OF PROF. NUR MISUARI
DURING THE TRIPARTITE MEETING
ON OCTOBER 1, 1999
Mr. Chairman, Representatives of the OIC Ministerial
Committee of the Six, H.E. Ambassador Manuel Yan and his
colleagues in the GRP peace panel, my brothers in the MNLF
peace panel, Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Taala
Before I proceed, I would like to take the
opportunity to extend our warmest welcome to H.E.
Ambassador Kiam of the Republic of Senegal for being with
us in our very crucial meeting. And also our brother from
the Great Libyan Arab Jamaheriya, who is here in his
capacity as the representative
of his government. And let me extend to you this greeting
of peace again, Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Taala
First of all, Iím very happy to listen to the
guidelines of the Chairman with respect to the proceedings
and also with respect to the reiteration of the OIC
proposal to have an Memorandum of Agreement
in order to guide us in our concerted efforts to
implement the Peace Agreement, I would say, correctly.
Because the impression that we have in the MNLF, I donít
know in the world community, is that the implementation
for the last 3 years has been quite flawed and erratic and
I would say, I share the impression of the first 3 years
of the implementation was a miserable failure. And Iím
also happy to note the statement of H.E. Ambassador Yan
and the definition of authority given to him and his panel
by his government. It seems, it is very limited and very
much circumscribed by what the Philippine Congress has
decided. And this again highlights our impression that
indeed here in the peace process after the signing of the
Peace Agreement, we are now operating within, I would say,
within the jurisdiction of the GRP peace panel. By this,
they seem to have arrogated quite incorrectly the
authority to present to us everytime a fait accompli
solutions to all problems that we face in the process of
the implementation of the Peace Agreement. We came here
with the impression that our minds should be opened for
possible rectification of
what have we done in the past three years in order
to bring the implementation process closer to target,
closer to our understanding. But now it seems everything
has to be subsumed to the Philippineís decision making
body, to the Philippine laws and everything would come in
the shape of a fait accompli solution. This is consistent
with the strategy of the Philippine Peace panel in the
past, when everytime they wanted us to come close to their
position. They have fixed their position and it seems that
without Congress, without imprimatur from Congress they
can not move, they can not badge an inch so to speak
would like also, for purposes of
clarification that, should there be
agreement to the extension of the terms of the ARMM
and SPCPD and of course the Peace Agreement, I would like
that it should go without saying that the joint monitoring
system be extended also automatically.
Excellencies, I would just like to add that the rationale
behind all of
these is first and foremost, our desire that the Peace
Agreement will triumph, will be successful. Because these
Peace Agreements are the only solutions that we know of,
that could restore the faith of the Bangsamoro people in
the government of the Republic of the Phillippines. Donít
forget Excellencies that we the Bangsamoro people, we have
a legacy of many, many centuries of independent sovereign
existence. As early as 15th century, already we were considered
by no less than the emperor of China as the Master of the
a testimony to that fact that we were a master of
ourselves and our destiny. The Sultan of Sulu is still in
Chinese territory owing
to the invitation of the Chinese government. The Crowned
Prince had visited the mausoleum of their grand parents
long before, now the sultan himself went with a delegation
upon invitation of the Chinese government. You know very
well that in 1417, one of our sultans died in Chinese
territory after an audience with the emperor of China. At
that time, China used to consider itself as the center of
the universe And also if you go deeper you will come to
realize that we were also recognized
by the Ottoman empire. And we were recognized by
many peoples of the world. In the exchanges of
communications between the Sultan of Sulu and the King of
Great Britain, they addressed each other as brothers and
so on and so forth.
We have this long legacy but because of
international conspiracy we have lost our political
freedom and our sovereignty. And then we tried to struggle
to regain something out of that, and we thought that this
peace agreement is the manifestation of our gain. Now it
seem, there is an attempt even to destroy this.
I would like to recall in our previous meeting last
Friday, no less than H.E. former Exec. Sec. Gen. Aguirre,
who is now the chief adviser to the National Security
Council was the one who said that all these must be placed
ultimately under the decision of the people. This is very
important to us. This is a total deviation from the peace
agreed to accept autonomy in exchange for our demand for
the restoration of our national freedom and independence
and sovereignty through that total and complete
decolonization of our homeland. We agreed to this. Now, it
seems as if everything is placed in the hands of the GRP
peace panel, and even then they are not ready to deliver
this genuine autonomy. Now, we want to be very clear about
our position here.
