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Transcript of the Statement of H.E. Prof. Nur Misuari,
Chairman of the MNLF Central Committee,
at the Plenary Session of the OIC Ministerial Committee of the Six,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
28 June 2000

 

          Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.

          Your Excellency Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, members of the Ministerial Committee of the Six, the distinguished members of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) delegation, my brothers in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) delegation, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters: Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Taala Wabarakatuhu.

          Itís quite fascinating to hear those statistics and those cosmeticized reportage about the implementation of the Peace Agreement. I had been saying that when they make these preposterous claims, they are lying. Right in front of this honorable body, Excellencies, I would like to inform you that contrary to their allegation that we have received P38 billion for our development programs in the wake of the signing of the Peace Agreement on the 2nd of September 1996, this is a blatant lie.

Since I took over as governor of the ARMM some four years ago, this is all what I received for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the ravages of nearly 30 years of catastrophic war that caused the death of at least 200 thousands of our peoples lives. Not to say of the close to million of our citizens who have been driven to the neighboring State of Sabah. They have always been saying this figure time and again.

In the beginning when I was in San Francisco with former President Ramos, I was taken aback by the report, they said, that P42 billion had been alloted for as a peace budget. I was supposed to see Mr. Bill Gates because he had a plan to come and see us in Mindanao. He wanted to put up some kind of a Microsoft Office there. But the Consul General of the Philippines, a lady, came to see me, telling me that Pres. Ramos wanted me to leave the following morning because there was going to be a cabinet meeting in Iligan City.

So I complied with that order so I missed the  meeting with Mr. Gates. And I attended the cabinet meeting in Iligan City. There, I confronted the former Secretary of Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Hon. Sec. Enriquez. I told him point blank in the presence of the whole membership of the cabinet and President Ramos, because every time Mindanao problem was in the agenda of the cabinet, Pres. Ramos was very, very meticulous in inviting me, so I could make representation in behalf of the SPCPD and the ARMM. I told him to tell us exactly what they mean by 42 billion. Because in the Philippine media, they said that they have turned over this 42 billion. So I said you are telling lies. You are destroying us before the eyes of the people. Tell us, I said, with all honesty, have you transferred one peso to us, one cent to us? He could not say anything.

          Then after the transition of the government from Pres. Ramos to Pres. Estrada, there was a seminar conducted in Zamboanga City sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the OIC Monitoring System, the Hon. Alexander Aguirre was present. He was a keynote speaker there. I asked him this question: Mr. secretary, what happened to the P42 billion? After that Cabinet Meeting, he was kind enough to tell the media the following day that indeed no single cent had been transferred to the ARMM.

He was honest enough to tell me this, he said, when I was still the Executive Secretary before the end of the term of Pres. Ramos, what I knew of was, there was only P2.9 billion out of P42 billion that was released and spent. Not spent by us but spent by the national line agencies. We have nothing to do with that. Then I asked him, what happened to the P39 billion? He said, I donít know, maybe it is still in the treasury of the government.

Now lately, they started coming out with the accusation that ARMM and SPCPD have received P22 billion. I kept my silence. I wanted them to crystallize and clarify the whole thing. Then they continued the assault over the media, over the TV, at the podium of the Senate and the Congress. And later on I came out, telling them, I said, produce statistics and the records.

 In a media encounter with the Honorable Senator Rodolfo Biazon organized by Bro. Eddie Villanueva, a well known Protestant leader, there was a TV program where I was present and former Speaker Jose De Venecia and Gen. Batenga. I told him, you are exaggerating, you are trying to destroy my image, you are trying to destroy all of us. Because I said your figure is wrong, it is inaccurate. Why donít you go over the budgetary appropriations, it was you and your colleagues in the Congress that prepared all of this, why donít you refer to that? I said I have here with me, year by year to the last cent, how much money you have appropriated for us and how much money have been released to us. Itís one thing for them to appropriate and another thing for them to release. These are two different things.

So later on, he was a little bit panicking because he could not make a rejoinder to that challenge. I said if you are honest enough why donít you just call the Secretary of the DBM, ask them exactly what happened. We can not deny, they have all the records.

Later on he came out with a statement that it was not P22 billion, instead it was P18 billion. But again, I was not happy with that because it is fallacious. It is a deliberate lie. So I told them, this is not correct.  Please go back to your records. They said itís P19 billion instead. I said, go back to your records.

When I was in Dubai before I came here via Islamabad, I saw him over the TV, (TFC) thatís a TV program from Manila but it is being broadcast there in the Middle East. This time, he said itís P16 billion. We will ask governor Misuari to account for the P16 billion. My friend, Mr. Aguirre is saying itís P38 billion. He is lying, Iím sorry, in the face of truth.

