Category Archives: PEACE TALKS MNLF

DUTERTE, MISUARI set to finalize new GPH-MNLF peace panel next month


The government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will be finalizing next month the creation of a peace coordinating committee to help resolve conflict in Mindanao.

duterte-nur-5th-meetingPRRD MEETS NUR. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives a warm welcome to Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari at the Malacañan Palace Monday (Nov. 11, 2019). Also in photo are (from right) Solicitor General Jose Calida, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara, and Senator Bong Go. (Presidential photo of King Rodriguez)

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this plan was discussed during the meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari in Malacañang on Monday night.

Panelo said Duterte and Misuari have agreed to meet in Davao City next month to finalize the peace coordinating committee.
To recall, Duterte and Misuari have met five times this year with their most recent meeting held last August 23 tackling ways to advance the peace process in the south.
“It was a continuation of the meeting when Chairman Nur Misuari came I think last August. Ang usapan nila mag-mi-meet ulit sila (The agreement is they will meet again) because there’s a suggestion that there should be a committee that will help in the peace process,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.
“The purpose of course is to have peace with the MNLF and to ensure the success of the government,” he added.
Earlier, Panelo said it was during their August 23 meeting where Duterte relayed his desire for immediate formation of GPH-MNLF panel to Misuari.
“The GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee will serve as a venue to seek for the cooperation of the MNLF to achieve immediate peace in Sulu by, among others, helping in combatting the Abu Sayyaf Group and convincing MNLF relatives to return to the folds of the law,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said Misuari was hopeful that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would be involved in the consultations to determine the remaining compliance of the GPH in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF.
Misuari wanted a similar setup to the previous tripartite talks among the GPH, MNLF, and the OIC, he added.
Last March, the President bared that he is “in a hurry” to strike a deal with Misuari to finally end the long-drawn Moro rebellion and achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.
Duterte said that just like how government has “come to terms” with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he wanted to do the same with Misuari. (PNA)

‘Breakaway’ MNLF group backs BOL

mnlf breakaway
BOL SUPPORT. Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza meets with MNLF leaders in Davao City on Friday (Nov. 2, 2018). To his left is former Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri. (Photo courtesy of OPAPP)

A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which emerged in the wake of an ouster move against Moro leader Nur Misuari as MNLF chairman a few years back, has thrown its support to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Former Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri said in a meeting with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in Davao City  on November 2 that they have agreed to implement a massive information, education and communication campaign to push forward the BOL’s ratification in January.


ARMM guv confident BOL can withstand legal scrutiny

COTABATO CITY – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said Friday he is confident the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) can hurdle scrutiny at the Supreme Court. “We cannot allow the personal interests or anyone to again sow discord where we so clearly need… Read More


Jikiri’s group was also known as the Council of 15 and was formed in late 2001 by the MNLF’s most senior leaders amid claims that Misuari had lost regard of the Moro people. It was previously chaired by Muslimen Sema, Misuari’s vice chair for political affairs, and was recognized by then president Gloria Arroyo as the real MNLF.
In the meeting with Dureza, Jikiri and his group said they were “committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning in the plebiscite.”
Jikiri said the campaign would cover “all areas” that were proposed for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro entity.
He said they will partner with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to develop and implement a multi-stakeholder campaign on the issue.
Misuari’s faction was unclear in its support of the BOL. However, it has been reported by Duterte that the aging Moro leader had voiced several concerns over it, including the perception on diminished autonomy and powers. Misuari also insisted on the 1996 peace agreement he had signed with the government.
Duterte had repeatedly said he was talking to Misuari to convince the Moro leader to support the BOL, which he described as the last shot to forging peace in Mindanao.
The President even floated the idea of creating a separate autonomous region for Misuari’s group.
“I’d like to talk to Nur on what he really wanted so that I can give it by the end of the year,” Duterte said in Zamboanga Sibugay in July 2018. He said Misuari can have “autonomy.”
“If that is what he wants and pending the federal system implementation,” he added.
Firdausi Abbas, Jikiri’s foreign minister vice chair, had earlier suggested that Misuari’s faction should also be included, particularly in the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the body that would steer the new region until the elections in 2022.
Abbas, in an interview by Manila Bulletin in August, said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can have 80 percent of the representation to the BTA, the members of whom Duterte will be appointing. His group, he added, was willing to take just 10 percent and the remaining 10 percent should go to Misuari’s faction.
“We still consider them (Misuari’s faction) part of the MNLF,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dureza — in a statement — acknowledged the “strong commitment” of Jikiri’s group to help the national government push for a “greater level of public awareness” on the BOL.
“I am very pleased with the MNLF’s determined efforts to help the Duterte administration in generating a groundswell of support for BBL and ensure its ratification,” Dureza told Jikiri during the meeting.
“The MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Jikiri, has over the years been a reliable partner of the national government in sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao,” he added.
Dureza noted that Monday’s meeting was an affirmation of the Oct. 7 meeting of the Jikiri-led MNLF in Sulu, during which, a resolution was passed declaring the organization’s “unequivocal support” for the BOL. (PNA)

