SPEECH of Prof. NUR P. MISUARI
On the occasion of 31st Bangsamoro Freedom Day
On March 18, 1999 at Kabatangan, Zamboanga City
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem…
distinguished brother B/Gen Usman Basja, who is here with us in
this occasion along with his colleague, Brother Col Didik
Erapornomo, to convey the message of unity and solidarity on
behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference that they
represent in their capacity as head of the Joint Monitoring
honorable former Mayor Vitaliano Agan, who is here to honor with
his presence, my brother, the distinguished head of the tribal
communities 5 to 6 million strong all-over Mindanao, the
Honorable Sultan Victor Banguyan, who just spoke before us to
reaffirm the spirit of unity and solidarity between the Muslim
people and the Highlander communities in Mindanao and the
distinguished Hendrick Cobarubias representing the Hon. Caroline
Iglesias, Executive Director of PARECO, the distinguished Bernie
Concepcion, head of the Zamboanga Press Club, the president of
the Zamboanga Press Club, and his colleagues,
Vice Mayor of Jolo, Hon. Hadji Hassan Hassiman, the
distinguished representative of the business community in Jolo,
the Hon. Hadji Jammang, who is probably one of the most
prominent businessmen in Zamboanga and entire Mindanao, and his
colleagues. He is
also a businessman, the distinguished Mr. Diusop. The dynamic leaders of different religious, civic and
non-governmental organizations responsible for today’s
program, I salute them, the youth of our homeland – the
Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao and the islands for their
initiative in organizing this observance of the 31st
anniversary of our Freedom Day.
And also representative of our cabinet of ARMM, and the
RLA as well as the Consultative Assembly of the SPCPD
represented by the Hon. Salipada Tamano, head of National
line-agencies and city officials.
this connection, I’d like to convey our sincere gratitude to
the Hon. Mayor of the City of Zamboanga for the cooperation in
extending the official permit for our brothers to go around the
city. This is a
very good sign for all of us because what we want really is to
have complete cooperation here in Zamboanga and in all other
places in Mindanao in order to ensure peace and stability among
also, allow me to mention in particular the leaders and members
of the Bangsamoro Youth Assembly, who along with the other youth
movement, civic and religious movement were responsible in
putting up this celebration.
And I would also like to mention the presence of our MNLF
Field commanders and of course the MNLF integrees.
And of course some key leaders of the MNLF are present
here and finally, I would like to thank all of those brothers
and sisters who took the pain in coming to this occasion and, of
course, I would like to finally salute our brothers in the SPCPD
and ARMM who are holding offices here in the Kabatangan, in
particular, our brother Nuung Ajihil, who is the spearhead of
this program, and the other officials who have been very much
responsible for this occasion.
I would like to mention brother Sumbing, the Executive
Secretary or Deputy of Bro. Bong Parcasio is here to represent
his office. I would
like to apologize to everyone for my inability to mention
everyone here but, of course, I would like to thank you all for
coming to this occasion and tomorrow, Insha’ Allah, we will
culminate our celebration in the island of Jolo.
we came here as mentioned by the distinguished brother Sultan
Victor Banguyan, we have gone to various parts of Mindanao.
Three days ago, we started our journey to Mindanao from
Davao City around 7:30 or 8 o’clock in the morning.
Our journey started out from one hotel there in the city
and we proceeded to Sinoda.
Sinoda is a boarder community between Bukidnon and Davao
City. Their representatives of 40 tribal communities were present
by the hundreds of them in that area and the occasion was the
second conferment to me by our dear brothers and sisters of the
highlander communities of the title of Datu Matuus, which means
the supreme datu or the supreme leader of the highlander
was very grateful to all of them for this great honor they have
given to me, they have bestowed on me, but this is an honor
which I believe reaffirms and sanctifies the unity and
solidarity among us. As
a matter of fact the key speakers in the occasion representing
the indigenous communities were mentioning about the fact that
we the Muslims and the Highlanders came from two brothers who
sailed the present indigenous population of Mindanao.
There were two brothers Datu Mamalu and Tabunaway.