Excellencies, with due respect to the OIC, we would
like to inform you that unless we get genuine autonomy for
our people there will be no guarantee to our future, to
our peopleís future. Already, we have lost our lands.
What remains in the hands of our people is very very small
fragment. And it is still under encroachment, exposed to
daily encroachment. Because the law is controlled by them
and the land is controlled by them.
remember, Bapa Mokhtar Kasumaatmaja,
one time, he was invited by former minister (at the
time of Marcos, minister) Jose Abad Santos who was the
former Dean of the UP College of Law, he was my former professor of law. Pa Mokhtar was on his way to Morocco
for our OIC Summit and this was in
1981. Pa Mokhtar told us this, when he reached
Manila on his way to Morocco, he met the Minister and in
the meeting he asked the minister, why did you ask for me?
He said this, you know Minister, we want to ask your
advice how can (from the viewpoint of Indonesia who knows
the problem so well and so close to the people in
Mindanao) how can we solve this problem (this problem in
Mindanao)? And this was the answer, he said this ďIf you
want to solve your problem you must realign your policies
on the land of the people. The greatest injustice you have
committed against our Muslim brothers in Mindanao is when
you declare the land as public land and therefore by
stroke of a pain you deprived them of the ownership of the
land that they have owned for many many centuries since
time immemorial.Ē We donít owned our land because
there was no title to our land because that was the system
of the sultanate government. We lost our land, and they
the machineries of government. We are being deprived of
everything, of our political power, of our sovereignty, of
our land and even our future now is at stake. Because we
are not a part of this government. We are not allowed to
participate. We want to get involved. We want to be
accepted but they do not accept us. We want to get
involved but they donít allow us to participate.
have been studying the situation in various part of the
world. In Indonesia, I used to know that at one time, the
most powerful institutions of government, except for the
Office of the President, was in the hands of the
Christians and yet they just constitute a small
percentage. And many
of the generals are from the Christian communities. How
Muslims trust them. In Thailand today, the Foreign
Minister is a Muslim and even the speaker of the
parliament, I understand, is a Muslim. In South Africa, I
understand that out of 24 ministers, 5 are Muslims and yet
the Muslims constitute barely only 2% of the population.
And the Supreme Court Justice, Chief Justice is a Muslim.
Thatís how they treat us Muslims in other parts of the
world. In Egypt for instance, the representative of Egypt
in the United Nations is a Christian. He was the former
state minister of foreign affairs. And he was the
Secretary General of
the United Nations for one time. He is a Christian,
Dr. Butros Butros Ghali.
they are being treated. But we here, we fought to maintain
the integrity of our sovereignty and our freedom in
Mindanao for half a millennium but we donít get anything
here. And even with this kind of agreement, already we
have been so flexible, we gave literary everything to
them, but still they are not ready to implement. They
offered me to become governor but only to cause my
miserable failure. Because they did not release
the funds and they did not give the funds to us. And now
we have one year but what is one year. According to Sen.
Raul Roco, the governor under the new law can exercise
active power only up to February. Why? Because on the
nineth months of the whole year, they are contemplating
the holding of a referendum.
to the Philippine law, one and a half months before and
one and a half month after the election,
no infrastructures can be done except the on going
ones. And then after that referendum that we lost three
months there will be another political exercise, and this
will be the election. One and half months before that
election, we will not be able to do anything at all. So
that means, we will lost six months, one and a half months
before and one and a half after. In these two exercises it
amounts to 3 months. But if it is autonomy, they said it
is 3 months before. So weíll lose this.
Now according to our experiences when we have
infrastructure money from the government they give the
first releases but for our infrasturcture rehabilitation
program, only on the sixth month of the year. So we will
gain nothing out of this extension. Therefore
the new law is nothing but a recipe to another failure. We
are bound to repeat the failure of the last three years
because we will be paralyzed. And besides look at our budget there is no money for
infrastructure, no money, no annual allotment. That was
the discussion in the congress. I was there.
our ditractor, Cong. Lualhati Antonino, was angry with the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) people. She
said, ďyou have been telling usĒ addressing the DBM
representatives ďthat you have increased the budget of
the ARMM, now it turned out
you are telling us lies,
you have reduced their budget instead.Ē That was
the statement of Rep. Antonino, who is one of the chief
oppositors to the peace agreement.
