Homepage
History of the Bangsamoro People
The MNLF
Organization
Support of the OIC
The Tripoli Agreement
The Jeddah Accord
The Final Peace Agreement
The 4th Bangsamoro People's National Congress
The 5th Bangsamoro People's National Congress
The UN Initiative
The MNLF-MILF Merger
Speeches of Chairman Misuari
The August 14, 2001 ARMM Plebiscite
The November 26, 2001 ARMM Election
Featured Articles
Press Releases
MNLF Foreign Offices
Contacts

 

Speech of H.E. Chairman Nur Misuari
THE 28th ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
BAMAKO, REPUBLIC OF MALI
4-8 RABIEUL THANI 1422H
(25-29 JUNE, 2001)


Why The Doha Summit Resolution
Holds The Last Ray of Hope For
Autonomy and Peace

Mr. Chairman
Mr. Secretary General
Your Highnesses,
Distinguished Delegates,
Guests, Brothers and Sisters:

Assalamu Alaikum W'Rahmatullahi W'Barakatuh! 

Let me join the esteemed delegates in congratulating you, Mr. Chairman, as well as your distinguished colleagues, for having been chosen to lead the 28th ICFM. This shows their confidence in Your Excellency's wisdom and competence and stewardship. 

Mr. Chairman: Let me thank H.E. Syed Hamid Albar, the Malaysian Foreign Minister, your able and illustrious predecessor, for his valuable contribution in advancing the frontier of peace, justice and freedom in our Homeland. 

And, too, allow me convey our thanks to H.E. President Alpha Omar Konare and the brotherly people and Government of the Republic of Mali for the gracious invitation to participate in this current session of the 28th ICFM as well as for the warm brotherly welcome and hospitality accorded to me and my delegation upon our arrival in this historic Islamic country. 

And I will be remiss in my duty should I forget to extend our abiding sense of gratitude to this great Assembly and its member states as well as to the OIC Secretary General and his staff for the invaluable moral, political and other support the MNLF and our people have received as "Observer" in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and in its capacity as "the sole legitimate representative of the 15-million Bangsamoro people". Those amongst you who have watched me and my companions follow up our business with the OIC can vouch to the fact that we never rest nor sleep on our duty, if only to merit this status and gain your individual and collective support behind our people's cause for peace, justice and freedom. 

So punctual and meticulous, indeed, have we been in discharging our bounden duty to our people and their just cause that we never missed, Alhamdulillah, any of the regular annual sessions of the ICFM. So, too, the last seven sessions of the Islamic Summit of Muslim Heads of State, including the last one in Doha, the beautiful capital of the State of Qatar. For we cannot afford to miss such important occasion because the fate of peace and our people and Homeland now lies more than ever before in the wisdom and initiatives of this august Assembly. And this includes most particularly our quest for a just and final conclusion to the 33-year old conflict and war between the GRP and the MNLF. As a matter of fact, I commenced my personal and official association with the OIC and its member states from the time of the late Tengku Abdurahman of Malaysia, the first OIC Secretary General, because of the OIC's genuine concern and keenness in trying to help find a just and lasting political solution to the Bangsamoro problem. 

Mr. Chairman: As you all know, all these years we have placed our fate and our destiny under the protection and stewardship of this great Islamic Organization. Unfortunately, just when the political solution to our problem has been found, our woes begun to creep in and menace our people haplessly. All because of the apparent lack of respect on the part of the Philippine government for its binding international commitment and obligation to the OIC and the MNLF. Indeed, how many times did we sign peace accords with them, with the able and constructive participation of the OIC, but every time we always find ourselves ensnared by its dilatory tactics. We are at a complete loss as to why the Philippine government stubbornly refuses to respect and honor its treaty obligations. This attitude has, in fact, led the Bangsamoro youth to the conclusion that the MNLF Chairman has always allowed himself to be "betrayed" by the Philippine government. Therefore, they swore before the final plenary session of the 4th Bangsamoro People's National Congress in Zamboanga City (29-30 April 2001) that, thenceforth, they would never allow their Chairman to be betrayed again! 

As a matter of fact, it was owing to the flagrant violation of the Tripoli Agreement of December 23, 1976, and the concomitant ceasefire wrought about by it that triggered the resumption of the war between our two forces. And this even convinced this pan-Islamic Organization to accept the MNLF as "Observer". Thanks, of course, to the effort of His Excellency Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treiki, the erstwhile Foreign Minister of the Great Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the wholehearted cooperation of the brotherly delegates to the 8th ICFM. But even then and despite the signing of two subsequent peace agreements between us, coupled with the mounting pressures from the OIC and its member states, yet the Philippine government continued to evade and renege on its binding international commitment and obligations to set up and deliver to the MNLF leadership and the Bangsamoro people the long awaited autonomy. 

