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MILF keeps close watch vs possible attack by rival groups

/ 07:14 PM January 28, 2014

MILF secretariat head Jun Mantawil attends for the first time a committee hearing at the House of Representatives on the sealed peace pact between the MILF and Philippine government on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2013. INQUIRER.net file photo

MANILA, Philippines–A peace panel member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the group is studying ways to prevent an attack similar to the Zamboanga City attack by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

MILF secretariat head Jun Mantawil told INQUIRER.net Tuesday that they are studying the normalization annex that discusses the laying down of firearms and putting these beyond use.

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According to the annex, these firearms would not be destroyed but entrusted to a third party.

When asked for their actions to prevent their members to take up arms similar to the Zamboanga city attack, Mantawil said they are still “composing” and “studying the decommissioning” of firearms.

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He added that they would also study the Jakarta peace accord between the Philippine government and the MNLF, a pact that is still under tripartite review despite being signed in 1996.

The MNLF attacked Zamboanga City in September 2013 over an independence bid despite the final peace accord. They claimed to be sidelined in the current MILF-GPH peace pact.

The MILF broke off from the MNLF over a dispute with the peace accord.

“Our agreement is we study these. And we craft carefully in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Mantawil said at the sidelines of the Mindanao and Muslim affairs committee hearing at the House of Representatives.

It is the first time an MILF representative set foot on the House grounds to participate in the legislative process.

Teresita “Ging” Deles, secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process, added that the power sharing annex provides for proposed recommendations from the review process of the MNLF-GPH 1996 final peace agreement.

She added that these recommendations would be integrated in the Bangsamoro basic law, which would be crafted to create the Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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Deles also said that there was no element of surrender from the MILF, adding that the Moro group would only entrust their firearms to a third party.

On Saturday, the MILF and the Philippine government signed the last annex of the Bangsamoro framework, sealing the deal in a bid to end the decades-long secessionist movement in Mindanao.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, Jun Mantawil, MILF, Mindanao peace process, MNLF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, News, Zamboanga
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