Now where do we stand now. Can we afford to accept
another failure. This is the reason why we have been so
deterred in our presentation. Hopefully, the GRP peace
panel will be
able to understand. We want the Peace Agreement to
succeed. Because we donít want the reccurence of
violence and the reccurence of war in Mindanao. Everytime
there is violence and there is war, itís our people and
their children who get victimized. But how can we succeed
if this is all what we get. They always imposed. You have
to go to the Senate. How many times have I travelled to
the Senate, how many times have I travelled to the
Congress. I never expected that I would have to humble
myself this much just to get the peace done. I never
expected Excellencies. But if did not go, everyone would
have been howling and accusing Misuari of arrogance and
like that. But this is the situation we are facing here.
You have placed us as it were in the lion cage.
Iím sorry to say this that some of the comments
were a little bit off tangent. What I mean is that I think
before we went to Ouagadougou, it was the understanding
that the government was going to extend to three years
(the phase I of the peace Agreement). Even the President
himself had told me that he was determined to extend it to
another three years, one and a half years for the election
and one and a half for the referendum which I have
revealed and conveyed to you in our series of meetings.
But the problem here is that as they are saying the commitment of the Executive Office
cannot bind the other organs of government. And this is
the most dangerous thing here.
are supposed to be dealing with the GRP peace panel. GRP
means Government of the Republic of the Philippines, which
is supposed to embrace the entity of the whole state
system, namely the Office of the President, the Congress,
the Supreme Court and these Judicial organs of government,
but now they are fragmenting. What the executive office
commits the other organs of government may not necessarily
agree to as it is happening now.
And with respect to this program, these are funded
from foreign hand outs. What we are asking for is the
commitment of the government from the treasury of the
government itself. After all the money that they are going
to spend are the money taken from Mindanao. Mindanao used
to contribute 60% to the national economy. They got lots
of taxes from there. And we thought that they should
return back part of those taxes to rehabilitate Mindanao.
And besides this is a small thing if you compare for
instance to what happens in East Timor. For 350 years of
Portuguese colonization in the area, they were only able
to produce one high school, one kilometer of road and I
donít know how many clinics and like that.
Under Indonesia, so many quality roads, at least 27
hospitals and numerous number of high schools and
colleges. They have even produced the biggest symbol of
Christian next only to that in Rio de Janero. And despite that, still the people are saying, at least part of
the population are saying, we want more, more freedom. The
material component of all these are important but I would
say the political one should not be overlooked and because
thatís more important to us than the golds and the
diamonds you will give to our people.
You remember Excellency the statement of President
Quezon, ďI would rather be governed by my people like
hell than be governed by foreign powers like heaven.Ē
That is the statement. And we are asking them to respect
that dictum of their own president, President Quezon. Let
us respect that at least in a sense.
are not asking for absolute freedom except for some of our
brothers. But even this limited freedom we are asking,
they donít want to give to us. And they want everything
to be decided by Congress. We were not negotiating with
the Congress. We were not negotiating with the Senate. We
were negotiating with the government. The government has
to deliver. If they cannot deliver, then we should find a
I have said, these
are our works, the social fund. We went to Paris and the
World Bank came. Of course we gave tribute to the
initiative of former Pres. Fidel Ramos. The chief adviser
of the World Bank brother Alrifai was sent to Manila, from
Manila we proceeded to General Santos and we had a
pledging session there.
Since there was no formal commitment made, so they
decided to hold another meeting in Paris and I was invited
along with brother Mayor Mus Sema and few other people
from the MNLF.
in Paris, during that meeting, it was a full pledging
session, they asked me speak before them. And after my
speech, they called for a recess and they had a caucus.
And after about 30 minutes they returned back to tell us,
ďMr. Governor, we have decided here to make available
520 million dollars for this economic development of
Mindanao.Ē So they publicized this in the world press,
because there were media people around. I thought that
with this money we could have implemented the
socio-economic component of the peace. But none of these
money came, not a single cent.
went to see Mr. Binay at his quarters nearby here in
Makati and what he told me was that ďwell Mr. Governor,
Iím sorry to tell you that
we have decided to utilized the fund, 230 million
would be spent to lay a cable between Mindanao and Leyte
in order to attach us to the Leyte grid.Ē Because Leyte
is producing huge quantity of energy and they want to sell
this to Mindanao. Although Mindanao has plenty of sources
of energy. One hundred million dollars, he told me, was
appropriated to one province, Christian province. Another
hundred million to another Christian province. The other
money he said, I donít know, we still have to plan for
the use of this.