They were two blood brothers.
And Iranons and the Maranaws and the Maguindanaons and
all of us probably descended from these two brothers.
So we were grateful for the great honor they have given
to me in the name of all of you.
there, we proceeded to Maramag, deep inside Bukidnon.
There were hundred of integrees who were waiting for us.
It was a very lively occasion and speeches were delivered
before the audience. The
military camp was very lively for there were so many people
Maramag, we went to another area to visit our camp, the MNLF
camp. There were
several brothers who are armed and unarmed in the camp just
about a kilometer or two from the area where the integrees were
there, almost late in the afternoon, we proceeded to Malaybalay;
also there several hundreds of our integrees were waiting for
us. And we had a very lively occasion also and we were
over-token by the nightfall and then later on we proceeded to
Cagayan de Oro. In Cagayan de Oro, there were MNLF officers coming from the
indigenous and Muslim communities in Northern Mindanao –
outside of the SZOPAD – outside of the SPCPD and the ARMM.
The officers – very distinguished in their uniform –
they represented seven brigades.
I think you know very well that the peace agreement that
we signed both in Tripoli, Libya and in Jeddah, 1997 – the
Jeddah accord, as well as the peace agreement that we signed on
September 2, 1996 in Malacañang Palace, Manila – all of these
stipulated that only part of Mindanao are included in the
proposed territorial dimension or jurisdiction of the autonomy.
But the truth of the matter is we have tens of thousands
of forces outside.
Misamis Oriental, we have in Agusan , we have in the mountains,
we have in Davao del Norte.
In fact in Davao, both Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and
Davao del Norte, I think we have the greatest proportion of
armed forces there in Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental.
But we got only Davao del Sur as part of autonomy.
Of course Bukidnon - we have many forces there coming
form different commands, national commands, of course.
Well, anyway, from there, we stayed overnight and then
early in the morning we proceeded to Prosperidad.
There was a celebration there of March 18 – that was an
advance celebration. From
Prosperidad, we proceeded to Davao del Norte to Tagum passing
through Surigao and then later on in the evening we reached back
to the city and we stayed overnight.
The following morning we proceeded to Matalam
advanced our occasion there – two-day occasion – because of
my impending meeting with Brother Ustaz
Salamat Hashim. They
were expecting in Matalam about 6,000 MNLF armed forces –
about 6,000 coming from neighboring places and also from far
distant places. But
because we advanced by surprised one-day in order in difference
to our meeting with Chairman brother Ustaz Salamat Hashim.
So only few hundreds were present because we took them by
yesterday, we were expecting that huge number of military forces
were coming from the Christian, Highlander and Muslim
last night, we stayed overnight in the city of Cotabato, but of
course, I think the media must already told you about our visit
to Camp Abubakre As-Siddique.
Many people have been fanning up so many loose
speculations about these but I hope I managed to clarify this
issue even well before I entered the camp.
I told them that I was going there not as Governor of
ARMM, nor as Chairman of SPCPD.
But I was going there as a plain Muslim brother trying to
meet another Muslim brother.
I went there at best as Chairman of the Moro National
Liberation Front of which MILF used to be an integral part.
people were asking – from the media – is it true, Mr.
Chairman, that you are going there to consolidate back the unity
and solidarity. Well
I said, we are always united, we are always consolidated, only
we belong to two different organizations nowadays owing to the
fact that my brother Salamat Hashim is leading a Jihad for
complete liberation, for complete independence while we are
contended with limited freedom with, of course, genuine autonomy
over certain part of Central parts of Mindanao.
But it was the MNLF leadership, in fact, I was the one
who first conceived of putting up the Bangsamoro Republik after I organized the MNLF.
And also I was the one who taught to work for the total
decolonization of our homeland and for setting up of the
Bangsomoro Republik as a free sovereign independent state.
Nobody can deny that.
I was the one who organized these.
