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EDITORIAL
28 November 2016

BANGSAMORO HISTORICAL NOTES

ROADMAP TO MNLF-DUTERTE GOVERNMENT PEACE TALKS
(PART II)
SHARING CLEAR VISION FOR MINDANAO PEACE

“With the inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1935 and the attainment of full independence in 1946, it was assumed that the Mindanao policies instituted by past colonial regimes would be scrapped…To the dismay of the Mindanaoans, the Manila government turned out to be a worse colonizer.”

-Reuben R. Canoy
Chairman, Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM), 1975

Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari of the Central Committee, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), has always steered the Bangsamoro people’s liberation struggle from the beginning since the 1960s to achieve justice, peace and freedom. This was always the clamor and sentiments of the oppressed and colonized Tri-People (Muslim, Lumad and Christian) of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA).

MNLF CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER PROF. NUR MISUARI: Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari of the Central Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was inspired by the Algerian people’s revolution against the French government to have founded the MNLF immediately after the Jabidah massacre in Corigidor Island on August 18, 1968. Since the MNLF-launched Bangsamoro freedom struggle in the 1960s, he has led the MNLF freedom fighters in defensive war and peace negotiations against the Philippine colonial government that repeatedly betrayed Mindanao peace. Today, he has expressed “respect” and “trust” on the Duterte government to right the historical wrong to achieve Mindanao peace.


On this positive note, the MNLF leadership agreed and accepted the diplomatic mediation of then Organization of Islamic Conference (now ‘Cooperation’) OIC to close curtain on the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao on the strength of peaceful settlement. Unable to defeat the MNLF freedom fighters in the battlefields of the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, the Marcos government in the 1970s sought the intervention of the OIC in sponsoring the peace talks between the Philippine government and MNLF in Tripoli, Libya.

The peace parley led to the forging of the “historical 1976 Tripoli Agreement” that in substance stipulated the establishment of meaningful autonomy in 13 provinces and 8 cities in Mindanao. For the sake of peace, the MNLF leadership reluctantly settled for autonomy instead of pursuing the original objective of independence and national self-determination. It had to vow to the wishful appeal of the OIC leadership.

However, the decision led to the cleavage of the MNLF rank and file that the Marcos government apparently instigated from the start. Adopting the colonial divide.rule.destroy strategy coupled with accommodation and cooptation policy, the Manila government orchestrated in fragmenting the Bangsamoro people and freedom fighters.

The 50-batch member MNLF and first designated Vice-Chairman Abul Khayr Alonto was invited by the Marcos government to abandon militant freedom struggle. He was appointed legislative assembly speaker of the Marcos-created Region 12 autonomous political set-up.

The succeeding MNLF Vice-Chairman Dimas Pundato bolted from the mother organization to organize the MNLF Reformist Group. He later returned to the fold of Philippine law under the Aquino and Ramos government to be appointed as Executive Director of Malacanang’s Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA).

On one hand, the MNLF Foreign Affairs Chairman Ustaj Salamat Hashim also split from the leadership premised on ideological difference. He later formed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 1982 to become its first chairman. He decided to pursue the armed freedom struggle for an independent Islamic Bangsamoro state, but never succeeded up to his natural demise on July, 2003.

Although with the forging of the Tripoli agreement in 1976, the Marcos regime designed a duplicitous political endgame by establishing farcical autonomous governments, comprising of Region 9 and Region 12. The two-layer cosmetic autonomy was also composed of hand-picked traditional political stooges in order to divide, destroy, and rule further the colonized victims of Philippine colonialism.

Furthermore, the Marcos dictatorship deceptively divided the MNLF cadre officers and mass supporters in ensnaring the civilian leaders with political power and monetary considerations Alas, leading to their convenient capitulation. But the Marcosian treacherous strategy also cost the lives of the Jolo-based Tabak Division Command Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista and several high ranking officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Clearly, the deceptive stratagem of the Marcos regime led only to worsen the continuation of the Filipino-imposed genocide war, marking the beginning of the betrayal of Mindanao peace by the Manila-based political leaders.

The betrayal of Mindanao peace was again repeated by the Manila government under President Corazon C. Aquino, who even arranged a face-to-face meeting with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari in Jolo. This was to drumbeat the importance of Mindanao peace with the promising end view to end the Mindanao war.