then I have not heard anything about that. Then came
another issue 42 billion. They were saying P42 billion
peace money. We thought that this was the money that was
pledged in Jakarta that they would come up with what they
planned as mini-marshall plan of rehabilitation and
reconstruction. Then I asked, is this a special money or
is this a regular budget of the government.
was a meeting of the Consultative Assembly of the SPCPD in
Pagadian City. NEDA had sent a representative to that
meeting, the representative was from
Region 12. And the gentleman was asked to be
allowed to explain what this money all about. Then after
he issued a few statement, I asked him, Can you please
answer my question before you proceed. Is this a new money
or is this a regular budget of the government for
Mindanao? ďHe said this is a regular money. I said sit
down, I donít want to listen to you.Ē We have no
business to listen to the regular money of the government.
And this money was supposed to be implemented by them.
the end of the tenure of office of Pres. Ramos, there was
a seminar in Zamboanga City, my brother Gen. Abidin was
present and, he
spoke before the conference and Gen. Aguirre was present.
Then I raised this question in the course of the seminar,
ďMr. SecretaryĒ I said, ďtell me about the money,
the P42 billion. What happened to this money?Ē Well, he
said, when I was the Exec. Sec. well, to the best of my
knowledge only 2.9 billion was released. I said, what
happened to the rest of the money. He said I donít know
now. That was after the end of the term of Pres. Ramos.
What I am concerned about is what they called the
mini-marshall plan of reconstruction, no single money was
put up for the purposes of implementing this promise.
Well, instead, they are asking people outside to give dole
outs, to give hand outs.
I was in the meeting in Malacanang Palace the other day
where this phamplets were distributed, itís my people
who are implementing to show how competent we are.
Everyone in the, the World Bank is happy the way we
implement their projects. There is no hunky-punky business
whatsoever. But at any rate, I donít think we should
make big with this issue.
know in Mindanao and the islands, there are roughly 20
million population and in the 14 provinces and 10 cities
there are more than 10 million, maybe 13-14 or even more
and we cannot take
pride in being able to spend 100-200 million for small
projects here and there because it is just a drop
in a basket so to speak. I am not saying that we are not
grateful but this is not enough to address the problem of
the people who are still in the dark.
And there is another one here about the livelihood
program. At the onset of our administration, government
asked us to prepare and there were even these social
funds, they told me the other day, Mr. Richard Anson from
the World Bank was saying that there are more than 3,000
applicants but they have approved only more than 300
applicants. And we finished already the term, the
transition period. We got this money, 10 million from the
World Bank and then I went to OPEC, I went to Austria to
look for money from the OPEC and they gave us promises.
Later on they said, 10 million dollars available. But
until now excellency, the money has not been spent.
was thinking that as soon as the money was made available,
they would expedite the utilization of this, even if the
World Bank money was still being used. You know the World
Bank money available is about P400 million, they spent
million and the processes were all gone now. And you know
what does this mean, P400 million is equivalent to only 10
million dollars and they
spent only about seven million five hundred
for 3 years. The Palestenians, when they signed the
peace agreement, they were promised more than 2.5 billion
dollars by the World Bank (IMF) and the United States of
America. P7.5 million is not even a drop in the basket.
Well anyway, Iím not trying to be sarcastic but Iím
just trying to be frank about it. What we have done is at
best. I donít know how to describe it but no one is
satisfied. Now they are expecting, as H.E. was saying, we
have another year to implement. Well, according to my
analysis, this one year is good as useless. Sen. Roco said
in a published statement, the governor can govern
effectively only until February. There was a headline
statement by Roco. Why - because of the mandate of the
law. The law says one and half months before and one a
half after thatís already three months, no
infrastructure money can be implemented.
And then another one and half months before and one
and a half
after the elections, three months again, nothing.
DBM has the habit of releasing infrastructure money only
on the sixth month of the year. So you consume out the
whole year just for this purpose.
how can you implement anything here. Even in Indonesia,
the earliest they can give, despite the fact that there
are not much red tapes, bureaucratic red tapes is I think
in April, on the forth month. To produce one kilometer of
2 lanes road, pave roads will require at least including
the mobilization, the
bidding and the actual construction and the clearing and
so on, the gravelling all of these mobilization will take
at least 3 months.