Thus, the political outlook in the Bangsamoro Homeland remains as fragile as it is intractable up to these days. Nothing, therefore, could be more precise and accurate than the observations contained in the general report of the OIC Secretary General before the opening session of this Conference yesterday. The esteemed OIC Secretary General, H.E. Abdulouahed Belkeziz said emphatically, and quote: 

"The Muslim people in Southern Philippines are still
battling to achieve a self-rule promised them many
decades ago, while the implementation of the 1996
accord is being stalled, threatening thus to further
 
embroil the situation and lead to increased tension.
All, despite the auspicious initiative which raise our
Hopes from time to time without delivering anything
tangible so far".
 

It will be recalled, in passing, that since the 1974 KL Resolution of the 5th ICFM; we have been compelled to continually accede to the insatiable demands of the Philippine Government, if only to prevent the collapse of the peace agreements and to avert the recurrence of war between us. When it should have been all the way around, considering that we, the MNLF, represent the aggrieved party whose land and freedom had been annexed and usurped from them. Besides, the MNLF has been on top of the situation more often than not, owing to the sacrifices of our freedom fighters, our heroic and valiant Mujahideen and Mujahidat, led by the Bangsamoro Armed Forces. 

For instance, since we begun our peace process over a quarter of a century ago, we have been persuaded to step aside from the correct path of our people's fundamental birthright to self-determination, decolonization and the independence of the Bangsamoro Homeland of Mindanao, Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan and Camiguin. All the compromises that paved the way to the signing of the peace agreements have always imposed heavy burden on us. And yet, what have we and our people gained from all this? Nothing! Except the promise of our eventual self-destruction! May Allah forbid. 

What have we gained, for instance, for conceding at the outset 40% of our people's ancestral Homeland? Again, I say nothing, save for the lip service promises that has never been fulfilled. In fact, we are not even sure whether we are going to get even so much of a fragment of the territories (15 provinces and 13 cities) thus far stipulated in the GRP-OIC-MNLF Peace Agreements, because of the incessant subterfuge and prolonged dilly-dallying on the part of the Philippine government. 

To justify such well-calculated and sinister delay, the Philippine government has been insisting on a referendum, which it completely controls. And yet, it was His Excellency, Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treikhi, who literally forced the GRP Peace Panel, under the late Barbero Carmelo, to recoil and abandon their proposal for such a referendum. That was during the December, 1976, Tripoli Peace Talks, when he wisely offered the gambit that the OIC and the MNLF would agree to such proposal for a referendum only if it would be agreed that the question would be confined merely to asking the people of Mindanao and its islands "whether or not they would want to continue to remain under Philippine rule or else choose to become free, sovereign and independent again!" At that time, the Bangsamoro people and their Homeland were barely 30 years old under Philippine rule since their unlawful and arbitrary usurpation and annexation in July 1946 by the Philippine colonial government in collusion with its former colonial master. I had to mention this point, just in case; although, as we could see it, it is already quite irrelevant to speak of referendum, because the Philippine government has already after all defaulted on it, owing to its failure to come up with the new organic act stipulated in the 1996 Peace Agreement. It should have done it within the 2-year timeframe mandated by this said Peace Agreement. Little wonder why the Bangsamoro people now generally refuse to be drawn into the idea of a referendum to obtain autonomy. Because they know very well that they can never expect to win. For they are fully aware that the Philippine government absolutely controls the conduct of referendum or elections, as it holds complete authority not only over its Commission on Elections, the school teachers, the National Police, the Armed Forces and the politicians but also the courts, the money and all the elections paraphernalia, including the blank ballots and the ballot boxes and everything concerned with this so-called democratic process. Moreover, our people know full well that the Philippine government is quite capable of making and unmaking the outcome of all such democratic processes all by itself, for obvious reasons! 

Thus, one should not begrudge the Bangsamoro people should they refuse to allow their freedom and their ancestral Homeland to be subjected to a one-sided and hypocritical referendum. After all, in the beginning, they were never consulted before the usurpation of their freedom and the unlawful and unilateral annexation of their national Homeland. 

