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SPEECH DELIVERED BY ARMM GOVERNOR NUR MISUARI DURING
 THE SILVER JUBILLEE CELEBRATION
 OF THE PROVINCE OF MAGUINDANO
 ON NOVEMBER 21, 1998

 

            Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.  Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alamin.  Wassalatu Wassamu ‘Ala Asrafil Anbiya-i Wal Mursalin.  Sayyidina Muhammadin Wa ‘Ala ‘Alihi Wa Ajhabi Ajma-in Amma Ba’ad.

            My dear brother, the distinguished Governor Zacaria Candao, the distinguished Vice-Governor Mus Ampatuan, Madam Rhonda Candao, the distinguished Ustadz Abu Talib Yahya, my very close friend, the distinguished Father Eliseo Mercado,Jr., the distinguished former Governor of Maguindanao Province Datu Sanggala Baraguir, former Governor Norodin Matalam. The distinguished members of the board, Datu Norodin Mamaluba, Datu Ali Sangki, Brother Mohammad Kanakan, Datu Ronnie Sinsuat, Executive Secretary Randolph Bong Parcasio, my Chief Policy Adviser Abdul Rahman Amin, Director Enok, Atty. Macapeges, our very distinguished guest of honor, Mr. Lucio Tan, President, Cotabato-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and our other distinguished guests, Mr. Johnson Co, Secretary of Cotabato-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, brothers and sisters and other distinguished guests, allow me on this auspicious occasion to convey to you our noble greetings of peace “Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Taala Wa Barakatuhu”, Peace be on you and the blessings of the Almighty Allah.

            Before I proceed, allow me to convey to you also the greetings of your brothers and sisters in the ARMM and in the SPCPD on this Silver Jubillee celebration of the founding day of this Province of Maguindanao.  And also, to reiterate to you our solemn pledge of unity and solidarity with you, and with our dear brother, Governor Zacaria Candao.

            The Governor, Zacaria Candao, in my estimation, is now looming large in the consciousness of the Philippine Government and the Filipino nation because he happened to have played a vital role in shaping the destiny not only the Maguindanao but of Mindanao and its Islands as a whole.

            Brothers and sisters, to us, your brothers from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga, Davao and the rest of Mindanao, we look at Maguindanao Province not only in terms of the past, but more so, in terms of the future of Mindanao and our people.  To us, Maguindanao is the heart of Mindanao.  Maguindanao used to be the cradle of our Islamic culture and civilization especially during those days before its fragmentation.  And to us, we look at Maguindanao Province as the cradle of our future, nevertheless. It is here where business trade and commerce will proliferate.   As you have seen in the past few months, already we have started with our banana plantation in Datu Paglas municipality.  Very soon, we are going to start with our sugar central in Talayan municipality, both of which are in Maguindanao Province.  I was telling our brother, the Governor, that I went out of my way to exert pressure on the Government to ensure the approval of our brother’s request for permit to plant bananas in competition with the other banana plantation in Mindanao.  Alhamdulillah, the government decided to approve our request despite the pressure from some sectors in Mindanao.  Again, in order to be able to transform Maguindanao into a center of economic agro-industrial activities,  I went to the Czech Republic and signed a memorandum of agreement for the establishment of a sugar central in Talayan municipality, again, under the Maguindanao province.  I am not sure how much money has been invested in the banana plantation, but, it must be very significant one.  As a matter of fact, during the last Hajj, I was sitting together with the Saudi Arabian investor who helped our brothers in Datu Paglas to put up the industry.  I was sitting at their capital in Jeddah and they told me, “Brother Nur, it is our plan to establish the biggest food processing industry in Mindanao which will be the biggest in the whole of Asia.”  And I think, you must have heard about the turn-over ceremony of Polloc and the port of Siasi, the port of Bongao, the port of Sitangkai, and other places are now completely under our jurisdiction, Alhamdulillah.  I was telling our brother, the distinguished Governor, that very soon, we are expecting big number of Japanese parliamentarians from the Japanese Diet.  They want to come and visit the Polloc and they want to establish industrial park in Polloc and they want to develop it into the center of business not only here in Mindanao but also, in the Philippines, Biiznillah.