And you have agreed,
not to give anything to the SPCPD except to pay
salaries of the employees yet that was supposedly the main
implementing instrumentality of the Peace Agreement. But
you decided to emasculate it because you were afraid of
the opposition. You told me when I inquired why the SPCPD
not given the power, ďlet us not play into the hands of
the appropriation ď you said.
were afraid because they opposition were demanding for the
abrogation of the Peace Agreement. And the oppositions are
now in power. They are the ones putting up all of these
obstacles in Congress. Thatís why no surprise, they were
the ones asking for the abolition or the abrogation. So
now we are facing these obstacles.
Iím sorry to say this, I was watching the
proceedings in the Senate. One senator from Cebu, who was
not fair, he was mocking the OIC. He was mocking the Peace
Agreement and he was even asking H.E. Amba. Manuel Yan to
resign, ďwhy are you still here. You belong to the old
regime, why are you still here?Ē What kind of
hostilities towards the Peace Agreement. These are
Senators Excellency, these are representatives.
Now under the circumstance, with
only one year, what can we expect. I hope we will
not be misunderstood. Our purpose is to give you some kind
of enlightenment about some guidance how we feel. If you
want us to succeed, please give us elbow room. But with
this, we will be stifled we will be emasculated. I donít
know at the end of the day, we will end up facing another
terrible indictment from the people and from the world
In fact we have a representative from the SPDA, one
of the substitute implementing arm of the Peace Agreement.
If you donít mind, let us listen to him. How does he
feel being now the administrator, what money have been
given to him. And also from the SPCPD, what have they done
to justify their existence. If you donít mind I would
like to pass this privilege on to former Gov. Tillah. He
was appointed by the President as Administrator of SPDA
after so much delay.
see these are two major implementing agencies of the peace
but look, both of them are not so happy of the outcome of
their activities. And still unhappy about the future they
are facing .
As a mater of fact this is indicative of whatís
happening in every part of Mindanao. The other day, I was
in University of the Philippines. I went to visit the
President of the university who is an old friend. Then I
proceeded to a group of Muslim students, most of them were
women. Now sooner I took my seat then one of them started
telling me, ďMr Chairman, brother Nur, we here the
students in this premier university have been keeping tab
of development with respect to the Peace Agreement. We are
sorry to inform you, we hope we are not correct, according
to our information and our analysis, the Peace Agreement
has failed, why donít you work out for the total
decolonization and independence of Mindanao?Ē
Now here is another one, the powerful Ulama
movement in Mindanao. These people, it is impossible for
us not to listen to them because they carry weight.
Because they have grassroot supporters. They have people
in the Mosques, they have people in the Madrasas and they
have people everywhere. They publicized, I think the other
day, they are asking the Philippine Congress and the
President of the Philippines to abolish ARMM and SPCPD.
And they are demanding instead, for implementation of the
Tripoli Agreement provision calling for provisional
government. They are
not happy with ARMM and SPCPD.
fact I remember at one time when I was defending my budget
in Congress, that was last year, I challenged the
Congressmen and the Congresswomen who are grilling us. I
said, if you like, better abolish the SPCPD because SPCPD
is a make believe institution. It is creating expectation
and it is unable to deliver as my brother, the Executive
Director is saying. We are not able to deliver because we
are not allowed. According to the Executive Order of the
President, we are not allowed (the SPCPD) to build even
one kilometer of road. Because they said this is just an
administrative apparatus, just to oversee. And the line
agencies of the government, do not even observe
fundamental elementary courtesy of asking us to oversee or
even visit their projects, no, nothing. Itís as
good as useless.
Well, anyway, what Iím saying here, with due
apologies to H.E. Ambassador Manuel Yan and with due
respect to his presentation, I would like really to say
that we in the MNLF, we are not
happy. We are not happy with the last three years
of our transitional mechanism. We were not able to meet
the expectation of the people and with this one year
period given to us, we are not optimistic either whether
we can deliver because there is no time and they have
not provided money. No money for the ARMM because
they gave us zero annual allotment. They gave P13 billion
for Luzon, they gave P9 billion for Visayas and they gave
P5 billion for Mindanao, the second largest region, why?
last 50 years all the money of the country has been spent
for the development of Luzon and to a certain extent
Visayas. Why? Because we have been taken for a milking
cow. They want to use everything in Mindanao to develop
Luzon and the Visayas at our expense. Why is it possible,
because they control and monopolize the state power.