The unprecedented historic Jolo meeting led to the forging of the Jeddah Peace Accord in 1987 based on the implementation letter and spirit of the international 1976 Tripoli agreement. But the Aquino government reneged on its commitment. It instead deceptively convinced the MNLF leadership to accept a “ten plus three provinces” formula. It designed the establishment of immediate autonomy in ten provinces minus Davao, North Cotabato and Palawan, which would presumably be implemented later by the Philippine Aquino government.

Discerning just another treacherous plan by the Manila government, the MNLF leadership rejected the proposal as contrary to the letter and spirit of the Tripoli agreement.

Thus, Mindanao peace was betrayed for the second time around by the Aquino government. It pursued in maneuvering with the rubber stamp Philippine Congress and COMELEC-rigged election in establishing a fake 4-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The fraudulent ARMM was totally rejected by both the MNLF and OIC as it would not establish just and durable peace in war-torn Mindanao. But, on the contrary, would only mean resulting to prolonging the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao.

Giving peace maximum chance to succeed in 1992, the Philippine Ramos government engaged the MNLF in peace dialogue that resulted in the signing of the September 2, 1996 GRP-OIC-MNLF Jakarta Peace Agreements. Dubbed as the Final Peace Agreement (FPA), President Fidel V. Ramos issued a presidential decree establishing the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) in the so-called Zone of Peace and Development (ZOPAD) in Mindanao. The political will was in consonant with the stipulation of 13-province and 8-city Tripoli agreement.

Programmed as gradual implementing mechanism, the SPCPD though was without political and monetary budget empowerment. It would expectedly serve only a monitoring political instrument to oversee the development of Mindanao by the Manila government.

Nonetheless, MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari was persuaded by the Ramos government to become SPCPD chairman and also ARMM governor which accordingly would help technically the political and monetary empowerment of SPCPD. The temporary political arrangement garnered relative peace in Mindanao under the 6-year Ramos watch.

However, the succeeding Manila-based political leaders, President Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, totally ignored the correct and complete implementation of the 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements that included the Tripoli agreement.

Showing total disregard for Mindanao peace, the Estrada administration declared an “all-out war” against Chairman Ustaj Salamat Hashim-led Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that resulted in the capture of the ‘Caliph as-Siddique Abubakar’ MILF major camp. But the massive AFP Cotabato invasion resulted also in massive humanitarian disaster, dislocating close to a million homeless Muslim and Lumad natives as well as Christian settlers in war zone Mindanao.

Observing the sanctity of the peace process, the MNLF closely monitored the AFP-MILF war and extended humanitarian aid to the civilian evacuees including sheltering some of the Muslim combatant refugees.

In the same vein, after politically maneuvering the replacement of the short-lived Estrada watch, the Arroyo government pursued the war against the MILF as it completely abandoned the correct implementation of the 1996 peace agreement. It later conspired with Malaysia Mahathir government to conduct peace talks with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur.

MAHATHIR AND ARROYO GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY

The Arroyo government and MILF held series of peace negotiations in Kuala Lumpur under the auspices of the Malaysia government. But the peace dialogue was from the beginning shrouded in deliberate conspiracy to serve the colonial interest of both the Manila government and Mahathir-led Malaysia regime. The MILF wholeheartedly embraced the conspiracy to highlight its awkward role as the backbone of the Bangsamoro people’s revolution. Both the colonial Philippine and Malaysia media projected the peace talks as the ultimate key to Mindanao peace and started in picturing the MNLF as a “spent force”.

However, it only came to pass that the Arroyo and Mahathir regime conspiracy involved further dividing the Bangsamoro people and MNLF leadership. In the process the whole plan included the hidden agenda to the total obliteration of the Sulu Sultanate-authorized Philippine Sabah claim coupled with again the grand design in betraying Mindanao peace. This revolved on discrediting the Tausug MNLF chairman and replacing the MNLF leadership with a Maguindanao-led Executive Council 15-member MNLF group (EC-15 MNLF) that was created by both government conspirators.  

