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MILF willing to wait, won’t wage war if BBL is delayed, revised

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MILF willing to wait, won’t wage war if BBL is delayed, revised

/ 10:57 AM February 24, 2015
DEFYING EXTREMISM Sister Arnold Maria Noel joins civil society members and other peace advocates in calling for passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law during a forum on defying extremism at Max’s Restaurant on Orosa Street, Ermita, Manila, on Friday. JOAN BONDOC

DEFYING EXTREMISM Sister Arnold Maria Noel joins civil society members and other peace advocates in calling for passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law during a forum on defying extremism at Max’s Restaurant on Orosa Street, Ermita, Manila, on Friday. JOAN BONDOC

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has maintained that it would not wage another war in case the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fails to pass or gets revised by Congress.

Robert Alonto, deputy chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, told a recent forum here that the MILF would continue to negotiate with the government but would defend itself if war was waged against it.

“The MILF does not have the intention to go back to war unless we have to defend ourselves,” Alonto said.

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“If there is no situation that would push our brothers to defend themselves … let me say it clear that we have no intention of going back to war,” he added.

The passage of the BBL, which seeks to establish a Bangsamoro government, was stalled following the January 25 Mamasapano carnage, in which 44 elite policemen on a mission to arrest terrorists, 18 rebels and five civilians were killed.

Alonto said amid the uncertainty over the future of the BBL, the MILF has continued to honor the ceasefire agreement and would continue to do so.

“We will honor the pact, even if that takes more years of waiting, then so be it,” he said.

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF peace panel, said the rebel group has negotiated for political settlement the past 17 years and would not lose hope the government would honor its commitment to the passage of the BBL.

“We have a third party observer where both sides can report on the non-compliance of the other party,” Lingga said.

In an editorial on its website, the MILF has blamed “outside interests” for the furor over the Mamasapano gun battle.

“The case of Mamasapano clash also shows some of the demonic hands that spread lies, hatred, outrage, and other forms of demonic agenda. Never mind Federico D. Pacual Jr. of the Philippine Star and Rigoberto Tiglao Jr. of the Manila Times, they are the breed of men who cannot argue with sense when it comes to Moros in Mindanao. Their eyes and hearts are sealed, as if they were living during the height of the Moro-Spanish War in the 16th century,” the editorial said.

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The MILF said “pieces of evidence are slowly flowing in that the same group, which dipped their bloody hands into the Sabah and Zamboanga City fiascos, is again at play here. They are attacking the BBL, MILF and President Benigno Aquino simultaneously. They appeared to be well-oiled and organized.”

According to the MILF, truth will eventually come out and will show that its forces also fell victims in the unfortunate Mamasapano encounter.

“.. We know there is no way ahead of us except to solve the armed conflict in Mindanao peacefully and this will be through the passage of a good BBL in Congress. The resort to all-out war policy by government is not a good decision,” the editorial added.

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