MILF appeals to MNLF to take path to peace

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MILF political affairs vice chair Ghadzali Jaafar. FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has called on the Moro National Liberation (MNLF) “to take the path of peace” following Monday morning’s attack on several coastal villages.

The MILF, a breakaway group of the MNLF, is talking peace with the government.

Jaafar also reminded armed and unarmed MILF members in Zamboanga City and the island provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to stay neutral.

“If there is any MILF involvement, our role is to secure innocent civilians that may be caught in the crossfire. As much as possible no aggression or violent participation from our end,” said Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs.

Recently, MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari publicly declared his plan to pursue the establishment of an independent Bangsamoro state at a time when the MILF was in the verge of finalizing with the Aquino government an enhanced ARMM autonomy which could become the new political entity for Muslims in Mindanao.

Chief Superintendent Noel Delos Reyes, ARMM police director, said the public declaration of Misuari to secede from the republic prompted him to look into a possible sedition case against the aging MNLF leader, but had fizzled out with the absence of violence or armed uprising.

With this development, Delos Reyes said the Western Mindanao police force should now look into this problem, explaining that Zamboanga City is not even part of ARMM.

The city government of Zamboanga City on Saturday launched a new tourism campaign urging people to visit the city.

The attack also came more than a week after the August 31 meeting between the MNLF, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional government and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) where they agreed to create a steering committee that would oversee the implementation of PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.

Around 50 senior MNLF leaders discussed with ARMM and OPAPP officials how to advance development programs in the MNLF communities.

PAMANA, which is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas in the country, targets to spur economic developments in the MNLF communities.

Under the program, senior leaders of the MNLF will identify the type of socio-economic interventions needed in the MNLF communities, while line agencies of the ARMM will implement the projects with OPAPP acting as the oversight body.

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