Now I tell you what happened. Since I took over, remember,  day 1 in October 1996, there was no money alloted for us anymore. The year before,  maybe in anticipation of the day when Misuari and the MNLF would take over, they stopped what they called the seed money to the tune of P615 million annually. So we were deprived of that. Until now, no more seed money.

So by October 1996, I started my journey into this, my administration. 1997 was a peak year for reconstruction and rehabilitation, we thought that Congress was going to give money for reconstruction and rehabilitation. You know what happened, they gave only P40 million for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

 You cannot dwell on the salaries. Nobody can tinker with the salaries. And let us not dwell with this MOOE, that has nothing to do. We are talking about reconstruction and rehabilitation of the ravages of the  war  imposed by the Philippine government for nearly 30 years. We are talking about that. And according to the Philippine law, for every 1 kilometer of two-lane road, you need P10 million. That means, to rehabilitate 14 provinces and 10 cities, you have only this.

And later I was told by the Department of Public Works people that this was not even intended for road projects. So 1997 was wasted. Then came 1998, that was still the time of Pres. Ramos. The Ramos government appropriated P1 billion. One Sunday morning I went to see him in Malacanang, he was doing his work. I said, Mr. President we wasted one year not to say the last months of 1996, canít you increase this? He called up his secretary of DBM and asked him to increase. And he advised me to go to some people in Congress and to Senate and like that. I was like a beggar. They added half billion.

 So I thought there was going to be a P1.5 billion for rehabilitation. Before I knew it the half billion was  taken away. Until now we donít know what happened. Out of the 1 billion left, they took away 25% (mandatory reserve fund of the government), so 750 million left behind. And this they appropriated, they were the ones, Iíve nothing to do with this.

We asked for 14 billion budget, they gave us only a little more than 4 billion. So they alloted for this road and for this and for that. Then they were trying to justify the delay, 1998 is all gone, thatís a 1998 budget. At one time after the release of funds for mobilization from the month of October 1998 until July 1999, a space of nine months, there was no release at all for nine months.

It took a long distance communication between me and Pres. Estrada, who was kind enough to call me in Ouagadougou, saying that he was going to sign the appointment of one of our brothers, (perhaps he is around) Mr. Adiong, as director of one office. So I thanked him profusely for that  but I reminded him, Mr. President, since October we have not received money for our road (the circumferential road in Jolo), thatís nine months already.

And I reminded him that when were, I said, together in Zamboanga City, you promised in the presence of your secretary of DBM and also DPWH Sec. Virgilio Vigilar to ask them to release the funds.  He said, okey, I will look into that. When I arrived in Manila two days earlier they released P32 million.

It was good enough for us because weíre able to pay our debts but nothing for construction for the continuation of projects. Alhamdulillah, after so much pressure, Pres. Estrada released another funds to allow us to continue with our works. We are thankful despite all these delays, of these difficulties, to Pres. Estrada for this. But you see the problem does not pertain to one province only, because that money is concentrated in Jolo.

We have small money for roads in Tawi-Tawi, small money for roads in Lanao del Sur and small money in Maguindanao province. We have constructed these roads, if we have not yet completed, we are in the process of completing.

The OIC can come and visit these roads. And I am in fact extending my invitation to Your Excellency to send your people to join us to investigate what have we done to our people, so that you can see who is telling the truth and who is telling the lies.

Now I have been saying that the Philippine government is committed to put up this mini-marshall plan of reconstruction and rehabilitation. They promised us many times, there will be 25 billion and so on and so forth but no money came. We were counting on that, because we thought if we could have reconstruction and rehabilitation of the ravages of war then we can push through with whatever is in the agenda of the MNLF-OIC-GRP particularly with respect to elections, with  respect to referendum.  Because we can not agree to any election or referendum that will lead to our destruction.

Even H.E. Abu Hartono, the former ambassador of Indonesia to Philippines, was advocating in our Tripartite Meeting in the presence of His Excellency Sec. Aguirre here. He said no referendum, no election  unless and until the socio-economic component is already in place. Because you have to go to the people, ask for their votes, would you or would you not like to join in the autonomy. Who will vote for us? Even my children will not vote for us if we can not show that we have done something to rehabilitate our homeland and to enhance the quality of life of our people there.

It is, I call it, suicidal. I would rather go to war than to face the people. Because I know the people will reject me with cold hands and that will destroy all what we have built in these past so many years.

Now Excellencies, I have been saying and even in the last presentation that I made in Jeddah during the meeting of the OIC Senior Officials, I was telling them, you see that our people are now impatient. After the passage of the resolution in this historic City of Kuala Lumpur way back in July 1974 on the occasion of the 5th ICFM, we have been in this illusory and fruitless pursuit of that autonomy.