            So, I believe that whether we like it or not, because Maguindanao, sitting at the heartland of Mindanao, and considering its strategic geographic, and geo-political locations, Maguindanao Insha-Allah is inevitably becoming the cradle of our people’s future.  And if you look at the perspective of our future as a nation, as a Filipino nation, perhaps, some of us are not aware of the prediction of the premonition of some learned people who maintain that Mindanao is going eventually to become the leader of the Philippines.

            Mindanao is going to lead the whole country into the next millenium.  That is the current thinking of many people in Luzon and in the Visayas and of course, here in Mindanao.  I think , you know very well how great is our potential.  You know very well the magnetism of Mindanao to people outside.  I would like to inform you that the few days ago, I was  the head of a team that visited Jolo island.  I was in the company of several businessmen from Japan.  Despite the present security problem, still, our friends have enough confidence in their safety in our homeland.  So, they came and I accompanied them to the site of the future container seaport and the future international airport in the island of Jolo.  That container seaport, Insha-Allah, will probably become one of the biggest container seaports in Southeast Asia.  But definitely, it will be much bigger than the existing port in Manila.  Because, as part of our vision, we are trying to convert Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to a cluster of Free Trade Zone Areas.  And the idea behind this is: why at present, we have to procure commodities from as far as Singapore, Thailand, Menado and other part of Indonesia as well as, of course, our neighboring Malaysia and Sabah.

            In the future, once the container seaport is in place, and once the Free Trade Zone would be made alive by us, businesses will start to pour in directly.  Goods coming from as far as Shanghai, Osaka, Tokyo, Thailand, from all places in the world will come directly to our port in exchange of what Mindanao and its people can offer the world.  It will be initially in the form of a counter-trade.  Counter-Trade is another term for barter trade. Remember, it was our people who taught the world about the importance of barter trade or counter trade.

            For instance, in the Middle East, if a certain oil- rich country would want to buy a missile, or would want to buy tanks, cannon from an industrialized country like Russia, like Britain and so on and so forth, they would say, “ We want this much number of missiles or tanks,” and the other country would say,” How do you intend to pay this equipment?”.  They’ll say, “Okey, deliver to us within a period of time, and we will deliver also to you this much quantity of petroleum.”  So, no money is involved.  The mighty dollar is not involved at all, nor is the yen, nor is the pound, nor is the dinar, nor is the peso.  No money is involved.  It involves only the exchange of goods and commodities.

            We, in Mindanao don’t have liquidity.  We don’t have money.  But we will have all the resources  that the world would want to have from us.  On the 27th of this month (November) , a big number of Japanese delegation is coming.  They want to visit different places in Mindanao to see for themselves what kind of mines and minerals Mindanao can offer to them because they told me that they want to transfer their business from Brazil to Mindanao.

            After this occasion I will be asking your apology to let me go.  I will have to proceed to Davao City because leaders of the indigenous communities are waiting,  from the five (5) regions.  And I have requested them to bring samples of mines or minerals they have underneath their houses or underneath their feet in the mountains.  Because once these delegations would arrive, then, I would ask them to accompany them to their areas so that these people can inspect for themselves and decide to invest in those areas.

            They want several kinds of mines and minerals in Mindanao. They want to establish ten (10) coal factory.  So, if we have this coal, natural charcoal, then, we have ten factories for that. And each factory will cost from 8 to 10 million dollars.  So, if it is 10, times ten million dollars, that’s a significant amount of investment and that’s a big employment opportunity for our people.

            I understand that the sugar central alone will start with about 3,500 workers.  So our idea of bringing in investment is in order for our people to have job opportunities so that they can feed their children and send their children to school.

            Apart also from this, dear brothers and sisters, the President has given me the permission or the permit to develop Agus III.  Agus III is in the Northern part of Lanao, part of the SPCPD. And the gaskets come from  Lake Lanao  which is under the ARMM. President Estrada has given me the imprimatur to invite investor to develop this.  We are going to produce additional 224 megawatts to be added to the existing one—724 megawatts produced by the six Agus.

