MILF says ban on its officials seeking elective posts remains

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COTABATO CITY—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said its policy against any of its officials seeking elective posts remains.

Muhammad Ameen, chief of the MILF’s central committee secretariat, said the prohibition on participation by any MILF official in Philippine political exercises, which was formulated in 1984, has not been lifted.

“The MILF, as an organization, will not meddle in the May 2013 balloting,” he said in a statement.

He said sanctions await those who violate the said policy.

The MILF has previously sacked Eid Kabalu, its spokesperson, following findings he had actively participated in previous elections by supporting and endorsing particular parties and candidates.

“Philippines elections are so divisive and expensive that after every election, so much bloodshed and corrupt practices ensue,” Ameen said in explaining why the policy was maintained despite the signing of the initial agreement, which would become the basis of the charter of the future Bangsamoro government that would replace the current autonomous setup.

Even if the candidates were related to MILF officials, Ameen said: “Just the same, we do not support them.”

But while prohibiting its officials from seeking public office, Ameen said the MILF has been encouraging ordinary members to vote in the May polls.

“We urge them to participate if they are qualified voters and choose candidates who are supportive of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro,” he said.

With this, he warned politicians hostile to the peace negotiations they would not get the votes of the Moro people.

For those who “made amends” by supporting the framework agreement, Ameen said they can expect support from Moro voters.

“There is always a second time for people who sincerely repent and make up,” he said.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), composed of the provinces of Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, is populated mainly by Moros. The MILF has control over various areas of the region and maintains base commands in its five provinces.

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