Under former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimen Sema, the so-called EC-15 MNLF subservient stooges shrewdly conducted several meetings in Kuala Lumpur and Malacanang-paid hotels in Manila in implementing the ugly conspiracy. It ridiculously strategized to make MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari as merely “chairman emeritus” of the MNLF Central Committee subordinated to the EC-15 MNLF “traitors.”

The blatant conspiracy included further the mysterious arrest of the MNLF chairman in Sabah on a flimsy excuse of ‘illegal entry’, and his controversial surrender by the Mahathir government to the Philippine Arroyo government. Yet the ‘back door’ Sabah route has been used by the Bangsamoro leader since the time the MNLF was used as a “buffer zone” in protecting Malaysia against the ambitious program of President/Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to invade North Borneo starting in the late 1960s.

Totally ignoring the 1996 peace agreement, the Arroyo regime obligated itself to establish the 5-province ARMM version in a bid to end the Mindanao war. But the new concept ARMM miserably failed also to attain Mindanao peace. A full blown war between AFP troops and MNLF forces immediately erupted after the MNLF chair totally abandoned the governorship of ARMM. The MNLF decided in reversing back to its original objective of freedom struggle for independence and national self-determination for the Filipino-colonized Bangsamoro people.  

The up-graded ARMM was only converted by the Arroyo administration into the media-ridiculed “cheating capital” of Philippine election that resulted to the controversial winning of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over the “king of Philippine movies” Fernando Poe, Jr.

On the case of the MNLF chairman, the patriarch of the Bangsamoro people’s Jihad Fi-Sabilillah (struggle in the way of Allah) was charged by the Arroyo dispensation for “rebellion.” He was incarcerated in Santa Rosa and later in New Manila area for almost five years.

The Manila government was forced to release him after the OIC leadership pleaded for his liberty as a principal signatory to the MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements of September 2, 1996 that needed to be correctly and fully implemented by the Philippine government. The OIC leadership also sent a 5-member fact-finding commission to Mindanao in determining the actual gains of the 1996 peace agreement that the Manila government refused to implement.

Under the succeeding Aquino II government, karmic justice played a key hand role leading to the sudden airport arrest and hospital imprisonment of President-turned-Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for several years. She was years later released by the Supreme Court decision under the Duterte government.

Duplicating the political course of action taken by the Marcos, Aquino, Estrada and Arroyo dispensation, the Manila government under President Benigno S. Aquino also disregarded the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement. It attempted in deceiving the people that the ARMM, calling it a “failed experiment”, was the product of the 1996 GRP-OIC-MNLF Jakarta Peace Agreements.

The treacherous move of the Manila government in sidelining the MNLF in the peace process also led to the September 2013 AFP-MNLF war in Zamboanga City, causing the burning by AFP soldiers of more than 10,000 Muslim houses in six villages. The 19-day urban bloody battle was quite similar with the February 1974 AFP-MNLF Jolo war that resulted to the total burning of the capital town by indiscriminate Philippine military war machine land, air and sea bombardments.  

The observation of Jun Ledesma in Sun Star Davao, November 6, 2016, clearly illustrated the Zamboanga City AFP-MNLF war. He wrote: “The unexpected armed confrontation ensued leading to the loss of so many lives mostly civilians and MNLF elements. The government action was liken to that of burning one’s house to get rid of a rat.”

            “True to form the Aquino government had to blame others except themselves. They filed cases of rebellion, crime against humanitarian law and genocide against Misuari stonewalling the fact that they ordered the bombing of the entire district in the urban center of Zamboanga City resulting in the casualties and destruction of properties amounting to P32 billion in government estimate.”

            “As in the case of negotiating with the CPP, NPA and the NDF, discussing peace with rebels in the conflict areas of Mindanao means talking to MILF, MNLF, the Indigenous People and the Christian communities. Conscripting the MNLF in the peace process is an exigency otherwise the talk will have no value at all.”

            “Professor and rebel leader Misuari therefore has to be a principal participant in the process.”

The BSAquino administration conspired again with Najib Razak-led Malaysia government in expediting the so-called GPH-MILF peace talks in Kuala Lumpur to produce the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB), Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) and finally the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The political expediency was to solve presumably the Mindanao conflict. But at the end of the day, two factors occurred that led to the natural death of BBL in Philippine Congress. The March 2013 Lahad Datu (Sabah) war between the federal Malaysian soldiers against the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (SSNB) royal forces, and the February 2014 Mamapasano invasion.

While the Arroyo government sided with Malaysia to condemn the daring initiative of the SSNB under then Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Kiram III, it sanctioned the clandestine PNP SAF Mamapasano invasion targeting one single bomb-making “Malaysian terrorist” (Zulkifli bin Hir aka ‘Marwan’). The highly-strange Mamapasano invasion led to the mass killing of 44 police invaders and 12 Muslim combatants and civilians in Maguindanao. It was even reported that U.S. soldiers (‘occidental-looking’) participated and some were killed, but the Manila government profusely denied this.

The wanton arrogance of BSAquino watch not to recognize the monumental value and pivotal key to Mindanao peace of the 1996 peace agreement, and mismanagement of government affairs proved its disastrous political defeat in the May 9, 2016 electoral exercise. The worldwide Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), poor masses, professionals, youths and women sector overwhelmingly catapulted to the presidency the reluctant Mindanao-based candidate, Rodrigo R. Duterte. He was Davao City mayor for 22 years and transformed the urban metropolis into one of the ten safest cities in the world.

SHARING THE CLEAR VISION FOR MINDANAO PEACE

In the thick of the 2016 political campaign and post period, the reform-conscious Mindanaoan leader, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, has always grounded his political conviction on waging a war against illegal drug/shabu, massive corruption in all government branches and instituting peace in the troubled nation, especially in war-torn Mindanao. He cited the three major factors as the shocking perennial cause of widespread criminality and deterioration of public order, security and stagnant decadent status quo.    

Today, the Duterte government has positively conducted peace talks with the NDF/CPP/NPA nationalists under the re-invigorated Jesus Dureza-led Office of the Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP). The OPAPP was simply a dismal failure in the past Aquino regime to recognize the true value of peace. It instead acted in duplicity and created uncertainties to enflame the scourge of war. Worst, it only prided itself utilizing pork barrel “Pamana” funds in pursuit of sub-dividing further the Bangsamoro people and freedom fighters.

Thus, this crystal anomaly on conducting workable peace process is one moral lesson for the MNLF-Duterte government peace talks to succeed.

COMMITMENT TO ACHIEVE MINDANAO PEACE

How can the MNLF and Duterte government ensure Mindanao peace?

The elusive Mindanao peace has always become a baffling quandary to the various stakeholders. The Manila-based colonialist political leaders, the Bangsamoro people and freedom fighters and the well-wishing Non-Government Oganizations (NGOs) and other individual peace advocates, who have actively involved in the peace process to witness the reality of a feasible political and peaceful settlement to the decades-long Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao.

However, the elusive Mindanao peace has remained as that because the Manila government always stick to “constitutional” and “sovereignty” issue to solve the Mindanao conflict. On the other end, the MNLF sees the “constitutional” and “sovereignty” issue as only plainly patronizing “legalized land-grabbing” and “injustice”. Worst, the Manila government has had only embraced the draconian Commonwealth Quezon-designed Quirino-Recto Colonization Act of February 12, 1935 and the Marcos regime-created war of genocide against the Bangsamoro colonized victims.

Thus, it’s only morally right that both President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Mindanao Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo have openly declared that “injustice” is the root cause of the centuries-old Mindanao conflict.

The Mindanao-based conscious Filipino leader has repeatedly reminded both the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities that long before the Spanish invaders under Ferdinand Magellan reached Visayan Island, the Muslims (‘Moros’) already inhabited Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. He has bluntly expressed that ‘historical injustice’ has to be addressed towards the positive achievement of Mindanao peace. He also posited for the establishment of a “Bangsamoro nation” to finally end the Mindanao war.

In the case of Mindanao Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, who is also Archbishop of Cotabato, he clearly illustrated that “the root of Moro conflict is injustice.” He further stressed:

“This injustice has several sub-roots that are the major factors at the heart of the contemporary Moro movement for freedom. I refer to the movements historical, cultural, social, economic political and religious dimensions…let me treat just three injustices among the several that I see.”

“Injustice to the Moro identity, injustice to Moro Political Sovereignty and injustice to Moro Integral Development.”