Mr. Chairman, we would also like to point out that as a result of the GRP-OIC-MNLF peace agreements, the MNLF leadership and its followers were tragically divided into two opposing camps, one espousing autonomy while the other camp continuing with the original demand for self-determination and the creation of the independent Islamic state. People recall rather melancholically the past when they were still united like an impregnable phalange under one common umbrella organization, the MNLF, and one single leadership under the MNLF Founding Chairman. But given the dissension and disunity caused by our acceptance of autonomy, the spirit and strength and will-power of our people and freedom fighters were almost irreparably sapped and wrecked. The anti-autonomy groups or movements, such as the MILF, the ICC and the Abu Sayyaf and others continued with their demand for independence in utter defiance of the 5th ICFM Resolution, while we kept on demanding for the installation and delivery of the said autonomy. 

It is ironical, Mr. Chairman, that while in the beginning I was personally the one who first conceived of this demand for self-determination, decolonization and independence of the Bangsamoro people and their national Homeland, now I feel increasingly left behind. Indeed, I have literally become the sole defender and apologist for autonomy. All because I have been so flexible and faithful to your wise counsel and resolutions. Nowadays, in our Homeland, not too many people are still keen to struggle and sacrifice for autonomy. A random survey of Muslim or Bangsamoro opinion was taken recently in Metro Manila, and the outcome was quite an eye-opening. Out of so many people questioned, only 86 voted for autonomy, as against 126 federalism and well over 1,800 voted for self-determination and independence.  

Likewise, in the recently concluded regional consultations and congress convened by the MNLF leadership, none of those who joined the debates evinced any interest whatsoever in autonomy. Nor yet in federalism espoused by people like Senate President Aquilino Pimentel. But everyone demanded for outright reversion of self-determination and independence. As a matter of fact, even the Manifesto of the noble Datus of the Highlander communities, representing roughly six million populations of Mindanao and its islands, and who generally consider themselves as an integral part of the Bangsamoro people, strongly points to self-determination and independence. So, too, the Manifesto of the Muslim Royal Houses in Mindanao as well as of hundreds of both foreign and local trained Ulama and professionals. They, too, call for the immediate return to the MNLF original political objective, namely, to demand for self-determination, decolonization and independence. Indeed, even the Bangsamoro Women Movement. In their meetings and congresses, they to have adopted a series of resolutions demanding for complete break from the Philippine government and the resumption of the struggle for self-determination and independence through the peaceful democratic way. 

Indeed, even the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Bangsamoro People National Congress, which was attended surprisingly by a huge and mammoth number of MNLF supporters and sympathizers, including nearly 40,000 MNLF mujahideen and mujahidat in their traditional military uniform, had reaffirmed the earlier resolutions of the 4th Bangsamoro People's National Congress, highlighting in particular their resolve to revert back to the fundamental objective of seeking complete self-determination, decolonization and independence when hope for genuine political autonomy, notwithstanding the 9th Doha Islamic Summit Conference resolution, shall have flickered off and blown into the wind. By that time, the Bangsamoro Republic can no longer be prevented from assuming its rightful place among the community of free, sovereign and independent nation-states, Biidznillah! 

As to the Bangsamoro youth, it goes without saying that they are the most aggressive and militant in demanding for self-determination and independence. They can not be blamed for that, for youth everywhere in the world always want to be one step ahead of their time. In the recent meeting of the 4th Bangsamoro People's National Congress, for instance, their representative calmly stood in front of us and the 2,500 members of the Plenary and went on to advise us not to speak any longer of autonomy. And the young man went on to propose the formation on a "Provisional Government" and the declaration anew of the "Bangsamoro Republic" as a separate, sovereign and independent state. And yet the instruction we gave to the Organizing Committee was to advise the congresses, both regional and national, to prepare the basic guidelines to be used by us if and when the so-called "Tripartite Meeting" could be finally convened, so that we could contribute our share in deciding on the timeframe for the establishment and delivery of the genuine political autonomy to us and our people. 

We have always warned the Philippine authorities and their Peace Panel of this development. We never got tired of urging and prodding them not to delay and waste time, to prevent the peace agreements and autonomy from being over-taken by such event. But it never took us seriously. Instead, it taunted and provoked our people's sensibility by demanding unilaterally that the MNLF and the MILF should unite first before it may implement the GRP-OIC-MNLF peace agreement. Such is an impossible demand, we said. For how can the duo unite when one fights for a mere autonomy while the other one demands for self-determination and independence and the establishment of an Islamic State? Perhaps, a small fragment from both streams can join together at a certain point in time. But that can hardly provide the durable and lasting solution we and our people have been clamoring for to end three decades of conflict and war. The ultimate solutions, we believe, can be forthcoming only the two mainstreams can come together, which is quite impossible for the moment and for obvious reason. 

