Moro rebel groups pledge support for Duterte’s federalism bid
DAVAO CITY – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign for a shift to federalism got further boost with pledges of support from Mindanao’s major Moro rebel groups.
“It is acceptable to all parties concerned and to all the stakeholders in Mindanao, particularly the Bangsamoro and the national cultural communities,” Abul Khayr Alonto, who chairs a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), said in explaining why his group, and that of Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), decided to throw their support to Duterte’s plan to shift to a federal system of government.
Alonto, Murad and other Moro rebel leaders met with Duterte at Hotel Elena here past 9 p.m. Friday.
“The centralized form of government is a dismal failure that is why there is war in Mindanao,” Alonto told reporters after emerging from the meeting.
He said the MNLF and the MILF have agreed that under a federal system, there would be “a government of transparency and accountability.”
It can also “effectively address the peace and order problems including drug trafficking and kidnap for ransom,” he said.
“The president-elect has our commitment and our support, not just in pronouncements but in action as well. It’s high time to stop from just talking, we have to do it,” Alonto said.
Earlier, Ebrahim said he was confident that amid its campaign for a shift to federalism, the incoming Duterte administration will not relegate the gains of the MILF’s 17-year peace process with the government.
“With the advent of a new administration on June 30, 2016, we are confident that the Bangsamoro peace process will not be relegated in status, as it has proven to be potentially the most viable solution to address conflict arising from historical injustices committed against our people,” Ebrahim said in a statement issued on June 11.
“It is important to sustain the traction that we have managed to develop toward the anticipated success of this political settlement,” he added, underscoring the need to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
He said the BBL “needs to be immediately passed into law, not only because it effectively addresses the peculiarities unique to the Bangsamoro that are not necessarily found in other prospective federal states.”
Alonto said he agrees with the MILF’s position on the need to adopt the “good aspects” of the BBL for the crafting of a model federal state for the Bangsamoro. CDG
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