And as a matter of the fact at one stage at one time I
was able to send a delegation to the United Nations to submit
our petition for the decolonization of our homeland. Our petition is still with the UN Commission on
Decolonization of 24. But
because of the advice of the OIC, we decided to defer the taking
of action on this subject they told us that might do havoc to
our mediation for peaceful solution to the problem.
anyway, dear brothers and sisters, I would just like to inform
you in brief that the meeting that we had had with brother
Ustadz Salamat Hashim was a very historic meeting, was a very
significant meeting. And
when I was asked by the media right there in Camp Abubakre –
because after our meeting and our lunch – it was a lunch
meeting, in fact, because before I went there brother Ustaz
Salamat Hashim had sent me a handwritten message inviting me for
lunch. He said:
brother Nur, we have not taken a lunch for many years.
Before you go to Saudi Arabia as head of the Hajj 1999
… you know I was ameerul hajj for 1997 and 1998, now for this
year I was planning to enjoy my 8-day mandatory vacation.
So I made preparation to go to Saudi Arabia to meet my
friends and then to proceed to Egypt to visit my eldest son,
Abdulkarim – still studying at the AL AZHAR University.
And then from there, I said, I was going to proceed to
the Emirates to visit my younger son Adeeb and from there my
plan was to return back to our homeland to resume our activities
here in the ARMM and SPCPD.
then one evening, somebody called me up.
He said: Mr. Chairman I am now mobile in Metro Manila, I
just came from Malacañang and I met the president and the
president has asked me to convey to you his pleasure to appoint
you as the ameerul hajj again.
So everything was changed and therefore we start making
preparation and now I will be heading again about 4,000 pilgrims
from our homeland but my immediate companions will be around 80
of us. Previous year 1997, we were able to bring about 45
people, 1998, we brought 53 about.
Now I’m bringing about 80 people with me – old
have always told our people everytime when we need the
cooperation of the weather, the weather will always cooperate
with us, Insha’ Allah. So
don’t be afraid. I
have the fastest speedboat in this part of the world.
So you will reach in Jolo maybe faster than my small
‘yung tungkol sa meeting with Brother Salamat Hashim, it was a
very historic one. If
only for one reason that we managed to overcome persistent
speculations and fitna and
smear campaign making it appear as if MNLF and MILF are at war
with each other. Hindi
totoo ‘yun. That’s impossible. Kung
mayroong awayan noon, it was not between MNLF and MILF.
It was just among brothers who are coveting one beautiful
lady. Kaya nga at
times sinasabi ko sana wala na tayong magagandang babae dito sa
timog Pilipinas or dito sa Southern Mindanao.
Kasi itong magaganda, ‘yan ang cause ng mga giyera sa
atin – awayan between two tribes.
So anyway, maganda rin ang maraming magaganda sa atin.
But the truth of the matter is we are one. And as I told
the media yesterday in Camp Abubakar: don’t misunderstand us.
We are Muslims.
went up the mountains. We passed trough very rugged and very tortuous road.
But we thought that it was our sacred duty to go there.
Before we reached the destination, kaunti na lang ang
naiwan sa aming vehicles – sirang-sira na.
‘Kako baka tailored itong daan nila.
Gipang-sira ng kanilang mga tangke ng government.
According to our information maraming tangke ng
government doon. At
saka nakikita din namin, they have mobilized so many tanks.
we went up. Before
we reached our destination -- the small bila of our brother
Ustaz Salamat Hashim – kaunti na lang ang naiwan sa amin. ‘Yung the whole tire naitapon kung saan.
Mga Toyota cars pa ‘yun.
Sana ang nadala natin ay yung mga karag-karag ng Jolo
because it is a sign for a very rough terrain.
But yung Toyota, Mazda, lahat hind makakaya sa daan doon.
So anyway, Alhamdullilah,
we managed to reach our brother nandoon siya.
He has relatively comfortable residence except that
before we reached his residence, may nakita kaming bahay doon, a
complex of houses ‘kako bakit ba ‘yan mukhang sira.
Eh ang sabi nila yun ay natamaan ng 81 mm ng govenrnment.
May namatay doon mga babae more than ten of them – 11
or 12, pati isang Alim.
pagdating namin doon, tamang-tama, the table was set for the
food. It was a nice
food. I could not
imagine how revolutionary people prepare such sumptuous food.
I t was real good food.
Then when I asked him what kind of chicken is this.
This is native chicken I know brother Nur matagal ka nang
hindi kumain ng native chicken.
So he gave me, he served us … the usual Ustadz.
He’s a very kind-hearted man; very intelligent, very
wise and very dedicated to his cause and to the cause of our
kumain kami we are chatting like this and like that.
Ang sinabi niya sa amin, you know brother Nur, here in
our area, we have so much plantations for our survival.
We have our own fishpond.
We have so many things here.
Ang government ay pumupunta dito.
They offered us so many things, sabi nila: We want to
bring development here. Sabi nila: we are not opposed to development.
You come and develop our area if you like.
Ang problema sabi niya, everytime they come, ironically,
pagkatapos while we were waiting for the goodies and for the
windfalls to come, ang nangyayari, all the time ang dumating
dito ang mga tangke. So
kaya nga parang nasasawa sila daw.
Eh ‘kako don’t lose hope.
Maybe under president Estrada, yung lahat ng mga promise
na yan, they might fulfill their promises.
And then pinag-usapan namin so many wanted to interview
but I just ignored them because I told myself, kailangan sana,
let us wait for Brother Ustaz Salamat to tell the story. Of course, binigay na namin ang story doon sa mga media.
In front of us with brother Ustaz Salamat, there were
nine tape recorders. Marami
yung mga camera, maliit at saka malalaki.
So ano ang mga tinanong nila sa amin?
Marami, karamihan yung mga speculations. The truth of the matter is I went there, I would like to
repeat, just a simple plain visit of a Muslim brother visiting
another Muslim brother.
we discussed about this fitna going around from time to time and get published in the media.
Sabi niya, they are always trying to divide us.
They were trying to pit us against each other.
But this will not do any harm to us.
After all, deep in our hearts we are brothers and I said
to the media, you see, the truth of the matter is, as brothers
in Islam, our brotherhood is most sublime than brotherhood of
two brothers or sisters coming from the same womb.
Mas sublime ang brotherhood ng Muslims because it is
sanctified by Allah in His book, the Holy Qur’an, when He said
that a Muslim is a brother to another Muslim.
Kaya nga kung mag-fight ang dalawang Muslim, wala namang
justifications, walang investigation
yan. You go down to
hell. So huwag
ninyong kalimutan yan. And
don’t forget also, sinabi ng Holy Qur’an, If you kill one
human being without justification, as if you have killed the
whole of humanity. Nandiyan
sa Holy Qur’an, basahin ninyo.
And the Holy Qur’an also says – immediately after the
verse, if you save one human being, not necessarily a Muslim, it
is if as you have saved the lives of humanity.
Anlaki ng reward, anlaki ng punishment if you kill one
human being without a cause.
why when we launched our Jihad fi sabillilah,
we launched it in the name of our Islamic civilized warfare.
Tayo lang ang mina-massacre kung saan-saan.
No massacre occurred from our side.
We were always on our defense because sinasabi ng Allah: Don’t be aggressor for Allah does not love the aggressor.
We are Muslims belonging to the religion of Islam and to
the Ummatul Islamia. Members
of the United Nations – 55 members of the United Nations –
Muslims are members of the OIC.
Right now we are 55 Muslim countries in the OIC of which
the MNLF is a permanent political observer and recognized by
them in their summit resolution as the sole legitimate
representative of the Bangsamoro people.
Bangsamoro people embraces Muslims and our highlander
communities because after all that is the definition of the law
and that is how our dear leader here sultan Victor Banguyan and
all the leaders feel towards us and also that’s how we feel
towards them. After
all we came from one common ancestry.
Now apart from that, ang pinagusapan namin doon, brother
Nur, sabi niya: I don’t mind you getting this autonomy.
I will not feel hurt but I would just like to ask you.
To be very careful, because baka nasa trap ka.
Good if they will implement that.
If they will implement the autonomy, walang ano sa amin.
