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Interview with

in Metro Manila on May 3, 1999
after his arrival to Manila from Makkah
, Saudi Arabia
as Ameerul Hajj (leader  of the Philippine pilgrims and Personal
Envoy of President Joseph Estrada to the 1999 Hajj)


The Commission on Election is stepping up its preparation for the September 13 ARMM election which as charged by the MNLF is violative of the peace agreement.  What is your final stand on this, Mr. Chairman, in case the election pushes through?  What is going to be the alternative of the MNLF?

Misuari:          Well, basically, as I have been saying all along, this is a blatant or gross violation of the peace agreement.  Before I went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the last hajj I called up former Executive Secretary Alexander Aguirre, the chief negotiator of the GRP peace panel and he confirmed the veracity of our allegation.  He said yes, thatís why, he said, we worked for the extension of the election from March 7 to September so weíll have time to work out the mechanism for the indefinite postponement of the elections so the government can comply with its commitment to the peace agreement.  And also, Sen. Pimentel has never denied the fact that the Sen. Roco Committee of which he is a member, heís committed to work out the modalities for the indefinite postponement of this  election.  They were the oneís who proposed  us.  They said just donít object openly, allow us to have this done and signed by the president and then we are ready to talk it out to you so we can come closer to the peace agreement.  In fact, just moment before the signing of the bill that postponed the election to September, I was with him along with Exec. Sec. Zamora and Cong. Amin of the 1st District of Sulu and I mentioned this and he said so .  I said yes, because I donít want the government to run away from its obligation to implement the peace agreement.  So this is the case and therefore, in response to your question, what exactly are we going to do should elections push through in September, then since it is a violation of the peace agreement therefore it is not binding to us.  It is as simple as that.  And if itís not binding on us therefore itís next to useless for them to hold that election otherwise it will be just counter-productive.  Like before when they rammed down our throat, those referendum, what happened?  We repudiated the outcome and we did not abide by the outcome of those referendum.  So that is going to happen.  But then fortunately about 4 days ago, last Friday, I was with the President at MalacaŮang

Palace and we discussed the subject matter with him and the president is now going, I believe, heís going to consider this proposition that government must comply with its obligation. 

That is the message that you got from the president that he is amenable to resetting the election indefinitely.

Misuari:          Well, they will work out for the postponement of this, something like that.  I donít know what exactly he meant by that but I emphasized to him, Mr. President, that to us election could be held in the ARMM only after the end of the provisional government.  And the provisional government will come after the setting up of the autonomous government because we have to be trained just like the Filipino leaders they were given 10-year period, actually 11, because of the exigency of the war.  Mr. Quezon and company were given 11 years by the American government under the aegis of the Commonwealth government, 1935, they were given 10 years but the Republic was declared independent in 1946, or 11 years later.  So we want to be trained first, we donít want to grope in the dark, we donít like to make mistakes, we donít like to bungle.  You see letís not be too in a hurry to put up something only to cause our failure.  If indeed we are all honest and sincere in trying to put up this autonomy as a vehicle for resolving our political problem in Mindanao, then we should exercise all kind of precautions to prevent our failure.  Like holding election or premature referendum.  I told the government that since the failure of the government to implement the provision of the peace agreement, namely, to hold elections in October 1998, to be preceded by the adoption of a new autonomous act, since then there is no more agreement on referendum.  Since there is  no more agreement in principle on referendum therefore we are not obliged anymore, we are not bound by any referendum at all.  You see, and that is consistent with the letter and spirit in the Tripoli Agreement because nowhere could you find any single word about referendum in the Tripoli Agreement.  If ever, it was smuggled by the GRP peace panel after the completion of the talks, they inserted it during the typing, and thatís the no. 16, last provision of article III.  They inserted it there after the typing was finished.  Suddenly they included it there.  You verify this from retired Ambassador Pacifico Castro.  He was the deputy to the GRP peace panel headed by Carmelo Barbero in Tripoli.  So now, however, if they insist on this, then, the only option is to reach a consensus, a tripartite consensus.  And a tripartite consensus cannot be just arrived at through the meeting of just any group.  It has to be done by the same body that forged the peace agreement in Jakarta.  And that means GRP peace panel, OIC peace panel and MNLF peace panel,  must come in one common place and talk things formally, discuss things formally, and if there is agreement on the holding of, then we can push through otherwise there is no Ö. Let them examine the text of the peace agreement, they were too in a hurry, no fallback position was placed there.  And it was also agreed, although it may not be there in the text, but in the Executive Summary that after the signing of the peace agreement, no single party to the peace agreement, not the MNLF, nor the OIC, nor yet the GRP peace panel will be allowed to arrogate any power or authority to amend technically or what, unilaterally amend the peace agreement.  Therefore if they pass a law detailing the modalities of the referendum without our consent, without our knowledge, that is a technical amendment to the peace agreement and we are not going to be bound by that because that will tantamount to an imposition.  Again, the word imposition was very precise, it was used by us, I was the one who used it. I donít want after the signing of the peace agreement anyone to impose its own interpretation of the peace agreement.  It should be consensus all the time. 