Therefore, we would now like to ask that this august Assembly should press hard for the immediate implementation of the GRP-OIC-MNLF peace agreements, including most particularly the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the authentic provisions of the 1996 Manila peace accord. And to begin with, we would like to ask that the historic Resolution of the 9th Islamic Summit Conference in Doha, Qatar, should be immediately implemented. Accordingly, the "Tripartite Meeting" envisaged in that Resolution should be convened without delay, in order that we can bring our minds and hearts together and agree on the modalities and the "Timeframe" for the establishment of the long-awaited "just, meaningful, comprehensive, and permanent political autonomy" and its delivery without much ado to the rightful hands of the MNLF leadership and the Bangsamoro people. 

Mr. Chairman, Your Highness & Distinguished Delegates: As your brother in Islam, I call on you to give this proposal your unanimous support. The Ministerial Committee of the Seven should be advised to convene such meeting without further delay. According to the Doha Resolution, the meeting should have been done before the end of March this year. But then we see ourselves back in that vicious cycle, because even the mandate from the 9th Islamic Summit Conference Resolutions has not been implemented till now.  

I hope, Mr. Chairman, I will not be misunderstood again in demanding for the implementation of our peace agreements. Otherwise, why, in the first place, did we have to spend so many laborious and sleepless years trying to craft and sign such peace agreements when we do not have the nobility of intention to implement them wholeheartedly--for the sake of peace and tranquility and to save the oppressed the Bangsamoro people and their posterity from the scourge and ravages of endless of war and hunger and anarchy.

And before I conclude, Mr. Chairman, I would like to appeal for the last time to the conscience of the concerned authorities of the Philippine government and all their collaborators to stop their unfriendly act of divide and rule. They have tried this so many times, but every time it only boomeranged on them. While the MNLF leadership and the Bangsamoro people have grown from strength to strength, ever prepared especially to shoulder the heavy burden of peace and development, and if need be war. We would like to stress before you that we don't want any bloodshed or war anymore, if we can help it. We just want to continue to pursue our role as the chief advocate and guardian and defender of peace in our Homeland Mindanao and its islands. For we have more to gain from peace than from war, as war benefits no one save those blood-thirsty ones. But we only hope though that some people will not abuse and provoke us against our will. Otherwise, things might slip out of our hands and the 120,000 MNLF Mujahideen and Mujahidat and the millions of Bangsamoro youth might be instigated to take the destiny of their people and their sacred Homeland back again into the palms of their hands! 

Let us therefore avoid this possibility before history may take its own course! For should that happen, not only the Bangsamoro Homeland but our neighbors as well might be affected by the ensuing fallouts, even caught in the blind fury of the war as in the past. So let us avoid stabbing each other in the back for that can lead to hostilities and accidental war. Thus, let's join together in a common resolve to stay the dreadful hands of conspiracy and war so that we can leave behind the legacy of peace, harmony and prosperity for all! Let us pray together to the Almighty Allah for His bounteous mercy and compassion and His infallible guidance and truth, justice and freedom shall ultimately prevail and overcome them all, Biidznillah! 

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask this August Assembly that it shall not deviate and falter from its wise and correct policy vis-a-vis the Bangsamoro problem and under no circumstance shall it allow anyone to undermine and destroy the fraternal bond we have built for decades in the higher interest of our Islamic brotherhood, unity and solidarity. 

Mr. Chairman: Reaffirming our unbreakable solidarity and support behind the Palestinian and Kashmiri right of self-determination and all other Islamic causes in the world, re remain

Wa Billahi Tawfiq W'alhidayah; Wassamu Alaikum W'Rahmatullahi W'Barakatuh!

 

Chairman Nur Misuari
Head of MNLF Delegation
28th ICFM, BAMAKO
Republic of Mali
25-29 June 2001

 

Homepage O History of the Bangsamoro People O The MNLF O Organization O Support from the OIC O The Tripoli Agreement
The Jeddah Accord 
O The Final Peace Agreement O The 4th Bangsamoro People's National Congress
The 5th Bangsamoro People's National Congress
O  The UN Initiative O The MNLF-MILF Merger O Speeches of Chairman Misuari
The August 14, 2001 ARMM Plebiscite
O The November 26, 2001 ARMM Election O Featured Articles
 Press Releases
O MNLF Foreign Offices O Contacts

Copyright 2001 b

Copyright 2001 by MNLF, Cotabato City