In the process, already I have signed 3 peace agreements which is quite abnormal. I signed the peace agreement in December 1976 in Tripoli, Libya. It was not implemented because according Imelda Marcos in an interview with the Womanís magazine in Manila, ďWhy should we implement the peace agreement when we have already achieved everything that we wanted from it.Ē

As a matter of fact the Manila government wrote the OIC, telling them they could not implement the Tripoli Agreement. And because of that, the OIC accepted us as an Observer. Because there was no more hope for that. I can not disclose the details of this since it is a delicate matter. But suffice it to say  there is that communication that led to the acceptance of the MNLF as Observer.

Now since the signing of the peace agreement, itís already 24 years long. Thatís quite long almost quarter of a century. And we are still in this game, seek and evasion. We donít know the direction. Everything is dark. All what they do is to make pledges, empty and useless.

I wonder if His Excellency, when he came here, if he can show to us that he can commit his government. Can you, Excellency, show to us that you are authorized by your government to make pledges here, to make commitment here that is binding on the Office of the President and binding on both Houses of Congress?

According to one article recently, Congress refuses to bind itself to the  commitment of the Office of the President. And in an interview conducted by the son of President Estrada, the Hon. Mayor Jinggoy Estrada along with Congresswoman Antonino in Manila. He told me this pointblank, governor donít misunderstand us but donít forget, he said, that we have a democratic system in the country. And in accordance with this democratic system the Office of the President can not bind us.

When I negotiated with them across the table either in Libya or in Jeddah - - that led to the signing of the long forgotten Jeddah Accord of 1987 - - in Jakarta, in Mindanao, everywhere, they always displayed their nameplate in front of us ďGRP Peace Panel.Ē Now here comes very influential and  powerful people from the Congress saying that the Office of the President can not bind us. And she happens to be the president of the 49 congressmen and congresswomen of Mindanao.

Before I went to Ouagadougou, you verify from Sec. Zamora, the Exec. Secretary, he said, governor, last night the president called his leaders to a meeting and he advised me to convey to you, before you leave for Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso, he wants to give you the assurance that he will seek a three-year extension.

Itís not Misuari who is asking, itís not the MNLF who is asking for this extension of one year or three year extension or what. I am asking for the implementation of the fundamental provision of the Peace Agreement in Tripoli Agreement in Tripoli, Libya, the establishment before anything else of the provisional government. Before the provisional government you can not hold any referendum at all. That is our agreement.

But they have been trying to tinker  this peace agreement to the extent of smuggling of items which were not discussed by us. Mr. Secretary, you were always in front of me when we discussed in Jakarta, tell me honestly, have we discussed this Totality Clause? Have we? Even H.E. Ali Alatas (former Foreign Minister of Indonesia) told us in Burkina-Faso in the presence of many of our leaders, Brother Nur, we have not discussed this, how come it is already inside this agreement?

Your GRP peace panel cheated us in Tripoli in 1976 by including this Constitutional Process. That constitutional process was not agreed upon by us. They proposed referendum in the peace talks in Tripoli in 1976, I boycotted. H.E. Ali Triki, who was the Foreign Minister of Libya then, requested me, Brother Nur, please sit down. So I sat down. He said I want to ask one question to Mr. Barbero  (my counterpart), okey we will agree to this referendum and we will ask Brother Nur to help this referendum. But the question should be like this, we will raise the question to the people of Mindanao: Do you want or do you not want independence? Mr. Barbero said no. That was the end of the discussion about this referendum.

How can you have a referendum over territory, Excellencies. Look at the situation of the revolutionary movement in Africa, in Asia, where in the world could you  find a territory being a subject of referendum? Nowhere. In Eritrea, was there any referendum about the territorial delineation? East Timor, was there any referendum?

Why do you insist on referendum when you annexed our homeland? When you robbed us of our sovereignty and independence in 1946, did you ask our people to have referendum at all? Nothing, you just imposed your will. You colluded with the United States of America. We fought America for more than 40 years of war. Among the biggest massacres in our homeland occurred during the time when we fought against America. Bud Daho is a monument to this. Poet Rudyard Kipling even wrote a parody of  Charge  of  the  Light  Brigade.  But  instead  of  400,  it  was   600   families destroyed completely by the American forces in Bud Daho in Jolo. And that is the hide out of the Abu Sayyaf now.

And these massacres have been repeated and repeated, again and again. I have not yet shown to the world what your armed forces have done in the course of our war. In one of these days, I will bring the media to certain places where you find thousands of skulls in one single graveyard. You massacred the people and even those who were alive were just thrown into the pit. You have been trying to destroy us and now you are trying to say as if we are guilty here.