If the ARMM election will push through on September 13, this would mean another 3 years for the ARMM and therefore 3 years delay for the implementation of the peace agreement.  Are you willing to wait for the another 3 years delay?

Misuari:          Well, off hand it is not possible for us to make categorical or emphatic response to this because we have to follow the Islamic teachings or procedures that since this is a major event in the life of our people, therefore we have to go through the process of consultation.  But the problem here is that, if that will happen, then I donít know what is going to be the reaction of our people because the situation might slip out of all hands - waiting for three years.  Unless there are some mechanism really that they can propose to prevent any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the efforts of the government, Iím afraid this can lead to something that nobody would like to happen.

I believe you are closely coordinating with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), mayroon ho ba silang official statement or position as to the ARMM election?

Misuari:          Well, until now only through the monitoring system of the OIC here.  Well I think they were very precise in saying that no election, no referendum can be conducted until after the government shall have fulfilled its economic and financial obligations.  You may go and seek an audience with the ambassador of Indonesia.  He was the one who proposed that during the last meeting of the monitoring system in Manila Hotel.  Present were Exec. Sec. Zamora, National Security Adviser Aguirre.  This is the one, this is they call it monitoring system, the JMC, Joint Monitoring System.  Ambassador Yan was there, Sec. Mercado and Sec. Puno Ė all 5  key members of the cabinet.  They were all there five of them.  That was the position espoused by the Ambassador who is the point man of the OIC here and I am very positive that this opinion must have been transmitted already to the members of the conference.

The government Is saying that it is willing to postpone the ARMM election indefinitely but it seems that Congress up to now has not filed yet any bill that would postpone the ARMM election?

Misuari:          Few days ago, I was with our brother Cong. Dilangalen, he was kind enough to visit us here, of course his purpose was not so much about this but just to thank us for our assistance in the burial of his father.  I said no itís not, you donít have to say that.  That is our duty, our obligation.  But he mentioned about this intention to file a bill for the postponement of this one.  So I said that would be a good gesture because you really Öthe government and all of us, I think, must exert our maximum efforts to ensure that there will be no more room for misunderstanding anymore.  Because I think itís very clear to everyone that if we donít exert every effort at this point of time now, we are now, as I said at the tailend of the transitional period.  If we donít exert extra efforts to assuage the feeling of the people then I donít know if that is the correct term, because people are confused, people are demoralized because there is a cloud of uncertainty now hovering around.  What is going exactly to the autonomy, because there seems to be no concrete signs as to direction we are taking.  Unless and until the government shall be able to make its decision clear and unmistakable before the eyes of the people.  Because until now nobody knows whatís going to happen exactly.  People are just proposing to pass, submit a bill.  We donít know, as we are saying, we donít know whatís going to be the reaction of the Philippine Congress.

Few weeks ago the Ulama group of the MNLF initiated by Habib Zain Jali, they held a summit in Cotabato City and they issued fatwa or some sort of advice, advising you to  stick to the 1996 Final Peace Agreement and urging you not you to participate in this September 1999 election.  What is your comment on this?

Misuari:          Well, of course, the Ulama, they are very influential, and we are committed to abide by their wise advice and also, I believe, that their decision conforms very well with the letter and spirit of the peace agreement.  So although I can not decide by myself because whatever decision I make will reflect on the whole leadership.  But I believe that the advice or the recommendation of the Council of the Ulama is a very strong point.  We cannot put that aside.  We have to consider that in our future meeting.  The MNLF leadership is going to meet, we are preparing the groundworks for that meeting.  And Iím sure the Ulama will be present there and that they will present their views.  So we will know this as soon the meeting could be held.  I donít know yet where they are going to hold the meeting.  But it will be very soon, Inshaí Allah.  So I cannot make categorical reply yet.  You can make what they call an intelligent guess of your own just exactly how we will react because Iím not one who will just accept violation like that easily.  I have to protect the integrity of the peace agreement because if we allowed the peace agreement to be violated then that will not speak well of us and that will not speak well of our future.

