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MILF tells Reds to respect its struggle


OZAMIZ CITY—Breaking its silence, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has asked communist rebels to respect its own struggle for self-governance over predominantly Moro-populated areas in Mindanao.

“We hope this appeal will not be like a voice in the wilderness,” said a recent statement posted on the official MILF website.

It noted that it avoided being dragged into a verbal tussle with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) because it is not beneficial to either of them.

But the MILF said it was forced to respond in order to put a stop to the “one-way verbal assault.”

The MILF, which is about to wrap up 16-year peace negotiations with the government, pointed to the 44th anniversary statement of the CPP last Dec. 26 as having “criticized the MILF bitterly,” particularly its decision to forge with the Aquino administration the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The communist leadership found this move not different from the action of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996—surrender.

“In crucial provisions of the agreement, the MILF submits to the authority of the oppressive state based in Manila and gives up the possibility of seceding and establishing an independent Bangsamoro state,” the CPP statement read.

“Essential points for four annexes on transitional arrangements and modalities, power sharing, wealth sharing and normalization … confirm the submission of the MILF to the sovereignty and constitutional processes of the Manila government,” it further said.

The CPP claimed that the provisions on normalization “subject the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the MILF to decommissioning while allowing the continuing presence (of government) troops in Bangsamoro lands.”

With the MILF supposedly pacified, the communist rebels said the erstwhile rebel group could be used “for the political and economic purposes of Manila and Washington.”

Later incidents saw the CPP using the “MILF analogy” to explain its position vis-à-vis that of the government.

In a Jan. 4 statement dealing with some issues surrounding its synchronized Yuletide ceasefire with the government, the CPP warned the government that communist rebels, unlike the MILF, cannot be tricked into submission to its political authority.

“In the case of the MILF, the Aquino government has even attempted to further subject it to the GPH authority by trying to renege on one of the key points in the framework agreement in insisting on appointing the chair of the yet-to-be-formed Transition Commission,” the CPP further said.

In response, the MILF said it “finds the Aquino administration a real partner in peacemaking.”

“We do not intend to defend or glamorize the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the four annexes … The agreement will prove its correctness or incorrectness in the course of time,” it stressed.

The Moro revolutionaries appealed to the CPP “to give the MILF the benefit of the doubt whether its decision to sign the framework agreement with the Manila government would redound to the benefits of our people, or it is a doomed exercise.”

The MILF explained that the current agreement is far different from the one forged by the MNLF in 1996.

“We appeal to the CPP not to judge the MILF and its policies and decisions on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology… The MILF and the CPP are coming from two different points,” the group said.

“The CPP believes in armed struggle as the sole route to people’s liberation, while the MILF gives armed struggle and nonarmed struggle almost equal footing in freeing the Bangsamoro from bondage,” it added. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao


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Tags: Insurgency , MILF , News , NPA , Regions




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