Saturday, November 18, 2017
Close  
newsinfo / Regions

Ebrahim: Incursion of BIFF into MILF territories caused clashes

newsinfo / Regions
  • share this

Ebrahim: Incursion of BIFF into MILF territories caused clashes

By: - Correspondent / @kmanlupigINQ
/ 08:19 PM August 20, 2017

Murad Ebrahim, MILF chairman (File photo by BULLIT MARQUEZ / AP)

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao – While government forces continue to flush out the terrorists in Marawi City, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is fighting extremism in Central Mindanao.

It has been days since a running gun battle erupted between the MILF and a faction from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

At least 25 people, five of them MILF fighters, have already died from the clashes in Maguindanao.

ADVERTISEMENT

Led by the Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, the BIFF broke away from the MILF after serious disagreements in the conduct of the peace negotiations and other issues.

After Kato died, the BIFF faced internal problems with several leaders pledging allegiance to the ISIS.

MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim said that what prompted the tactical operations against the Abu Turaiffie faction of the BIFF was their incursion into MILF territories.

“What ignited the recent events in Maguindanao was the entry of ISIS-inspired groups in MILF identified areas,” Murad said in an interview in Camp Darapanan on Saturday.

He explained that the MILF was left with no option but to respond to the activities and threats of the group.

“We had no other recourse. It was necessary,” Ebrahim said. “We had to ensure it as part of our agreement with the government not to allow criminal and terrorist elements in our area.”

Sources said that the BIIF faction was active in recruiting fighters in the area. It is, however, uncertain if they are being recruited to fight in Marawi.

“Basically, it is a clearing operation. It is still on going,” Ebrahim said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The incidents which transpired in Mamasapano in 2015, which killed 44 elite police forces, and the recent hostilities in Marawi are manifestations of the proliferation of radicalism, Ebrahim said.

“One major solution to this is to get in place a political solution to the Bangsamoro question and problem,” he said.

The political solution, he said, would be the legislation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to create a Bangsamoro government grounded on the right to self-determination of the people.

“That is why we look forward to the passage of the BBL,” Ebrahim said.

He added that the legislation and implementation of BBL would address the political problems of the Bangsamoro and would counter the claim that people had already lost hope in the peace process.

The draft BBL was endorsed by the Office of the President to both the Senate and the House of Representatives last week.

Ebrahim said President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the bill, which was drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, would be given priority for legislation.

“We were expecting that it will be certified as an urgent bill,” he said.

He said, however, that the MILF would understand if circumstances would prompt the admistration not endorse it as an urgent bill.

“Maybe there are some situations,” he said. “We are trying to get in touch with the government side to ask what were the situation that prevented them from issuing the certificate of urgency.”

According to Murad, one of the possible reasons and considerations is the Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (Babar,) which Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed earlier this month.

Several peace advocates said the former president’s version was a copy of the Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) proposed by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

This process, Ebrahim explained, was normal and the MILF recognized that the President could not dictate over the legislative branch of government.

But the MILF remains optimistic that the BBL will be legislated before the end of year as it was personally promised by Duterte to them in several instances.

“We are holding to the words of the President that this bill will be passed,” Ebrahim said.

It is, however, still unclear how the draft BBL and and Babar will be treated in both chambers of Congress.

Nabil Tan, acting chair for the government implementing panel, said that the BBL was a priority of the government.

Tan added that it would be certified at the “proper time” and that it was good that the draft that was endorsed by the Office of the President was “untouched.”

The administration now, Tan shared, respects and believes in the independence of Congress in the legislation process.

“It may be passed by December,” Tan said.

The BBL will pave the way for the creation of a new Bangsamoro government that will give primacy on respecting the rights of the Bangsamoro people.

It is also expected that this will end decades of violent conflicts in the area. /atm

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Abu Turaiffie, BBL, biff, MILF, MILF-BIFF clashes, Murad Ebrahim
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.




© Copyright 1997-2016 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved