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EDITORIAL
29 September 2014

BANGSAMORO HISTORICAL NOTES

“THERE HAS TO BE A BANGSAMORO NATION.”
– MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE

 

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City is one of the peace-conscious Mindanao leaders, who has had continuously urged the Philippine government to bring Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to the negotiating table.

“There has to be a Bangsamoro nation,” said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He is batting strongly for a federal government set-up for the war-wracked and corrupt-ridden Philippines in order to solve the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao. Knowing fully well that MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari has a key role in ensuring peace in war-torn Mindanao, the Davao City mayor has advised the Aquino government not to ignore the capability of the MNLF chairman in helping forge peace in Mindanao.

He emphasized the fact that the MNLF chairman remains to be a force to reckon with when it comes to Mindanao peace. He also reminded the Manila government that Chairman Misuari could still compel the Philippine government to make good of its promise based on the historical Tripoli Peace Agreement it signed decades ago with the MNLF. The Philippine government under President/Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos reneged on its commitment to implement the letter and spirit of the Tripoli agreement by unilaterally establishing two farcical autonomous governments in Mindanao manned by his political stooges. The political blunder led to continuous bloody war instead of Mindanao peace.

In his radio program, Mayor Duterte reiterated again his call to the Aquino government not to forget Chairman Misuari. He emphasized: “For all of his faults, Misuari is still a man to reckon with. Forget the Zamboanga incident (September 9-20, 2013 AFP-MNLF war) for a while, we have to talk with him if you want peace.”

The call of the Davao City mayor was issued after Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Peace Process (OPAPP) said congressional consultations on the Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL) can still be successful even without the participation of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari, who is asking for something that the BBL cannot provide.

On one hand, what she also meant by being successful is for Philippine Congress to mangle the BBL as it did to the 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements in coming out with another failure version 5-province autonomous government in Mindanao. The revised version Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) created by Philippine Congress under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was rejected by both the MNLF and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) because it contravened again the letter and spirit of the 1996 final peace agreement. As OPAPP head under the Arroyo government, Secretary Deles played an active role in betraying Mindanao peace for the third time. The stark betrayal of Mindanao peace started with the Marcos government in 1976 and repeated by the Aquino government

in 1987. The Philippine government just refused to correctly implement the international binding Tripoli peace agreement by only coming out with a Philippine Congress-created version that was rejected by the OIC and MNLF.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also admitted that he himself has some misgivings on the BBL, particularly on the territorial issues. But, he expressed the hope that the BBL will be enacted into law by the Philippine Congress for the sake of peace.

Nonetheless, similar to former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who does not see the prospect of permanent peace in Mindanao with even the enactment into law of BBL under the present government system, Mayor Duterte also shared the view that the only way to attain durable and lasting peace in Mindanao is to adopt a federal system of government. The former Mindanaoan Senator Pimentel is also strongly advocating for a federal form of government for the Filipino nation to resolve the Mindanao conflict.

In strongly positing for federalism to solve comprehensively the Mindanao war and calling the attention of the Aquino government, the Davao City mayor illuminated: “I hold it as an article of faith, the only way you can really attain peace is to go federal. We cannot give you (Bangsamoro people) back the land that was taken from you, but allow us to offer you a nation…There has to be a Bangsamoro nation, and to the Misuari side, give them a nation too. Otherwise, we will have nothing.”



On the other hand, after the views have been said, read and dissected, one of the pillars of the Bangsamoro Mujahidat (lady freedom fighters), Madam Isnira Arap Baginda, expressed her viewpoint on the Bangsamoro nation issue. She simply said, “we already have, what we need is a State.” She could be referring to the MNLF-proclaimed United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik (UFSBR) that is today seeking sovereignty recognition in the United Nations (UN) and throughout the world.

MNLF CHAIRMAN WELCOMES OIC-SPONSORED MNLF-MILF
MEETING IN OCTOBER

Related to the development of the elusive Mindanao peace, Chairman Nur Misuari was informed by the MNLF Foreign Affairs Secretary General Al-Ustaj Abdulbaki Abubakar that the OIC General Secretariat has decided to convene a meeting of the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF) between the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Manila on October 13, 2004. The Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum was formed in June 2004 by the OIC with the active participation of both MNLF Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari and MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim. It was established by the OIC as a venue for cooperation between the MNLF and MILF in putting Mindanao peace forward for comprehensive solution.

The scheduled BCF meeting is be presided by Ambassador Syed El-Masry, who is the representative of the Egyptian government and OIC special envoy to the Philippines. Egypt is now heading the OIC Ministerial Committee tasked to monitor and solve the Bangsamoro Question that is annually discussed in the

plenary session of the Islamic Cooperation of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) conferences. The special OIC committee is composed of Egypt, Indonesia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Turkey, Malaysia, Brunei and Bangladesh.

The MNLF is recognized a Permanent Observer in the OIC and Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari is looked upon as the official representative and spokesman of the Bangsamoro people of Filipino-occupied Mindanao in the 58-nation pan Islamic body. The MNLF is also an Observer Member of the OIC Parliamentary Union of Islamic Conference (PUIC) as approved during the 7th PUIC Global Session held in Palembang, Indonesia in 2013. The MNLF-Bangsamoro People’s National Congress under Chairman Sharif Zain Jali has a direct formal liaison with PUIC with regards to the affairs of the Muslim and Animist Lumad natives of Mindanao.

On the BBL issue, the OIC has rejected the GPH-MILF peace agreement on the moral ground that it is contrary to the salient provision of both the 1976 Tripoli Peace Agreement and 1996 Jakarta Peace Agreement calling for the establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous government in 13-provinces and 9-cities in Mindanao. The Philippine government has been implementing its unilateral version characterized by the ARMM and soon again by the projected BBL concept under the new Aquino government. President Benigno S. Aquino III belittled the ARMM created by his mother’s administration and only upgraded by the Arroyo government into 5-province ARMM as a “failed experiment” by replacing it with his own version autonomous government to be called simply “Bangsamoro.”

On this development, when MNLF Chairman Misuari was invited by Philippine Congress to attend the congressional sessions, he officially rejected the invitation. He was conscious of the fact that BBL was rejected by the OIC and also to follow the advice of MNLF leaders, like Reverend Absalom Cerveza. The MNLF Peace Panel Chair Reverend Cerveza suggested to Chairman Misuari not to attend the hearing because it is very dangerous. He clearly said that “there is no guarantee because the Executive and the Judiciary are in collision.” He further expressed that he cannot be convinced that the Aquino government would issue a safe-conduct pass to the MNLF chairman, who is better off in his home island protected by 30,000 Moro warriors.

Chairman Misuari was personally informed by the MNLF legal counsel Atty. Ely Velez Pamatong on the invitation to attend the BBL congressional sessions in Manila. But he courteously declined explaining that “government knows everything there is to know on his views.” He further added that “GRP knows everything there is to know about my view on the Bangsamoro people and their dream of independence.”

On the other hand, through Atty. Pamatong he extended his gratitude to Congressman Rufus Rodriguez and Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for the kind gesture of inviting him. He has urged Senator Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local government, and the rest to go to Jolo to conduct the hearing. – osm, mnlfnet.com  

 

   

   

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