MILF: Team PNoy win good for peace

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MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. AP FILE PHOTO

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao—Among the groups in an apparent celebratory mood as President Aquino’s allies appeared to dominate the senatorial race is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator and chair of the Transition Commission for the establishment of a Bangsamoro territory, said the MILF viewed the 9-3 victory of Aquino’s allies as good news for peace talks between Moro rebels and the government.

Iqbal said because the Senate will now be dominated by allies of the President, he saw no impediment to the passing of laws that would support initial agreements reached by the MILF and the government.

“It will pave the way for the success of the talks,” said Iqbal in an interview with a radio station here.

He said the MILF also welcomes the victory of many candidates who are allied with Aquino in local races because it would add a supporting cast to the Senate in the effort to bring peace to Mindanao.

Among the Aquino local allies who won in the May 13 elections are Mujiv Hataman as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mamintal Adiong Jr. as governor of Lanao del Sur, Esmael Mangudadatu as governor of Maguindanao, Nurbert Sahali as governor of Tawi-Tawi, Hadja Jum Akbar as governor of Basilan and Sakur Tan as governor of Sulu.

Ruby Sahali, former Tawi-Tawi vice governor and another Aquino ally, was elected congresswoman of Tawi-Tawi.

MILF chair Murad Ebrahim said while the rebel group did not participate in the elections, it was bound to form a political party in preparation for the 2016 national polls.

“Our political group will help push the interest of the Bangsmoro,” he said.

The MILF has proposed the inclusion of at least 10 Mindanao provinces in the coverage of Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a social development program for Moro communities.

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said in a statement that several groups identified with or working with the MILF made similar requests.

But before actively pushing for the development of Moro communities, it was apparent that the MILF needed to bring peace to Moro communities.

Among the feuds that the MILF needs to address is the one between a group of MILF members and members of the Moro National Liberation Front in Maguindanao that has driven hundreds of villagers fleeing for fear of getting caught in the crossfire. Edwin Fernandez and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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