Cardinal Quevedo further vividly explained:

"The various campaigns, military and otherwise by Spanish, American and Filipino governments to subjugate, assimilate and integrate the Bangsamoro into the mainstream body politic, apparently without regard to their historical and cultural make-up is an injustice to the Banagsamoro’s religious, cultural and political identity.”

“Many Moro leaders vehemently resisted being called Filipinos (original offspring of Spanish soldiers and friars in Luzon and Visayan Islands). They protested against the independence movement of the Filipinos, preferring even to remain under the American flag ruler rather than be independent and yet be under ‘Christian Filipinos.”

"It is on the basis of historical record that I come to the following conclusion: for the Bangsamoro the gradual loss of their sovereignty to the American and later to the Philippine government was a fundamental injustice, even though some of their leaders who served in government might have acquiesced.”

"With the loss of political sovereignty came the loss of great chunks of Moro ancestral lands. Much of the loss resulted from a long series of legal enactments by the Philippine Commission, the Commonwealth government, and the post-independence government. Moro writers call this “legalized land-grabbing.” Land registration, declaration of public land, mining, cadastral surveys, creation of agricultural colonies, procedures for land ownership, land settlements – all these legal realities, often without the proper understanding of the Moro people, drastically reduced the areas of ancestral domain and benefited the Christian population. By 1976 Moros owned less than 17% of the Mindanao land they once owned almost exclusively before the Spaniards came.”

CARDINAL ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO: Mindanao Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo is also Archbishop of Cotabato. He has consciously informed the Filipinos in the Philippines and America that the root cause of the Filipino-Moro conflict in Mindanao is grounded on “injustice” that Manila-based political leaders have totally ignored leading to prolonging the Mindanao war.


“The loss of land was compounded by government neglect of the Moro right to integral development during the Commonwealth and post-independence governments.”

“The root answer to those questions is simple. Justice to the Moro identity and sovereignty must be seriously respected.”    

On this note, the Manila-based Filipino lawmakers, government workers, media practitioners, academicians and so-called constitutionalists should see the light of truth. Simply, Philippine colonialism is land-grabbing and deeply-rooted grievous injustice. The gross injustice was also inflicted by the Spanish, American and Japanese colonialist land-grabbers and the naked injustice is still perpetrated today by the Manila-based Filipino colonizers.

Worst, under the present decadent political set-up, this is aggravated by the refusal of the Manila government to seriously decentralize power. It has remained stagnant only to control and monopolize economic and political largesse to favor family members and capitalist oligarch cronies. Most of the Manila-based political leaders care less on the Philippines being ridiculed as “most corrupt nation” and “sick man of Asia” as long as they continue to stay in power, enriching themselves with pork barrel (‘PDAF and DAF’) funds.

On the crucial road to reformation, the Duterte government has openly declared federalism as the cure to the socio-economic and political inequities pestering the Philippines. Of course, the dilemma is clearly due to centralized power monopolized by the shameless Luzon-based politicians.

The Duterte government has strongly advocated for both the Houses of Philippine Congress to amend the Constitution in order to adopt a unicameral federal set-up. The political advocacy is to guarantee equal representation in a corrupt-free governance and wealth-sharing of the people of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The Duterte administration is also anchored on the belief that federalism is to generate Mindanao peace because the continuance of the present decadent political order would only mean continuous war. And probably result to the “disintegration” of the Philippine Republic.

It is recalled that the America-created Philippine Republic was only formed in 1946 with the immoral annexation of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, and the Cordillera Region (‘Mountain Province’) of the Bangsamoro and Igorot Peoples. This was borne by the historical fact that the Moros and Igorots already observed independence and sovereignty before the conquest crusade of the Catholic Spanish, Christian American, Budhist Japanese and Christian Catholic Filipino colonizers.

IS FEDERALISM THE KEY TO PEACE IN MINDANAO AND FILIPINO NATION?

The Malacanang Palace November 3, 2016 meeting of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and President Rodrigo R. Duterte surely impacted on the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities the real value of achieving “just and lasting peace” in war-ravaged Mindanao.