House, Senate approve Bangsamoro Basic Law

bbl 2

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second and third reading the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which has been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

With 227 affirmative votes, 11 negative votes, and 2 abstention, the House passed the substitute bill of House Bill 6475, which provides for the BBL and seeks to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The substitute bill contains the proposed amendments discussed during the three all-member caucuses.

Under the rules, the House can only vote a measure on third reading after copies of the bill that passed second reading are given to its members at least three days prior to voting. But with the President’s certification, the House can now vote on third reading immediately after the second reading.
The Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading early Thursday morning its version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), following marathon deliberations that started Wednesday afternoon prior to the closing of the Second Regular Session of the 17th Congress.
The chamber approved Senate Bill 1717, or the Act Providing for the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, with 21 affirmative votes and no negative votes after ending deliberations at around 1 a.m.
Read More: Senate unanimously approves proposed BBL on final reading
Opposition lawmakers in the House said the proposed BBL is unconstitutional as it seeks to abolish the ARMM, which was provided for by the Constitution, using just mere legislation.
The bill aims to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for a meaningful self-governance.
One major amendment is the conduct of only one plebiscite not earlier than 90 days or later than 120 days after the effectivity of the BBL.
There will also be a block grant to the region amounting to five percent of the national revenue. (PNA)

THE DURIAN BEAT: Hating Moro and Bangsamoro


By Roger Balanza

Would you believe that there are Muslims in Mindanao who hate being called “Moro”?

But it is not because they want to be called by other names, hate their blood brothers or sisters or that ethnic conflict is rending Moroland that Mindanao Muslins now hate  each other and don’t want to be identified as Moros.