We donít have representative
in the Senate, 24 Senators not one Muslim. Out of 240
congressmen and congresswomen, we have only nine Muslims
and none is MNLF except maybe one or two.
why they are suffering from what
they call ďtyranny
of majority.Ē They are always outvoiced, they are always
outvoted. We donít have one representative in the
Supreme Court. Out of more than 50 members of the Court of
Appeals, we have only one or two. In all the financial
institutions of government, we have nothing. In the
diplomatic community, even to such country like Saudi
Arabia, instead of sending a Muslim, they sent a
Christian. Why like this. They are marginalizing us.
can you expect us to be happy and to be associated with
this republic. As a matter of fact, in the last budgetary
hearing some weeks ago in the Congress where I was
present. You see, one the Muslim congressmen was saying
this, the way you do, you are treating the ARMM as if it
is not a member or a part of the Republic of the
Philippines. That is Cong. Datumanong in the Committee
deliberation where I was present. As if you are treating
ARMM not a part of the Republic of the Philippines. He was
saying loudly addressing the Committee hearing. Why,
because they did not give money. They were saying they
gave money but it turned out instead, they had reduced our
funds. What they are counting are funding from outside.
According to the rules they should not be counted in the
budget because the budget are supposed to be only from the
taxes realized by the government.
So anyway the problem here is that, we want very
much to be accepted as part of this country. And we want
to be involved not to be marginalized. But on either cases
we are not optimistic. We are always discriminated. We are
always neglected. We are always abandon and we donít
have any future at all in this country. Iím sorry to say
I would just like to make response to the challenge to
produce documents. I can not produce documents but I can
cite incidence. If you remember on 19th of
March during our caucus in Manila Hotel, no less than
Exec. Sec. Zamora in the presence of Mr. Puno and your
Excellencyís presence and Gen. Aguirreís presence,
everyoneís presence, they were telling us in clear language, three years
extension. If you remember on March 19 in Manila
And also, in the same date H.E. Ambassador Yan had
proposed and recommended the empowering of the SPCPD and
so on. But anyway, ours is only to remind them. If they
want to run away from their commitment and their pledges,
well we can not do anything about it. We are very sorry to
But I want the OIC to understand that we never run
away from our commitment. I want the world to make
judgement whether we have been faithful to our commitment
to the Peace Agreement. We have been faithful. And no one
can dispute that.
We cannot accept R.A. 8753 as the basis for the
extension of the SPCPD. If you remember they were supposed
to pass a new Organic Act in October last year but they
failed. So we can not be blamed for their failure. They
failed also to come up with the economic and financial
commitment the mini-marshall plan of reconstruction and
And even if they give us mandatory budget they donít
release except in trickles. We had for the information of
H.E. Amba. Kiam, the first time they gave us
infrastructure money was in 1998, last year. And
infrastructure money was supposed to be P1.5 billion. But
before we knew it they took away half billion arbitrarily.
And then they informed us that they reserved 25% out of
the 1 billion, so we were left only with P750 million.
This is for the 4 provinces. Later on they started
releasing. In 1998 they made the first release only after
October. Then we got new releases only in August this
year, a period of six months for our construction of
How can we expect to deliver something beneficial
and visible to the eyes of our people .
Iím not accusing the President nor Amba Yan or
what. Maybe there are some invisible minds or invisible
hands trying to cause our failure so that we will lose the
respect of our people. And in that process, they thought
that this could cause the dissolution of the MNLF. And
therefore, this would deprive the people their legitimate
leadership. Iím just speculating because that is the
consequence of our failure.
Now, people are asking us intead, the Ulama, the
very powerful group who can sway millions to whatever
direction they want, and the youths from the premier
University of the Philippines. And I tell you people are
not quite happy. Thatís why if I talk the way I do it is
because I would like to open the eyes of the Philippine
government through the GRP panel so that hopefully they
can take initiative to make some rectification from here
and there so that the dream would not become irreversible.
We have to reverse the process because we want to protect
the Peace Agreement. But of course not at all cost because
we want peace which is honorable and dignified peace.
Without that, even if Misuari will agree, the people, Iím
sure will not.
So this is my final comment and I leave the rest to
the wisdom of the OIC and our friends from the GRP peace
you Excellency for the amplifications you have made. It is
clear now to us the impression you have about the peace
process. But we should not forget the issue even this
Organic Act we have now in the Senate.
Donít forget the impurities, they included something that
are not supposed to be there, the confiscation of our
properties, the limitation imposed on us and so on and so
I think all points indicate that we are now moving
towards - - - I donít know how to call it but I think
all of these points are now indicating that the peace
process is moving towards a very very sorry end.