The meeting was made possible by the Duterte government when it suspended the arrest warrant on the MNLF chairman for six months. This was to enable the MNLF chair to participate actively in the peace process. President Duterte boldly announced: “We cannot deprive you, Brother Nur, of your liberty.”

It is keenly observed that the ‘imperial’ Manila government had always used the threat of ‘rebellion’ to erase the MNLF-launched Bangsamoro freedom struggle to no avail. But it had only succeeded to repeatedly betray Mindanao peace by continuing the genocide war against the colonized victims.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R.DUTERTE AND CHAIRMAN PROF. NUR MISUARI: President Rodrigo R. Duterte invited Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari to Malacanang, Manila, in November 3, 2016 to give importance to achieving just and lasting peace in Mindanao. He also asked the MNLF chairman to render a short talk in the presidential podium in marking the milestone event.


In the same Malacanang occasion, Chairman Misuari also said that he has only high respect and trust on the Mindanaoan president. He has always maintained: “I believe as I said during the campaign, that this one single man can provide a solution to the problem of peace and order in our homeland.”

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. DUTERTE, CHAIRMAN PROF. NUR MISUARI AND SECRETARY JESUS DUREZA: Mindanao-based Filipino leaders, President Rodrigo R. Duterte and OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza warmly welcomed MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari to Malacanang (‘People’s Palace’) on November 3, 2016.


The political move of the Duterte government in suspending the warrant of arrest on the MNLF chairman was based on the observation of Judge Maria Rowina Modestro-San Pedro of the Regional Trial Court Branch 158 in Pasig City. She noted that Misuari’s authority to represent his group has been consistently recognized by both the Philippine government and OIC.

Furthermore, the NDF leader (consultant) Alfredo ‘Ka Paris’ Mapano, welcomed   the suspension of the arrest warrant against MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari. He said that it has allowed the Moro leader to take part in talks to end the ‘Moro rebellion’ peacefully.

Moreover, Father Angel Calvo, a peace advocate and Claretian priest, found it a “good move” by the Duterte administration to suspend the arrest of Misuari. As head of the Peace Advocates of Zamboanga, the Catholic priest said while he understands the feelings of the people of Zamboanga City he emphasized the fact that,  “if we think deeper about real peace, this is a noble move to reach the point of  genuine healing.”

Thus, the concerned stakeholders have expressed positively on overcoming the elusive Mindanao peace. But what about the other concerns that may thwart the comprehensive political peaceful settlement to the Mindanao problem.

FLASH POINTS ON MINDANAO PEACE

True to form as a consistent revolutionary leader, Chairman Nur Misuari raised three flash points for the Duterte government to be wary of leading to the attainment of durable Mindanao peace.

Given by President Duterte in delivering a short talk in the Malacanang presidential podium, the MNLF chairman underscored three major points dealing on the value of peace, illegal drug menace and the role of Malaysia Mahathir regime in the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping.The MNLF chairman warmly welcomed the genuine move of the Duterte government to enshrine Mindanao peace that most of the previous Manila-based political leaders only repeatedly betrayed. He also agreed with the on-going government war to eliminate the illegal drug menace for he has also considered drug/shabu problem “a restless creeping threat to humanity” that is “one of the biggest sources of crime to humanity.”

The Bangsamoro leader also has openly brought to task the direct involvement of Malaysia in the kidnapping for ransom activity. He also hinted that the MNLF shall one day “drag the Malaysian leaders to the International Criminal Court.” He particularly cited the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping of foreign tourists under the Mahathir government that conspired to destroy the integrity of the Bangsamoro people, particularly the Tausug (Suluk) society of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo SSNB).

The MNLF leadership has always viewed the Mahathir regime-designed 2000 Sipadan kidnapping of multiple foreign tourists a diversionary strategy. The sudden mass abduction was carried out by Mahathir military government operatives in distracting the attention of the whole humanity on the April, 2000 controversial court trial of the popular deposed Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on trumped up charges of “sodomy” and “corruption.”

The kidnapping was also meant to discredit the leadership of both Philippine President Joseph E. Estrada and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari, who was then ARMM governor. Both leaders were closely associated with the deposed Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who today is recognized as the supreme de facto leader of the major opposition party.

