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.
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)
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, June 7, said that his administration is not yet ready to allow government-friendly Moro fighters to join the military in the fight against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups in Marawi City.
Talking to soldiers at the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Kalandagan in Tacurong City, Duterte said he talked to Nur Misuari who offered to send 2,000 fighters to Marawi City. Misuari is the founder and leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the second biggest Moro group in Mindanao after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Ebrahim Murad.
Both the MILF and MNLF have joined government efforts to create a new autonomous Bangsamoro nation covering Muslim-dominated parts of the Philippines’ southern island. The Philippine Congress, however, is still hammering out final amendments leading to the approval of the Bangsamoro Bsic Law.
“Teka, huwag muna, huwag muna,” Duterte said of Misuari’s proposal for MNLF fighters to help campaign against the terrorists.
Misuari offered the help of his fighters during a recent meeting with the President in “Panacanang Palace” in Davao City. Panacanang Palace, located in Barangay Panacan, is Mindanao’s version of Malacanang Palace, the President’s official home in the capital.
Earlier, in Cagayan de Oro City, the President said he accepted Misuari’s offer.
“Kaya natin yan sila (terrorists) konti lang yan sila, not in a million years they can defeat us,” he added somersaulting on his previous statement accepting Misuari’ s to offer to help.
He also reiterated his offer to the New People’s Army (NPA) fighters to surrender. “Surrender kayo, gagawin ko kayong sundalo ng gobyerno,” he said.
In the same venue, President Duterte announced that arrested Police Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza, former PNP Crime Laboratory deputy director for Region 11 (Davao City), was the conduit of ISIS to Abu Sayyaf.
Nobleza, a “Balik Islam” married to an Abu Sayyaf member, was arrested in Bohol trying to rescue beleaguered ASG fighters.
To the soldiers, the President said: “I asked you to never waver the commitment to defend the republic from all threats, especially of terrorism, criminality and illegal drugs and insurgency.” (PNA)
“You can count on us, Mr. President”
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari pledged support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s search for lasting peace in volatile Mindanao, during a historic meeting with the President in Malacanang on Thursday, November 3.
The President recognizes Misuari’s key role in bringing peace in Mindanao, for decades wracked by fighting between government troopers and Moro rebels that has killed thousands and displaced countless numbers of civilians.
Misuari, who launched a secessionist campaign for a Moro homeland in Mindanao in the late 60s, is the poster boy of the Bangsamoro struggle.
“It is with great happiness that I announce to the nation that Chairman Nur Misuari, our brother, has finally decided to accept my invitation for him to talk to us,” the President said in his welcome speech.
President Duterte invited fugitive Misuari for the Palace meeting with assurance of safe passage.
Misuari and several MNLF commanders are facing non-bailable charges of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.
The warrant for Misuari’s arrest has been suspended by the court on request of the President to allow the MNLF leader to meet with him to talk peace in Malacanang.
Upon the MNLF founder’s arrival at the Palace, President Duterte and Misuari met behind closed doors before facing the media.
The MNLF, founded by Misuari in 1969, is the second biggest Moro group that has been fighting the government for autonomy for the Bangsamoro people, the now minority original settlers of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.
The government inked a peace pact two years ago with the other Moro group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group that broke away from the MNLF.
The Philippine Congress is now deliberating on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), that would create a new juridical entity covering Muslim-dominated parts of Mindanao. The Moro problem is seen as the biggest stumbling block to the development of the agriculture- and mineral-rich island where Moro militants have been fighting the Manila government for than five decades.
“I believe, as I said during the (election) campaign, there is one single man who can provide solutions to the problem of peace and order in our homeland of Mindanao,” said President Duterte in his speech at the simple welcome ceremony for Misuari.
The President won the May 2016 election with a landslide with a vow to end bureaucratic corruption and crime, and finding solutions to the Moro and communist insurgency problem, which hobbled the country’s march to progress and development.
Misuari and the MNLF, which already inked a peace pact with the government during the Cory Aquino presidency, do not acknowledge the government’s peace negotiation with the MILF. Davao City and then Mayor Duterte played key role in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF by hosting several Tripartite Conferences and Ministerial Meetings that led to the signing of the historic pact.
Misuari was the first Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that was created as an offshoot of the Final Peace Agreement.
Misuari’s meeting with the President is fresh air that could invigorate efforts to find lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and my promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” Misuari said in his speech after he was warmly welcomed by President Duterte, his old friend.
Misuari emerged from his hide-out in Jolo, Sulu for the historic Malacanang meeting with the President after a court suspended for six months execution of an arrest warrant against him. He was fetched by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza who had a copy of the decision of a Pasig City court to suspend the arrest warrant against Misuari in connection with the 2013 siege.
In his speech, an elated Misuari thanked President Duterte for his temporary liberty, and described the President as the “man who I respect and trust.”
Help me create a “country that is really just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come, ” the President asked Misuari.
“I assure you, we will come up with the modality and then of course, how to place us in our proper homeland, our Mindanao, and that we will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority,” the President told Misuari.
The President reiterated to Misuari his election campaign commitment to bring peace and development to Mindanao, his advocacy for a shift to a federal form of government, and his promise to step down from the presidency after a federal government is established.
Duterte admitted that injustice has been done against the Bangsamoro people, but hoped to remedy this by working together with Misuari and the Bangsamoro.