We welcome that and we support you.
fact this morning I was told – sinabi raw ni brother Ustadz
Salamat sa media this morning sa radio station: I support the
autonomy of brother Nur. And
we hope the government will fulfill their obligations under the
terms of the peace agreement.
Ngunit the good Ustaz Salamat also whispered to me:
brother Nur, puwede ba, if I gain our Independence, you will
also be the first one to congratulate me.
‘Kako you tell the government. If they tell you they
assure you they will give Independence to you, I will dissolve
the autonomy and I will join you in your independence. So the spirit is mutual.
If he wins, I join him.
If we win, they will probably join us, Insha’ Allah.
it is our belief, shared belief with our brother Ustaz Salamat,
Hadji Murad, the commander of MILF armed forces there was
present, and with brother Mohagher Iqbal and the Ulama.
Sabi nila: let us now move on parallel line.
Let us not quarrel.
Let us not allow our people to quarrel.
After all, we have common destiny.
We are brothers. Whatever you do should be good for our people.
Whatever I do and the MILF should also be good for
third point na pinagkasunduan was sabi niya: we must now protect
the peace in Mindanao because unless MNLF and MILF will work
together for peace it’s impossible to have peace in Mindanao.
So yun ang pinagkasunduan.
But equal important was our decision to include our
highlander brothers in promoting peace in Mindanao.
And I believe if the highlander communities, the Muslim
communities to be led by the MILF and MNLF will work together, I
am sure, Insha’ Allah, there can be peace in Mindanao.
And Mindanao can be among the most peaceful parts of the
world. And I think
our brother will stand up as a confirmation or affirmation of
his support to this principle that peace must now be guaranteed
by the unity of these three: MILF, MNLF and the Highlander
leadership, Insha’ Allah.
the more so if as I know if the government, President Estrada,
Mercado, Nazareno, all of those handsome faces will join hands
with us. And I
think they will because President Estrada, to me, is a gift to
the Filipino nation. He’s
a gift to peace. He is very simple and very grassroots in his
approach. But some
people misunderstand him for his simplicity. But he is just the right man for the day for the hour.
But of course he will never succeed unless everyone, in
his government and outside his government, will cooperate with
him. But he is a
very sincere man. First
time I met him, he immediately told me after he won victory, he
called for me in Malacañang palace, Brother Nur, rest assured
in the presence of some Korean, Chinese and Japanese
businessmen, would like to tell you that I’m promising brother
Nur that he will get much more than what he got under the
he is suppose to serve for six years.
Right now, he has served out only six months out of six
years. Now already,
I’d like to tell you, in compliance to his promise and pledges
to our people, President Estrada has already approved for
implementation 163 bridges costing 4 billion pesos.
And he has approved it here and signed there in General
Santos. He invited
me to his boat Pangulo.
We sat together side by side and he called Diokno and
Vigilar to join us – four of us – City Mayor Lobregat was by
his right side. I
was to his left. And
Pimentel and bishop of Zamboanga and the beautiful senators
there were present and he said this: I want you to release P1.6
billion. Apart from
the P4 billion intended from 163 bridges for 4 provinces in the
ARMM, President Estrada has also approved the release of P1.6 2
billion for the completion of the first two lanes of our
circumferencial road in Jolo.
And the President said: after you finish the first two
lanes, move on to the other two lanes and then the other two
lanes and so on and so forth until you are able to produce that
circumferencial road which shall be the finest circumferencial
road in the whole Philippines and which will be one of the
proudest and the greatest achievements of Pres. Estrada’s
administration, Insha’ Allah.
So that’s for two projects that is worth P5.62 billion.
But sabi ni Presidente when he was asked by the media in
after the signing of the MOA for the 163 bridges because the
circumferencial road we announced was 162 kilometers now after
the signing I said I will make the road 163 kilometers also.
Now he said this is just the beginning.
He was repeating it.
is just the beginning so therefore, before I left Manila, our
undersecretary for DILG called me up to tell me he said: brother
Nur, I was informed that the President has placed P3 billion
with the Landbank. I said what for.
That is for livelihood that you have been demanding.
So sabi nila we must participate.
So ngayon maggawa kayo ng good quality project.
Don’t exaggerate, if you exaggerate gaganyanin namin
yun. Alam man namin. So we will put big cross ganyan that means disapproved.
Only be very practical. Huwag kayong magkuha ng loans
although it is very soft loan that you have to pay after 20 to
25 years, but be practical.
After all, we know your capability.
So maggawa kayo ng mga loans na yan and then you submit
later on, make it very good quality loans and then we will see
how much they will approve.
But be sure that the loan will multiply.
The money that you loaned will create wealth, but not
create utang. Don’t
allow this loan to ruin you.
You get loan and then itapon lang ninyo ganyan and then
you will have headache looking for money how to repay.
Get the loans and have it multiply.
I have also that project but this is going to be funded
by the special fund from Japan.
Container Seaport – the container seaport to be
complemented with the high quality domestic airport with option
to become international as soon as tourism and business start
peeking up in our homeland.
This container seaport will be built in Jolo because it
is strategic for purposes of business.
And recently I’d like to inform you, I was in Jakarta,
I met His Excellency Bapa President Habibie and something like
eight or nine ministers. I
met them and we decided first Indonesia will now release the 10
aircrafts for our Minsupala airways.
So don’t be surprised if one day I will not be flying
anymore this aircraft. I will be flying another kind of aircrafts, Insha’ Allah.
Ten aircrafts – four of them F28 the latest version,
ang anim for transport for cargo -- product of the joint
technology of the Germany and France.
This is the Transal that can carry each unit 18 tons.
from that, and upon the suggestions of many brothers Indonesia
also approved two things in addition. First, the putting up of the Majapahit Trade Zone to
complement our present business relationship with Indonesia that
we are conducting through Davao City and General Santos City via
Menado. Our people
from Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and others, they
have to go to Davao City, take a boat to Menado. From Menado they had to take aircraft or what have you to
Surabaya or to other parts of Indonesia that entails a lot of
money that would be added to the cost of goods and commodities
and customers will have to shoulder that eventually.
So in order to make business, easy-to-carry-on, we
decided to put up the Majapahit Trade Zone.
Bapa Habibie and the ministers had told me: brother Nur, you don’t
have to go very far. All
you have to do is give identity to your businessman when they
come. But we don’t
have to go to Surabaya, all we have to do is to ask them to go
to Tarakan or go to Sebatik sa Sungay Niyamok.
All the goods that we need, that’s why I asked my
assistance to prepare a long list what is it that we need here
from Indonesia? Kahit
karayom, trade, anything we need then they will identify and
they will give us concessioner price.
So cheaper pa because we don’t have, it does not
entered too much transportation values and cheaper pa because
they will reduce the price for us. And to complement this para we could have easy access to
commodities, we have decided together with Indonesian government
to put up the Majapahit Shipping Lines.
So Bapa President Habibie advised me one day after hajj
to visit Surabaya to arrange for the kind of cargo vessels
that we need because Surabaya is producing high-quality ships
for this purpose even Germany at the present moment has asked
them to produce very big boat for German use.
I planned to bring some businessmen with me, yung mga
high-quality genuine businessmen, huwag lang yung mga
hypocritical businessmen nakasisira lang ng atmosphere doon, but
good quality businessmen who are ready to deal in accordance
with business ethics with the noblest Islamic ethics.
So we will deal with them, Insha’ Allah, this will make
part of our homeland prosperous. So yung tatlong decision, Insha’ Allah, this will.
The fourth one, Bapa President Habibie has told that I am
at liberty to immediately import at concessioner price - cement
and asphalt. Now,
for cement and asphalt, the elder brother who used to be
ambassador of Indonesia to London – Ambassador Penny Habibie
came to see me in Manila, we had a meeting in one hotel there.
He told me: now anytime we can ask for the asphalt.
The asphalt we need for our long road in Jolo 163
intention _______ my way I will get them money available I want
to put cement first. After
the cement, I will put asphalt so that our karag-karag will not
be called karag-karag anymore.
It will not sound krag-krag anymore because it will be
moving on very smooth surface. . . . . # # #