It also portends to the beginning of the sinister plot of the shrewd Machiavellian Malaysian ruler to stain the revolutionary image of the Tausug MNLF chairman. The Mahathir regime conspired later with the Arroyo government to replace the Bangsamoro Tausug leader with a hand-picked Maguindanao puppet, who has no interest at all with SSNB-authorized Philippine Sabah claim.

The kidnapped victims were first transacted by a certain Malaysian officer ‘Captain Zakariya’ to be secured by MNLF cadre officers in Maimbung under the command of Field Marshall Utoh Abuh. But the MNLF field commander refused to take part in the kidnapping activity as it was unlawful and forbidden in Islam. The Malaysian operatives were forced to connive with ‘Commander Robot’ of the Abu Sayyaf group. The kidnapping incident became headline news for several months.

SEPARATE PEACE TALKS FOR THE MNLF-DUTERTE GOVERNMENT

Giving importance to finally end the Mindanao war, President Rodrigo R. Duterte has openly declared that, “in principle we have agreed to stop the war.”

After two exclusive interviews of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari with the media correspondents of ‘Duterte Defenders Society’ (DDS) and ‘CNN Philippines,’ he clearly explained to them that he could not in all conscience join the peace talks involving MILF and government under the sponsorship of Malaysia.

It is commonly known to the MNLF leadership that the GPH-MILF peace talks have been from the beginning a conspiracy conceived by the Arroyo and

CHAIRMAN PROF. NUR MISUARI: Compared and recognized as the legendary ‘Yasser Arafat’ of Asia, MNLF Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari has spearheaded the Bangsamoro people liberation struggle to achieve justice, freedom and peace for more than forty years. He has always shown inclination to peaceful settlement of the Mindanao problem. But he has also proven steadfastness and perseverance in waging a dynamic militant armed struggle to advance the sacred cause of the Tri-People (Lumad, Muslim and Christian) of Mindanao.


Mahathir government in deceiving humanity on the pretext of achieving Mindanao peace. But the ultimate failure was always expected by the Bangsamoro learned sector, particularly the Tausug youth and professionals.

Thus, the OPAPP chieftain Jesus Dureza said that the government would conduct separate talks with the Moro National Liberation Front to keep the MNLF chairman in the peace process. This was after the Bangsamoro leader revealed the extensive infiltration by MNLF “traitors” of the GPH-MILF peace talks under the previous Aquino government.  

The decision of the Duterte government was viewed as a positive sign by the Philippine Council on Peace and Development (PCPC). The Council President Amina Rasul said: “It is the prerogative of the government to initiate another round of talks with MNLF Chair Misuari, since both MNLF and MILF do not agree to be together in one panel.”

On positive development, the MNLF leadership has submitted a 5-member peace panel to meet the Duterte government counterpart. It could be expected that the substantial MNLF-Duterte government peace talks would surely deal to work on the completion of the implementation of the ‘Final Peace Agreement’ signed by the Philippine government, MNLF and OIC on September 2, 1996.

Based on the Tripartite Review done by the Philippine government, MNLF and the OIC from 2007 to 2015, the parties involved had agreed on 42 consensus points on provisions of Republic Act 9054. The joint MNLF-OIC-GRP Tripartite Committee wanted to amend and to ‘enhance’ the Aquino-created artificial ARMM to be rightfully replaced by the MNLF-envisioned Bangsamoro Autonomous Government (BAG).

Giving impetus momentum to the success of the MNLF-Duterte peace talks, Chairman Nur Misuari has again inclined to complete peaceful settlement of the Mindanao war by abandoning ‘independence’ posture for the sake of Mindanao peace. This is also aimed to promote the general welfare of the multi-racial Tri-People (Muslim and Animist Lumad natives as well as Christian settlers) of Mindanao.

In moving forward the peace process, the MNLF chairman was given permission by the Duterte government to travel to Saudi Arabia in order to confer with the OIC secretary general in the Jeddah GHQ related to the gains of the 1996 peace agreement.  

Hence, it is apparently “all systems go” for Mindanao peace after the meeting of the Filipino and Bangsamoro leaders in Malacanang.

On this note, God willing, the decades-long elusive Mindanao peace will be overcome by the reality of the final end to the nagging Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao! –osm/mnlfnet.com

 

    

 
 

 

   

   

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