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MILF, MNLF agree: Mindanao should be pork-free

/ 07:33 PM September 02, 2013

DAVAO CITY—Despite their differences in the conduct of the Bangsamoro struggle and peace negotiations, both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) agree that for Mindanao to develop, a governance free from pork and corruption must be established.

Emmanuel Fontanilla, legal counsel and spokesperson of the MNLF, said that after decades of waging armed revolution against the government for the Bangsamoro people’s right to self determination, they are now placing the issue of independence in the hands of the people. Chanting “Allah is great,” hundreds of MNLF members and supporters gathered here on Sunday afternoon to call for the separation of Mindanao from the Philippines.

The people of Mindanao have suffered from extreme poverty caused by government neglect and their alleged corrupt practices, Fontanilla said.

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Brig. Gen. Omar Motiba, commander of the MNLF’s 4th Infantry Division, said the government is siphoning the resources of Mindanao, only to be pocketed by politicians.

“It is very clear that the government is looting the economy and resources of Mindanao. That is why it is only right for Mindanao to claim its

independence,” Motiba said.

He said the Bangsamoro people have suffered for such a long time that it is about time that the Muslims, Christians and indigenous peoples living in the island must enjoy and benefit from its abundance. “The only solution is independence. There will be no pork barrel after independence,” Motiba said.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said his group is more focused on autonomy. “What is important is to have a Bangsamoro government that has enough power and capacity to improve the lives of the Bangsamoro people,” Jaafar said.

When news about the pork barrel being allegedly pocketed by some politicians reached Camp Darapanan, the main camp of the MILF in Maguindanao, the group’s leadership and their fighters were also shocked. “We had the same reaction as the people of Luzon and the Visayas. The money of the people were wasted. These funds should have reached the poor,” Jaafar said.

The Moro rebel leader also criticized the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for failing to uphold the interest of the Bangsamoro people. “I am not naming names but corruption is one of the reasons the ARMM failed,” Jaafar said.

But for ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, his administration is doing well in implementing good governance and transparency in the troubled region.

“Every transaction is now transparent, most especially in the Department of Public Works and Highways. These are now all itemized and it is now clear where these are going,” Hataman said.

Special allocation funds similar to the Priority Development Assistance Fund of the Regional Legislative Assembly have been discontinued by the present administration, Hataman added. Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao

TAGS: News, pork barrel scam, Regions
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