Thereís is going to be another summit of the ICFM - Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers - and Ö

Misuari:          Itís not a summit, itís an annual ICFM meeting.

Will you be reporting on the status of the peace agreement there, Mr. Chairman?

Misuari:          Well, of course, definitely, the OIC monitoring system will report.  It is my duty to report because that is the routine, every year we have to report to them on what happened during the 11 or 12 months before the meeting.  They always want to be told, to be briefed. In fact, I attended the 3-day meeting of the senior officers of the OIC after the end of the hajj.  When I was preparing for my farewell tawaf, I was invited along with Dr. Abdurahman Amin, Ustadz Khabir Malik, Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar, the head of our foreign relations, and some other key members of the MNLF abroad to clarify some issues that have reached their attention. I spoke before more than 50 ambassadors and some ministers who came because that is at the level of the senior officers only.  The ministers will meet, so they sent their own ambassadors in Riyadh to meet along with some delegations coming from their home government.  And I spoke before them.  I told them exactly about the situation here because they are so concerned about the consequence of a mishandled elections and of a mismanaged referendum because they are very much aware about the referendum in the Cordilleras.  They said what happened in the Cordilleras will also happen there.  And if that is the case then where do we go later on?  How do we look at the future and the peace agreement because that means the peace agreement will be totally destroyed.  The peace agreement is very precious to them.  So I told them, I promised before them that MNLF will never violate the peace agreement.  In fact, we said we will continue to serve as the guardian of the peace and the peace agreement.  And they were very happy to hear that from us.  I am sure they would like to hear more.  But at that time the Joint Monitoring System of the OIC, I mean the OIC monitoring system, were not there, they were not represented.  Even me I knew about it only when I was already there.

While you were away on a pilgrimage to Makkah, some enemies of peace have concocted reports, maybe some from the media who do not want peace in Mindanao,  they are alleging that some members of the MNLF are ganging up against you but the MNLF leadership have already denied this.  But I think it is better that the Chairman of the MNLF will clarify this matter.

Misuari:          Well, of course, there is always this attempt to create clouds or doubts about us.  That has always been the case ever since.  But  I am sure that they will not succeed because our people are wise.  Itís not easy to destroy that which they have built for the last 3 decades or so.  Before I went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia just 4 days before, I was in Jolo to celebrate the March 18, thatís the 31st anniversary of the MNLF and our people but they call that our Bangsamoro Freedom Day.  Before that I was in different places in Mindanao. I went as far as Bukidnon, Agusan, Surigao, Misamis Oriental, Davao Norte, Davao City, then I went to Matalam in North Cotabato.  Afterwards I went to Zamboanga for another celebration.  From Zamboanga on the 17th I left for Jolo, on the 18th we celebrated the Bangsamoro Freedom Day. Well the people were solidified and they were very enthusiastic to continue with what they have planted over the years.  Seeds of freedom are already there and are already sprouting somehow. But there are people who want to snap out this freedom by trying to destroy the chances of putting up the autonomy.  Well, they are entitled to their opinion, but we are also entitled to the right of self-defense.  We have to defend our rights to continue with our struggle to enrich the freedom of the people of Mindanao.  Those misguided elements are maybe being misled by their ignorance about this situation or maybe it just that they want to sabotage everything there so that the people of Mindanao may not be able to realize the fruits of their struggle.  This is, I think, what they mean by that.  But alhamdulillah, I thank Allah and thank our people for the solidarity they have demonstrated in defending the leadership of the MNLF.  I went out because I was assigned by the government to lead our people again and I think for third time around we were able to have very successful pilgrimage.  In fact everyone in the Kingdom was saying that this yearís pilgrimage was the most successful pilgrimage.  It was hajj akbar, in fact.  The reward is multiplied many time over because it is hajj akbar.  And I was the last one to lead because some people just abandoned them there.  They were so enthusiastic to lead pilgrimage but Iím afraid to say that when I went around the camps of the people, of our brothers, I mean to their quarters, several times, I didnít see the senior officials of the OMA (Office on Muslim Affairs) there.  I said where is Ö..we were asking because I wanted to see Exec. Dir. Tomawis.  They said he just came here to make contract about the housing and then he never returned.

Anyway, that is the problem, they went there and then they contracted, placed the Hajjis in the very far-distance place.  And when I asked the Muassasa in the presence of Dr. Amin, I said, why our pilgrims again are very far, even farther than before?  And there was no shuttle bus, I said why like these?  He said, I donít know, in fact he said if you just came to us, at half the price they asked, I could place them in better quarters and closer to Haram, to the Mosque.  And that goes to show if you are not familiar then you tend to charge the people very high because they are not familiar.  You see, we are the most familiar there.  I donít think you can find people who are as familiar as we are.  I have performed hajj for more than 20 times already.  And I have performed Umrah maybe so many hundred times.  You see, Iím very familiar with every nook and crany of Saudi Arabia, not just the two places but every place in Saudi Arabia.  You see, and I have so many good friends - the minister of hajj is an old friend of mine.  You see, Dr. Mahmud Safar is an old friend of mine.  And why we rely on people who donít even - they did not even care to join in the hajj?  And then unfortunately there were 85 people stranded there because of the manipulation of some people. So they were forced to stay behind.  So when they called me up, just when we were about to leave the Kingdom, they told me, well brother Nur, what are you going to do with us?  You cannot leave us here alone.  We have no money.  We have nothing.  We have exhausted all our resources and we still have to travel to Madinah, we donít have money.  We cannot even buy water at the airport.  So I told Dr. Abdulrahman with some medical people just the day before he left, to open our office there in Madinah  because our medical people were the last ones to leave.  You see, the medical team of the OMA left ahead.  And they told me that there was no billeting for them in Madinah.  I said what happened, you did not pay? They said we paid everything.  We are supposed to be entitled to hotel facilities, but we donít have.  I said why?  And according to them there was no money.  The hotel was not paid.  So they asked me how could we help them.  And of course it was my duty I said O.K. donít worry. So what I did was to instruct our brothers in Madinah. I told them please open our office to, I mean our facilities there, to them Let them stay because there is no money.  They canít stay in the hotel. Provide all the comforts or the foods etc. , hire transportation facilities and   tell me exactly how much you are going to spend.  After they finished everything, then they came, the delegation came, to bring all the receipts and etc. So we paid them - from the contingency fund that we brought.  But they were delayed there.  They said now that we are fixed, we are going to the airport to leave.  Then I told them, can I now leave?  Is there anybody else who is going to be stranded?  They said we are the last.  These are from South Cotabato and Ustadz Amiril Bayan is their Sheikh.  You ask him for the veracity of my report.

Another thing, sir, we understand Ö what is your reaction to this issue about flag raising because this was published in the national daily, the Inquirer, in particular, that the Republic of the Philippines  was represented by 3 flags Ė the MNLF, the GRP as well as the MILF flag.  Any reaction to this?

Misuari:          No, itís like this.  These are very irresponsible charges.  That only goes to show that these people really are ignorant and they are incompetent.  They donít know what is happening there.  I was a guest of the Rabitah (Rabitatul Alam Al-Islamie/Muslim World League).  I stayed with the brothers there.  I brought some of them with me and they were very kind enough to host us just like these past two years because everytime I perform hajj  Iím always a guest of the Rabitah, of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  So we were there.  Now they said I raised flag, which flag?  How could I raised flag at the Rabitah quarters?  What for?  Then I asked Ambassador Yusoph Kadatuan, I said what do you know about this flag raising?  He said I was there Öeveryday I was there in the quarters of our pilgrims, I didnít see any single flag except for the Philippine flag.  Also myself I saw nothing except the Philippine flag.  And in fact, when he was interviewed, because the report was brought there, because they were selling also the Philippine newspapers, well he issued a statement.  He said this is not true.  This is all concoction of these people who have very bad intention.  They must be asked to explain why they are doing that?  They are trying to misled the government.  They want to create enmity between us and create suspicion between us and the government.  Now, if there are flags they raised by the MILF, well they represent their own organization.  If there are those Ö they are not raising flag, they just use this to identify, just the Philippines.  When our pilgrims go to Mona to all this, they have to raise their flag otherwise they will get lost, they will easily get lost.  How many of our people got lost, we found them only after 1 day, after 2 days.  You have to have your own.  Sometimes they used only this plastic mineral water like that just to show you performed hajj.  You see, if you have not, you try to perform and you find out.  Everybody makes his own makeshift flag.  Now this MILF maybe but I have not seen them.  MNLF perhaps, those coming from Jeddah, coming from Riyadh, coming from Madinah, they have to raise their flags to identify their team. You see, you have to have your identity.  If not, you are like colorum. 

But there is no political significance on this matterÖ

Misuari:          Nothing.  This is religious. They should not put Öyou know these are the works of evil-minded people.  Why do you put politics into this sacred rites.  There is no politics there.  There were some politicians who went to perform hajj and they started attacking me.  Masha-Allah.   And then some people were just shakingÖ you donít go to hajj and do politics there. People who donít know what is hajj.  If you go there, you never talk ill, otherwise it is better donít got there because itís useless for you to perform hajj.  You should always be positive.  You can not even kill insect during the hajj, during the wukuf.  You can not cut branches of trees. You have to pay 1 goat for that.  You have to pay dam (penalty) for that, equivalent to 365 riyals and that is multiplied by 10 or 11 pesos.  I donít like, of course, I donít like to pay, now what more to talk ill of your brothers.  But anyway, I just pray to Allah.  Allah will forgive them for their innocence. 

We understand, sir, that the government of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is planning to donate some equipment and otherÖ

Misuari:          No.  Itís not planning. 

Itís donating?

Misuari:          They have already the letter from His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (deputy premier and Commander of Saudi Arabiaís National Guard and Caretaker of the Office of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques).  He sent me formal message telling me that equipment should be made available in Dammam.  These are equipment for education, for hospitals, medical facilities and also heavy equipment -- very sophisticated equipment for heavy construction, for like these and like that, and I met the ministers of hajj he said you go to Dammam.  You evaluate what is the tonnage, and then I will call the leader of businesses here to put up the funding for the chartering of a boat.  So I tried my best, I talk to many of my friends there, he said it is impossible brother Nur.  Nobody is going to report to his office now because they were on vacation.  So when I left, I just sent words to our brothers there I said when I leave after my departure just go and visit Dammam and find out if there are already heavy equipment concentrated there thatís ours.  And then fortunately last Friday, I was with His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz - the governor of Riyadh - I was sitting right in front of him during the reception - during the dinner - and we were discussing about this and he said as soon as I go back there, rest assured, I will give instructions, I will find out and everything and I will send you communication and maybe they will invite you to go and inspect.  You see, we have to inspect that because you cannot let those materials be exposed unnecessarily to inclement weather, it is very hot.  You know, itís going to be very hot.  And there will be very delicate machines for dialysis.  You see, for many things Öhe has very sophisticated things there.  That is worth millions of millions of dollars.  So we have to take advantage of that.  His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, his son was through to his right.  Thatís Prince Sultan, did you take picture of him? 

Yung mga facilities para sa medical, saan niyo ilalagay yun?

Misuari:          That will be distributed to the hospitals in our area to upgrade the quality of our medical facilities Ė sa atin lang, sa ating areas Ė that is intended forÖmaybe not necessarily sa ARMM lahat, but in the SPCPD areas.  We have to improve.  Now, on Wednesday, Iím going to meet Sec. Romualdez we are going to discuss because of the Islamic Bank, the Development Bank has donated 16 million we have not use it - that money because I want to clarify the procedure.  Iím going to talk to him.  We will build as many clinics, not hospitals.  Clinics only - good quality clinics, and then we make arrangement that they put the personnel there, the doctors, and then the medicine, we will put up good quality clinics and then I will also try to seek meeting with the secretary of education - Bro. Andrew Gonzalez - if he is still around.  Well, anyway, we will build also good quality high school buildings, elementary and primary with this money - for educationÖonly for education and medical facilities.

There is going to be a resumption of the talks between the GRP and MILF on Thursday, do you have any message for the panels of this on-going to talks, Mr.  Chairman?

Misuari:          Well, that is a good news.  Anything or everything that has to do with the strengthening of the foundation of peace in Mindanao is always a welcome news to us and I pray that they will be very flexible so that we can enlarge the dimension of peace in Mindanao because, I believe, that itís about time that everyone will work for peace, will contribute his share in augmenting the peace that we have so far and Iíll be one among the happiest people in Mindanao if they can make a dent on the problem between them, so therefore I will keep abreast of the development ofÖ.how the peace negotiation will unfold.  But I will be very happy if Mindanao finally will be able to have genuine and durable peace because we have suffered too long and too much, we want now stability so that our people can make up, for their handicaps, for their disadvantages.  We are supposed to be now the poorest, we are supposed to the most illiterate, we are supposed to be the most depressed, all because of the consequences of the war that has been imposed on us.  So now, we donít want anyone to impose any war on Mindanao anymore.  In fact, I have reached gentleman agreement with brother Ustadz Salamat, that MNLF and MILF would now cooperate with each other to serve as the guardian of peace in our homeland - Mindanao and the islands.  So I told them, we will also try to get the PNP and the Armed Forces to recognize this and cooperate with us so that everyone will talk peace not war.  So we will try to exorcise the evil spirit of war, the specter of war from Mindanao so that we could be one of the most peaceful areas in the world.  I think you want that to happen, donít you? 

Is there going to be next meeting very soon between you and the chairman of the MILF?

Misuari:          Well, of course, even while I was still in Saudi Arabia , the MILF leaders were already sending words to me about the timing and what possible agenda.  I said, there will be no agenda here, we are just going to have another meeting between us because before I left the camp - March 16 - brother Salamat was telling me, brother Nur I know you have not tasted the most delicious tilapia in the world.  I said why? I thought I have already taken enough all sorts of tilapias in the world.  He said, you know I have a very delicious tilapia here just at the back of my house.  I am, sabi niya, raising that tilapia, now Iím inviting you to have a tilapia lunch next time around.  As soon as you get back to Mindanao, I would like you to visit me again.  I said, O.K. I will come.  Who does not like to eat that delicious tilapia.  I think both of you, gentlemen, you also want to eatÖtake a taste of this tilapia. 

Ano po ang status ng implementation ng ating mga infrastructure projects sa ARMM, particular po yung circumferential road natin sa Jolo, Sulu?

Misuari:          Well, the circumferential road, there is some technical problems here.  Because while our engineers belonging to the special task force have already submitted program of work, yet it seems as if it was not quite satisfactory.  So when I met the president 3 days ago in MalacaŮang, he advised me to prepare a new program of work and then he said contact Sec. Vigilar (of the DPWH), talk to him about this and then we will meet. So today, after my arrival to Zamboanga, because I went to visit some islands, and also Basilan, I went to several places, and I met Sec. Vigilar today, this afternoon.  We had a very lively discussions I told him that the president has advised me to meet you and to collaborate with you on this circumferential road.  Well, he said, we will do that.  But his suggestion is this gentlemen,  with me was Engr. Suaib, his suggestion is to the effect that we should sent a joint investigating team first to find out how much work has been done so far and then how much work still to be done, and how do we go about this so that we could tailor our request for the releases of funds.  Because Pres. Estrada has committed to us P1.62 billion for this one for the 2 lanes first.  Two lanesÖanother 2 lanesÖanother 2 lanes.  Yes, itís additional funds because most of the funds that have been released to us have been used for clearings.  So, I have in fact done as far Jakarta to talk to the Indonesian government about my desire to get low-price cement and asphalt and also probably even PVC for water tubes - 18 inches - throughout the 163 kilometers. 

For drinking purposes?

Misuari:          Because I want good quality drinking water to be delivered to every household.  I will tap the water from the top of the mountains - good quality waters -

Mineral water yun, sirÖ

Misuari:          Of course, these are mineral water.


Misuari:          Pure water.  And you know the water in Sulu is reputed to be among the best quality waters in the world.  And thatís why I want to deliver to the households of the people.  I think our Engr. here is now leaving tomorrow to meet with Dir. Sta. Elena who has been deputized by Sec. Vigilar to work with him go to the spot and then report.  Meanwhile, Sec. Vigilar is going to make arrangement for our meeting with the president to brief him about the line of actions we are taking.  So we are expecting that we can start moving again on the road.  Although for the meantime, I have been squeezing small money here for them so they pay the people whose coconut trees have been bulldozed by our workers.

Hindi naman na-stop yung work doon sa site?