With all those efforts that the OIC have made, with
all those supports that we received from all over the
world, to the extent even the UNESCO have demonstrated its
support by giving us that peace prize with President Ramos
in Senegal. H.E. the President of Senegal
was presiding over the ceremony. It was attended by
many dignitaries from various parts of the world. They
have recognized the importance of this but I think some of
our people are taking it lightly. They took it for granted
and the reason is they have placed this in the hands of
Congress and Senate which are basically controlled by
oppositions to the Peace Agreement and the peace talks
from the very beginning before the previous
Now this is the basic problem, the fundamental
problem that we are facing. Because these people are very
very influential for the information of the H.E. There are
four outstanding oppositions here who are openly opposing.
First, we have the Lobregats, mother and son, these people
want to confiscate our property in Zamboanga City and even
to drive us out from there. A certain Gen. Gaurano, former
head of the PNP in Zamboanga, for your information, one
time came to see me to tell me voluntarily. He said, many
times this lady had told me to evict the Muslims from the
city. This is our city. We fought for it for centuries.
And this lady, she came from the Visayas. She usurped more
than one thousand hectares of land in the city through the
manipulation of the family. Now they want to get rid of us
from that. And in fact when this law was discussed some
congressmen were saying
is tantamount to ethnic cleansingĒ.
son took over the position of the mother as congressman
because the mother was a congresswoman before and then she
finished her term and became mayor, the son became the congressman from this. And he
is a member of a powerful group composed of sons and
daughters of former congressmen and congresswomen. The son
is a member.
we have the deputy speaker, Speaker Fuentes, she is the
number 2 in the hierarchy of the Phil. House of the
Representative. And sheís from Mindanao and sheís
opposed to this. And we have another one, Cong. Antonino,
she is the head of the League of Congressmen and
Congresswomen from Mindanao, 49 of them. Thatís why they
can move mountains there inside the Hall of Congress. And
these were the people who were opposed against the peace
process and the peace agreement during the time of Marcos.
And they are now in power being members and powerful
members of the ruling party.
So we must reckon with this reality, Excellencies.
Thatís why we are facing so much problem. And there are
many other factors here to consider but in fine, I think
the GRP panel, if they really want to join hands with us
in protecting the Peace Agreement and the peace that we
have achieved they must move heaven and earth, to convince
their leaders, from the President down to those key
members of Congress and Senate.
According to the former Speaker De Venecia during a
dinner tendered on behalf of our brother Amba. Azarouq, he
said, if I were in the side of the government, I would not
release this law (organic law) unless and until Iím able
to get the concurrence of the Speaker, the President of
the Senate and of the chairman of the MNLF. Once they
conclude to this, then and only then. What is the used of
passing a law which is not acceptable to the MNLF. Unless
you are willing to violate our agreement
that there shall
no more imposition. If you impose your will on us,
donít expect our people to accept that, just like that.
We are not going to accept any imposition whatsoever. So
this is the thing.
Now I would like to conclude my statement again,
but I donít like to be misunderstood. As I said
as I took my office as governor of ARMM and chairman of
the SPCPD, I said and I want to say it again that it the
wish of the people of Mindanao, of the MNLF and of all of
us that there shall be no more reccurence of bloodletting
and bloodbath. Let alone of war in Mindanao. Because
everytime there is war, itís our people, our children,
our women and our old folks that were caught in the
one, there never was a war in Mindanao imposed by people
from the outside including the Phil. Government that did
not affect our own citizens. Thatís why we hate war.
Number two, we have to say this, we would like to
reiterate our position which we have submitted to
Presidentís Estradaís office and to this honorable
body that in the event, this peace process will end up in
a failure to produce a comprehensive and viable autonomy
or geniune autonomy then of course naturally this will
bring about to the natural abrogation, to the logical
abrogation of the Peace Agreement.
even in that circumstance, weíd like to appeal that we
entered into gentlemanís agreement, better still we bind
ourselves to continue to respect and honor the peace. We
work so hard to restore this peace. We would like the
government to take any pretext to start a new war, a war
of extermination in our homeland.
it is now become a habit in various parts of the world
everytime there is war the Armed Forces always find
pretext to engage in some excesses. In Bosnia,
Hesogovina, in Kosovo, in Chechnya, in Pakistan, in
Kashmir in all those places, Muslims are always been at
the receiving end. We donít want to become at the
receiving end again. We have suffered too much. And we
appeal to the OIC to help us protect this peace and we are
at this point in time, we want to portray ourselves as the
chief advocate now and chief defender and protector and
the champion of peace. Because peace is the essence of our
And genuine peace
is the ultimate objective of our Jihad Fi Sabilillah.
