10,000 MILF fighters, supporters celebrate signing of peace pact with PH gov’t | Inquirer News

10,000 MILF fighters, supporters celebrate signing of peace pact with PH gov’t

... Other parts of Mindanao receive news of peace deal with mixed feelings
/ 06:04 PM March 27, 2014

Moro Islamic Liberation Front AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—About 10,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and supporters gathered under colorful tents inside Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao as they closely monitored the ceremonies for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Nasrullah Abdullah, administrative officer of the operation department of the MILF, said the atmosphere of hope and optimism has overshadowed the military character of the rebel group’s main camp.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The mood is very festive. We are so overwhelmed that members and supporters flocked here at the camp. In fact, the attendance today is relatively larger than the attendance during the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (in October last year),” Abdullah said.

Local leaders and commanders gave speeches expressing their joy and their determination to safeguard the agreement to ensure its full implementation.

FEATURED STORIES

Meanwhile, “it is another normal day” inside areas influenced by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, an MILF breakaway group, in several towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, said rebel spokesman Abu Misry Mama.

“I am not saying this because we want to criticize the signing, but this is the reality here. There are almost no green flags except for a few houses who are die-hard MILF members,” Mama said.

Mama saw no reason for the people in the communities to celebrate because the agreement “compromised” in favor of the government.

“And they should remember that the signing is not the end. It would still go through many processes including that of Congress. The celebration today is a waste of money. They should have instead used it on social programs that would directly benefit Moro communities,” Mama said.

Mama added that MILF members in their territories should not worry for their safety because they would only be harmed if they participated in military operations.

In Marawi City, close to 6,000 Maranaws gathered at the Cabili Plaza in the village of Banggolo to show their support to CAB.

Col. Glenn Macasero, commanding officer of 103rd Brigade, said Army troops were deployed to secure the crowd.

ADVERTISEMENT

After the prayer rally, the crowd would go to provincial capitol grounds for the “Kalilang” (cultural festivities).

Three provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were also in a festive mood on Thursday. The celebrations in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu, however, had nothing to do with the signing of the CAB. Residents are holding post-graduation parties.

Tawi-tawi Rep. Ruby Sahali said she was invited to witness the signing in Malcanan, but had to beg off and instead send her father, Gov. Sadikul Sahali, “because we are all preoccupied here attending invitations of graduation celebrations.”

“The people of Tawi-Tawi are celebrating graduations of their children now. It’s been done all over the province,” Sahali told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

“I am here in Bongao (capital town of Tawi-Tawi) for the series of graduation exercises since last week, and my people are more preoccupied and excited about graduation,” she added.

Sahali said there has been a “very high disinformation campaign” against the MILF in her province. She refused to elaborate.

In Isabela City in Basilan, a 50-vehicle caravan was held Thursday morning. Another motorcade was held in Lamitan City.

But Isabela City Mayor Cherrylyn Akbar said she asked the MILF supporters to make their activity short “because we don’t want unnecessary fear or panic among parents, teachers and students.”

“Everyone here is busy holding graduation rites. Their motorcade might create tension and we don’t want to spoil the celebrants,” Akbar said.

In Sulu, Brig. Gen. Martin Pinto, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said they have not monitored any celebration among Tausugs regarding the peace signing in Malacañang.

“None so far,” Pinto said.

In Zamboanga City, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar said she was in Cagayan de Oro City to accept the William Francis Masterson Award given by the Xavier University.

Salazar said she did not receive any invitation to witness the signing in Malacañang.

In Tagum City in Davao del Norte, far from the areas covered by the Bangsamoro entity, some 700 Muslims trooped to the local park to show their support to CAB.

For 59-year old Rosita Colas, the CAB would spell more development in Muslim communities.

Southern Mindanao is not included in the new entity.

Colas said she had heard “many good things” about framework agreement from their imams and other religious leaders, so she and her husband, a worker for local power utility Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, joined others from their community to attend the rally at the Rotary Park in Poblacion village here.

Muslims belonging to various tribes from Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental attended the rally, said Abdul Rasad Sawat, regional institutional development officer of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), an office set up by the government to oversee the rehabilitation of areas affected by the decades-old conflict that stemmed from the Muslim secessionist rebellion.

“What we’re doing now is an information drive aimed not only for the Muslims but including our Christian and lumad (indigenous people) brethren,” said Sawat. “We want them to know more about the CAB and its benefits, and not necessarily compelling people to support the initiative.”

 

(Reports filed by Julie S. Alipala, Richel V. Umel, Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao)

 

RELATED STORIES

No more war, poverty, fear, children scampering for safety—Deles

Bangsamoro peace pact signed

Power-sharing central to Moro self-rule

 

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

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: Basilan, Cherrylyn Akbar, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), Isabela City, Joint Task Force Sulu, Local authorities, Local Governments, Maranaw, Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, Martin Pinto, mayor, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Nasrullah Abdullah, News, Peace agreement, peace negotiations, peace process, Peace Talks, Philippine Government, Ruby Sahali, Tausug, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga City
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.