Misuari:          No, they are continuing because Iím lending them small money here and there.  Sometimes I even loaned to them some of our private money for the salary of our engineers and like that because I cannot afford to fail.  Kung mag-failure ito, tapos na ang peace agreement Öbecause wala na tayong mapakita.  Thereís nothing that we could show.  These are flagship projects of the ARMM.  But I am determined to succeed, Inshaí Allah.  Iím very determined to succeed.  And you should go and see this one day.  If you want to leave with them, I can facilitate your travel there.  You can join them, this is very important.  We are sending our media people there.  When do you want this gentlemen to go?

Maybe last question na lang.  Lately mayrong kaunting controversy dito sa appointment sa SPDA administrator.  Ano ba ang Ö..nagkaroon ng patungan yung appointment ni Mr. Mindalano at saka si Atty. Adiong.  Ano ba ang Ö kasi we believe the SPDA is the implementing agency of the SPCPD.

Misuari:          Well, you are correct, in fact it is very precise in the peace agreement that it should fall under our control and supervision.  And therefore, to be able to control it, we must be able to control the people.  But you cannot control the Hon. Secretary Robert Aventajado, heís a powerful man.  Only the president can control him, can supervise him.  In fact as a flagship secretary, he should be the one who will supervise us, advise us from the top.  Not we.  So it is really impossible to see him there holding a very low position as chairman of the board because he is going down below.  I told him, of course he has a very noble intention, I appreciate that.  I take cognizance of that.  He said brother Nur, I really want to help you.  Yes, I said, of course, welcome, cause we want to succeed.  It just that the procedure.  Well, he has his own way.  He will help us by doing the work for us.  I said, you know the culture of a people.  Unless you do it yourself, they can see your hands soiled like that, they will not attribute the work to you at all, isnít it?  I donít know yung mga Maguindanao brothers.  But in Sulu, they will neverÖ. They will laugh at you.  Sabi nila tingnan ninyo yan they are claiming something that they did not do.  So sinabi ko sa kanya, Ďkako mas mahusay yun, you help us from behind, push us forward because what we want to be seen as very visible and very conspicuous by our people.  Because unless we are conspicuous, we are kept under the shadows, where some people are doing the work for us, then baka it will not be very useful at all.  Specially now, how many days na lang, or how many weeks or how many months are left.  So unless the people would see us there doing the works ourselves, then baka hindi maganda ang result.  Kailangan talaga nandoon tayo.  So I think Sec. Aventajado will consider this very strong point.  I wish he will continue to support us and to collaborate with us.  He has a very noble intention and Iím very sure.  But itís just that it does not dovetail with our culture in the south. To other people, they will be very happy, O.K. he will do the work, his men will do the work and then say Ö this we do it in the name of Misuari and the SPCPD or the ARMM.  But not in our case, people instead have a very negative attitude towards you.  They will tell you Oh, useless ang mga tao, kundi si Sec. Aventajado, wala silang nagawa sana.  Hindi ba?  Nakakahiya iyan.  So I explained to him, I hope they will take this into consideration and besides the one reason why we are giving to this continuation of the service of Atty. Blo Adiong is because I saw the decision of the Civil Service.  They said he has every right to continue with his work.  Yes, heís a CESO.  Although Sec. Aventajado has shown me a legal opinion but I am a very simple layman what I see is that Civil Service speaks very loudly because they have the final say.  And the Civil Service says that he has to occupy the job because they have the final word on that, hindi ba?  So we have to abide by the decision of the Civil Service.

Maybe, sir, your last word sa ating mga kababayang nakikinig ngayon kasi ito ay io-on-the air natin sa Cotabato City at sa ARMM  area.

Misuari:          Well, of course, I would just like to greet our people in Cotabato City and in every place in Mindanao and the islands, assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.  I would like to tell them that I have returned back to our homeland and I have already visited Zamboanga, Basilan, Pilas and intend to visit Cotabato, several places there, and also to prepare for the coming of the president to the island of Jolo.  I will visit the island because the last time I was supposed to visit Jolo on the 25th of February but I requested postponement through the PMS secretary and she was very kind enough, Sec. Lenny de Jesus, was kind enough to advise the President. The president agreed to that because at that time the weather was very bad.  And now the head of our task force here will go and prepare for that - the visitation of the president because Sec Vigilar was mentioning about this, when the president comes, then we should be able to show something to him.  So I want the engineers to do their work.  Even if they donít have that, they can use their bolos to clear the passages for our visitors.  You have to do that and let everybody be useful there.  I am advising him, I said: if you find lazy people you kick them out from the service in the ARMM.  We cannot tolerate lazy peopleÖ



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