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MILF continues push for pact

/ 12:01 AM April 10, 2014

BULUAN, Maguindanao—Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued to drum up support for a peace agreement that they signed with the government to end decades of a bloody separatist war in Mindanao, saying “it’s impossible not to succeed.”

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief, said the pact, which proponents hope would lead to a law creating a new Bangsamoro entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), is the first step that the Bangsamoro people needed to take to move forward to progress.

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“We have all the resources except uranium,” said Jaafar.

“If we won’t succeed, it could be because Allah did not help us because of our own doing, because we are fragmented,” he said.

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The MILF recently signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in historic rites in Malacañang Palace.

“This is our truck, let’s ride it toward our betterment,” Jaafar said, at a ceremony celebrating the signing of the pact here.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, also during the ceremony, said he believed that lasting peace in Mindanao should be everyone’s concern.

“We were born in war, we grew up with the sound of guns and the cries of those who lost their loved ones,” said Mangudadatu.

“We grew tired of that and we don’t want our children to grow up in violence too,” he said.

Jaafar said he was appealing to the MILF’s rival Moro factions to give peace a chance.

“We suffered together in the battlefield,” he said. “We started this fight and now we achieved what we wanted, let us stand up for this as one,” he said.

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Jaafar admitted that not everything that Moro revolutionaries had wanted were included in the CAB.

“A lot of things we have wanted to happen is not there but let it be. What’s important is we now have something to start with,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is drafting the proposed law creating the new Bangsamoro entity, said MILF leaders want to see the Moro people in a better condition because leaders of the Moro revolution are not getting younger.

“We want to leave a legacy for our youth. This is not just for Muslims but all the people of Bangsamoro—Christians included,” he said.

“It’s much better to wake up at the smell of vegetation than the smell of gunpowder,” Mangudadatu said. Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: ARMM, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Bangsamoro, Bangsamoro entity, Buluan, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Esmael Mangudadatu, Ghadzali Jaafar, Maguindanao, MILF, Mindanao, Moro Islamic Liberation Front
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