Well, I would just like to point out that I think I
donít know how they look at the SPCPD to show that the SPCPD is not
that important. Because until now the Consultative
Assembly has not been renewed. I submitted the
recommendation December last year. And I took effort to
remind them about this. And I think 2 days ago they asked
me again to submit. Last year I submitted, and then I went
on to submit and submit and remind and remind them. And
now the other day I received a message from H.E. asking me
to submit. And dutifully I asked my wife to look for a
copy and then I signed it again and submitted it. But thatís
already at the end of the Peace Agreement, already
finished the Consultative Assembly and has done nothing
for years. Since the advent of this administration the CA
has not met even once. So you can see how they treat the
Peace Agreement and all these things.
Mr. Ambassador, I was the one who prepared all of
these and I checked and checked and in fact at one time my
wife told me, we have exceeded the number. The new vice
chairman, Mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa,
Palawan has been asking me. He said ďwhatís the use of
me having been appointed as vice when we have not met even
once.Ē I am a little bit embarrassed.
thatís the situation we have. I think this is October 1
and this is already the end of our term and that is how we
have been fearing until now, so far. Iím sorry, - - - I
really hate to abuse your generosity Mr. Chairman, Thank
Well, I have said my last word so many times. Again
and again, I have to violate my pledges to you Mr.
Chairman because I have to respond to the on going
development here. First of all I would like to thank H.E.
for the intervention, Ambassador Kiam and for his word of
caution that even he, for his first time to join us here,
he was already talking in terms of possible risks of the
should entertain the illusion about the fate of the Peace
Agreement. The Peace Agreement is on trial. I am telling
you seriously. Some people may not feel it but we in the
MNLF, particularly myself, I have gone through over 3
decades in our efforts to tame the genie of war in
Mindanao. And we have succeeded.
then, the genie of war is trying to get lose as it were.
If we are not careful, I am afraid before we know it,
there will be another crisis in Mindanao. That is very
very real. I am not joking and this crisis can come with
or without me because I am not the only one who is in
control of the situation there. Donít forget
Excellencies, in difference to the presence of our brother
Amba. Kiam that in Mindanao only MNLF is still clinging to
that illusion that autonomy is still viable as an
honorable solution to the problem in Mindanao, only MNLF.
Even the MNLF, it is already fragmented in terms of our
commitment to the autonomy.
I can boast, modesty aside, that itís me who is
the only one now whoís championing this cause.
in our leadership are already trying to get lose out of
this. So Iím afraid unless weíre able to enter into an
acceptable and honorable compromise to save and rescue the
peace agreement, Iím afraid the future may not be under
control. And finally, I hope this is my last and final
say. hope the
OIC Ministerial Committee will give all seriousness to
this work. And also I would like to appeal to H.E. Amba.
Manuel Yan and Usec. Hernandez and Usec. Nabil Tan and
their colleagues I would like to appeal to them if
possible to give us written reply. We are going to give
you also written reply to your proposal that you have
submitted to us. This is my final words. Iím sorry for
taking the microphone so many times. Iím sure, Iím
boring already but I hope you understand. I donít want
anyone to be misled. I want to be always understood
clearly. So when anything happens, you will not say that
Misuari has misled us.
Once again, allow me to violate my pledge,
Excellencies, you see I have been in this peace process
for so long. I was the head of our peace team in Jeddah
in January 1975. Since then, except for the meeting
here (that aborted meeting in Manila) during the time of
Marcos, I have always headed my panel. Because I always
want to give honor to the OIC and to our counterpart. That
is to say, we always want to send very high level
delegation. By high level we mean is that, capable of
deciding. As we could see now, this is one sided. Iím
sorry to say this, from my observation, the GRP peace
panel is not in that position to make any decision at all.
They have to carry only messages from Congress and from
the Senate. And at best from the Office of the President.
So this is very disadvantageous to us. So next time
around, we hope that like in Jakarta and in other places
that they would take care to bring some representatives
from the Senate and the Congress. And you should ask us to
send high level delegation capable of making decision on
the spot. Thank you .