            And there is already the proposal to upgrade the six (6) Aguses, Agus 1,2, 4,5,6, and 7 so that we can augment our capacity and produce additional 100 megawatts out of the existing facilities.  With these, we should be able to put up lights in our barangays not only in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte but also in other parts of Mindanao.  And in addition , we should also be able to attract more investors because with sufficient or adequate energy in our possession, I’m sure, investors will have every reason to come and invest in our homeland especially so if the peace and order situation in Mindanao can finally be restored.

            My brothers and sisters, although I’ve already taken much of your time, but let me add  few words and I wish for your indulgence.  People have been saying that MNLF and MILF are two different teams. I told them that this is a lie. MILF and MNLF are two but only one. No one can separate me from my brother Ustadz Salamat Hashim, no one can separate me from my brother Hadji Murad, no one can separate me from my brothers in the MILF. They are my brothers in Islam. That is final, dear brothers and sisters. Just as no one can separate the MNLF and the MILF when it comes to the ultimate objectives. Both of us are fighting for justice, both of us are fighting for freedom, both of us are fighting for our right to self-determination, both of us are fighting for peace. I challenge our detractors to tell me what are those that divide them from us and us from them. I don’t see anything there.  Perhaps, in terms of our approach which are not even very sure of. I negotiated for peace, for a peaceful restoration, for a peaceful ending of the war and peaceful restoration of peace. There is no more war between the Philippine government and the MNLF.  Is there any fighting between us? No more. And that was all that the peace agreement wanted to get from us.

            The peace agreement if you look at it does not oblige me to bring in money from heaven because I am not in control of the treasury of the Philippines.  I am not in control of the economy of the Philippines.  My only obligation, the only obligation of the MNLF is to restore peace in Mindanao by putting an end to the 30 year old war between the Philippine government and the MNLF. I think no one can assert the fact that, there is almost total and absolute peace between the MNLF and the Philippine government. And for this reason, even the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), even the Joint- Monitoring System headed by Indonesia, representing the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) or everyone, is saying that MNLF has fulfilled its obligation under the terms of the Peace Agreement of 2nd of September 1996 completely.  The government, yes, they have done their best but, somehow, we still have to wait for something beyond peace per say. In terms of the restoration of peace between us, yes, the government has done its share.  And this includes also the integration of 7,500 forces from the MNLF.  They have done that, I can testify to it.  The only thing that is lacking is the government has not complied as yet, I would say with its commitment to put-up that mini-marshal program of reconstruction and rehabilitation to be funded with tens of billion of pesos.  Not yet.  We are asking until now.  People are asking until now, when is the mini-marshal plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation going to be put up by the government?  The answer must be placed before the doorstep of the National Government.  But I’m very happy dear brothers and sisters that President Estrada has committed time and again to pursue the full and correct implementation of the peace agreement despite the fact that it was not his government that signed the September 2, 1996 Peace Agreement.  And also, I’m happy to note that President Estrada is now implementing his vision to turn Mindanao into a bread basket of the Philippines.  One day, Mindanao is going to assume that role of being the provider, the bread-winner for the whole Philippines.  And I’m sure Maguindanao Province, Kutawato Province, Sultan Kudarat Province, South Kutawato Province, former members of the empire system of Kutawato, are going to become the center, the main provider of food for the future Filipino nation.

I will not prolong my message but I would just like to ask you to convey my love and my respect to everyone when you return home and let them rest assured that we are going to continue with our vision for greater freedom, greater peace, greater self-determination for Mindanao and Insha-Allah, now that they are preparing to amend the Constitution, we will not stop until Mindanao and its people will be able to assume their rightful place under the heat of the sun,  Biznillah.

            Wassalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.    

 

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 National Congress O The 5th Bangsamoro National Congress
 The UN Initiative 
O The MNLF-MILF Merger O Speeches of Chairman Misuari O The August 14, 2001 ARMM Plebiscite
 The November 26, 2001 ARMM Election
O Featured Articles O MNLF Foreign Office O Contacts

Copyright 2001 b

Copyright 2001 by MNLF, Cotabato City