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REACHING OUT ALSO TO NUR MISUARI

MILF seeking support for BOL even from non-Moro groups

/ 05:15 PM July 28, 2018
Ghadzali Jaafar

Ghadzali Jaafar, first vice chair of the MILF and chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. (Photo from the Facebook page of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission)

COTABATO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vowed to reach out to more people in Mindanao, including non-Muslims and indigenous peoples, to rally support for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which will have to pass through a plebiscite before it could be implemented as a law.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said among the groups they planned to reach out included the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which was founded by Nur Misuari, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which continues to wage war against the government.

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“Even the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, we will reach out to them,” Jaafar said Saturday in radio interview.

A breakaway group of the MILF, BIFF was formed by the late Omra Kato after the group became impatient with the delayed peace process with the government.

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After it was outlawed, it splintered into different groups, among them were those that publicly pledged allegiance to the ISIS.

Jaafar, who chaired the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that drafted the proposed enabling law, said the MILF would not claim sole ownership of the success of the Moro struggle in Mindanao.

He said the BOL would include people of various religious beliefs, cultures, and political affiliations in Mindanao to achieve genuine peace in the island.

Misuari whose MNLF had forged a peace deal with Manila in 1996 had earlier appeared lukewarm to the government and MILF peace process.

But Jaafar said a committee had been formed to reach out to Misuari and his leaders.

Misuari was quoted by the media as saying his group would not join the new political entity in Mindanao but would wait for the establishment of federal form of government that the Duterte administration had been pushing in the country.

Meanwhile, an ARMM official told elected officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) not to worry about losing their posts once the BOL started to be implemented in the expanded ARMM.

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According to ARMM Regional Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the First District of Lanao del Sur, a provision of the BOL states that elected officials will remain until their term ends only when the new political entity has been set up in Mindanao.

Adtiong said regional lawmakers would not be banned from seeking elective posts for the new Bangsamoro parliament under the BOL.

The new law says 50 percent of the government officials in the new political entity under the BOL had to come from the MILF.

Earlier, civil servants in the ARMM said they would lose their jobs once the BOL would be fully implemented in the region, where seven of 11 regional government agencies would be abolished.

Jaafar said the new government would not be indiscriminate in selecting government workers and assured that those affected would be remunerated accordingly. /atm

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Organic Law, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF, MNLF, Philippine peace process
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