiyon kapag sila na ang naka-upo. Ang allegiance nila ay sa relihiyon lang nila at ang way of life na nais nilang maging standard ng buong mindanao. Ito ay ang ;
    1) lalaki ang masusunod lagi
    2) shariah law lang ang iiral
    3) kapag shariah law lang, segregation ng sexes, tapos laging lugi ang katayuan ng babae sa batas.
    4) for sure, hihiwalay sila sa republika dahil nakatanim na sa utak ng mga ito ang MALING KATOTOHANAN na ang buong mindanao raw at Pilipinas dati ay bayan ng muslim (kawawapihado ang mga lumad, at iba pang mga katutubo na hindi muslim kapag nangyari ito).

  • TagaMlang

    WE VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE!!!

    IF FOR WHATEVER REASON THE GOVERNMENT ACCEDE TO THE SETTING-UP OF A BANGSAMORO HOMELAND, THEN WE CHRISTIANS IN NORTH AND SOUTH COTABATO DEMAND THAT WE WILL ALSO BE GIVEN A SEPARATE STATE IN MINDANAO TO RUN OUR OWN AFFAIRS.



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