Moro here refers to the name ascribed to Mindanao’s first and original inhabitants, and its continuing use that Muslims perceive as derogatory.
Even Bangsamoro, the collective word used to refer to the Muslim population as an ethnic group with a distinct custom and tradition, is likewise frowned upon if used to refer to the “Moro nation.”
There had been for years intensive debates among the Muslims themselves on the Moro. At times at the sideline of the debates came mild threats against those who call Muslims in Mindanao as Moros.
Moro is a two-faced description to explain the debates. For those who despise it cite its history as a name that denigrates Mindanao Muslims with blasphemy. Those who stand proud to be called Moros praise it as a unifying factor among the Muslims.
The sentiment against being called a Moro is that it is, to some, an insulting colonial tag, that still persist today, heaped on them by Spanish conquestadores in the 16thcentury.
Making the name more repulsive is the  violent adjective, juramentado, attached to Moro at the turn of the century by the Americans.
Mindanao Muslims fiercely opposed the occupation of their homeland and the Americans were forced to develop the powerful Colt .45 1911 semi-automatic pistol against suicidal  Muslim warriors who armed only with a kris would face American soldiers in a man-to-man combat. The juramentado is a criminal running amok, an image that took Mindanao Muslims decades, after the Americans left, to erase.  
Modern liberation movements starting from the 50s added further a bad meaning to the word Moro, as Mindanao Muslims’ demanded for self-determination and engaged a bloody war against the government. The Moro War  killed thousands and displaced millions.
Happily, the bad connotations smeared in the past on the Moro, has been totally obliterated with acceptance of Moro as the name for Muslims of Mindanao, by Muslims themselves, the public in general and by government.
The recognition is enshrined in no less than the proposed law that aims to carve out parts of Mindanao as the Bangsamoro of the Moros of Mindanao.
Still, the debate over  Moro and Bangsamoro as representative of the Muslims of Mindanao lingers.
Although the Muslim of today no longer abhor being called a Moro, the word having found acceptability, the debate over use of the Moro that in the past spawned conflicts among Muslims and between them and Christians, has been revived.
It is sad that the debate, particularly in social media,  has caught in its web the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the law that is on its last stretch of approval by Congress, that would give the Muslims a semblance of self-determination.
It is also sad that respected Muslim leaders, who cannot forget the past,  are behind the resurrected debate over the Moro and Bangsamoro.
“I am greatly embarrassed, and ashamed if somebody calls me Moro or Bangsamoro,” said Lanao Del Norte Congressman Abdullah Dimaporo who is opposing the BBL.
First posted in, Dimaporo’s statement has crossed over to Facebook and is generating a whirlwind of comments from the pros and the cons, thus resurrecting an issue that should have been best forgotten.
Dimaporo aired his sentiment against the continuing use of Moro to describe Mindanao Muslims and its inclusion, along with Bangsamoro, in the BBL, during a recent widely-attended public consultation on the proposed law in Marawi City organized by the House of Representatives.
Dimaporo summed up his disgust at the tag: Moro is a shameful word, meaning ignorant, illiterate and pirates, coined in the 1600s by the Spaniards who invaded Mindanao and tried to Christianize the Muslims.
The statement of Dimaporo, contained in a news report by, has elicited a cacophony of comments and discussion and debate, from recollection of “historical injustice” committed during centuries of violence against the Muslims in the hands of foreign invaders to the state of affairs of the Muslims under the past and present administrations.
“Where is the justice for all of us who are offended by this Spanish insult?” said a commenter to a post by Marawi City-based Norodin Alonto Lucman, who reposted the story in his Facebook account.
And there are more who pitched side with Dimaporo:
“Nobody wanted to be called Moro because Moro meant marauder and pirate . The Spanish colonizers came to our shores and branded us as Moros because they considered us as ladrones, moros, magnanakaw. Ngayon, you find distinction and glory in being called Moro. Please don’t be fooled by those same enemies of our race. They are all the same dogs in sheepskins. They can fool us some of the time, but they can not fool us all of the time. The BBL Will eventually cause our people and territory to dissipate and then on, we can no longer be called a people, not even indigenous because we Will have no more territory to claim as ours, and our identity will be gone forever and become part of history.”
“There is an Identity Crisis.”
“If politicians have a little sense of self respect, they should follow lead of Dimaporo.
To be proud of the Spanish insult is totally mind-boggling.”
“This is a case of cultural genocide concocted by the Castillans.”
“Usurping a foreign identity.
 Goddamn, mind-boggling!”
“Don’t change the name Muslim Mindanao.”
“The name Moros is racist. It’s politically incorrect.”
“We have constitutional rights to a proper identity….can’t change the identity of the entire Muslim population to a made-up Bangsamoro.”
“Only wise, intelligent and learned people know how to react against colonial imposition against us. Others are silent bcos they have limited knowhow.  Congrats to the Dimaporos.”
“If we do not want to be called Moro, what would you call people who originally inhabited Mindanao? My tribe is Maranao and also do not like to be called Moro not because I am ashamed but because I felt insulted knowing that being called a moro  meant being uneducated and uncivilized. 
HOWEVER, for the sake of unity in building our own territorial land ,we must be united to one common goals for the benefit of our children’s children.”
“Bangsa” means nation. The Philippines should remain one integral nation, and not be divided into many nations.”
But there is another side to the coin.
Luwaran. Com reports that Dimaporo’s statement “reaped negative reactions” and described as “against the aspirations of the Bangsamoro in attaining a just, and lasting peace in Mindanao.” 
Officials of the Federation of the Royale House and Sultanates of Lanao Del Sur, reports, were “wondering” why Dimaporo “cannot accept to be called as Moro or Bangsamoro when historical injustices were clearly committed by colonial powers and accepted by the government leadership.”
“The Bangsamoro people has the legitimate right to determine a political solution to the Moro Question, and this can only be realized through the passage of the BBL.”
 “Let us strengthen our unity, and solidarity in facing various challenges ahead, and work hard for the passage of the BBL by Congress,” the sultanates’ leaders urged in the report. 
President Rodrigo Duterte, has certified BBL as a priority bill, and is steering up Congress into its early approval.
While BBL is looked up to by many as  the road to peace in Mindanao, we are mystified that there are still many Muslims who suffer from historical hangover over the word Moro, and in the process derail the collective efforts to find peace in Mindanao..
We are not saying that the debate over Moro and Bangsamor is trivial.
But having gained acceptability, it is now time for Muslims to stop the debate and accept Moro and Bangsamoro not only as cultural and political identities of the Muslims of Mindanao but as well as a unifying factor in the search for lasting peace.
After all, Moro is the banner word in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the liberation movements that carry the voice of the Moros, who fought for decades for self–determination for the Bangsamoro.