Please rectify yourself, we have here the figure. In this three years of my administration in the ARMM and the SPCPD, we have only received a little more than P11 billion. And your government has released only P10.91 billion. Out of this money, so much percent, how many percent were for salaries. You donít talk about the salaries. These people more than 15,000 teachers were paid by your government. Just to show that you are giving us big money, you placed this in our hands. To give the appearance as if your government is giving us that much money which is not true. This is the salaries of school teachers who have been working in the government since 1946 and so on so forth.

And then you add also the salaries of these people who are working in the ARMM in the four provinces. Donít talk about this. Donít include this there  because you are going to deceive the people. What we are talking about is how much money have you extended to us for development and we have here, accumulation of funding you have sent is only, please correct me, 1.1 billion 367million 734 thousand equivalent in dollars 31million 956,401  to reconstruct only four provinces. What about the other provinces. And this is only for road. What about the stomach, what about the housing?

In the beginning, Pres. Ramos gave me instruction to construct 4,000 low-cost houses in Jolo. Because they have destroyed hundreds of thousands of our houses. They have burned with incendiary bombs. He said, Governor, Brother Nur, build in Jolo 4,000 housing projects over the 101 hectares of land which is owned by the grandmother of one of our brothers but confiscated by the Supreme Court. This is what they call the Bo Tan estate, every body knows. We prepared everything on computer and everything. Before I knew it was given to the military.

Then when Ramos visited the island, he invited us to visit the housing project. You know how many houses were constructed, only seven. Then later on the  OIC  sent an investigating team through Malaysia, I understand, they completed only 14. Now it is only 11 or 12 because the other 3 have already been destroyed. They used bad materials. Only 13 out of 4,000 were erected.

So the hunky-punky theyíre doing to us. And now they have the merit to claim that they are doing everything for us to make our people happy. If we are happy because of this, there would have been no Abu Sayyaf group. Raddulan is one of my most distinguished commanders. Mujib is the son of my most respectable commander. You ask your brother there, he knows. Susukan, the late commander, the father of Mujib was one of the bravest commanders of the MNLF. They know this man, the son, was desperate. He said, uncle, I can not accept in conscience, you know Iím very young but I lost my father, I lost scores of my relatives.

As to Raddulan, one time, I visited his camp, they put me in between him and his father, he was to my left because he lost his right arm, the father to my right because he lost his left arm. And at that time it was already six of his uncles and nearly hundred members of the clan had died.

Now recently, he told me, Brother Nur donít begrudge me I cannot follow this because we have been cheated so many times. We know that they are going to cheat you again. They are not going to give you the autonomy. So let me continue with this, he said.

 Now Excellencies, since we donít have time, I still have many thing to do here.  We have the legal expert to tell you about the legal implications of all this. And we have distinguished congressmen who are with us here to tell you the truth. I hope you will give them a few minutes.

          But let me sum up our request here: A quarter of a century, Excellencies, is too long already. It is of a highest kind of absurdity. Until now we do not know what direction we are taking. Canít you put an end to that? Isnít it possible to establish or put up some kind of Technical Commission as happened in 1975. His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal (Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), with the approval and support of other members, decided to put up a group in collaboration with the Office of the OIC Secretary General to prepare a master plan to become the basis of our talks in Libya and quickly we were able to solve, to arrive at  Ė just after a few days.

Now I believe that the time has come for the OIC, the Ministerial Committee of the Six and the Office of the Secretary General to put up that Technical Commission, to prepare a master plan which will contain, among many other things, a time table when Philippine government should oblige itself to deliver to us that genuine autonomy. 

In the definition of the Resolution of the OIC, both in the level of the Foreign Ministers and the Summit of the Muslim Heads of State and Government, they always describe this autonomy as genuine, meaningful, just, comprehensive and permanent. Less than that, will not be acceptable to us. And we must go through this Tripoli Agreement first.

We have proven 4 years of  transitional mechanism has been useless. Even H.E. Secretary General Dr. Azzedine Laraki in his speech at the plenary in Ouagadougou was qouted as saying, addressing the Philippine government, ďPlease donít dilly-dally, Please donít prevaricate, please donít procrastinate.Ē If you donít understand what is dilly-dally, perhaps you can understand procrastinating and so on and so forth.

Now we should have the time table. And the time table should not exceed November. We have here nearly hundreds of the  key leaders of our people and the MNLF. They advised me to urge the Ministerial Committee of the Six to consider this, that there must be a time table. Before the Summit in Doha, Qatar, we must have that. The Philippine government should agree to a time table when to deliver genuine autonomy in accordance to the letter and spirit of the Tripoli Agreement.

Since the Sept. 2, 1996 agreement has been destroyed by them, by all these impurities that they have  smuggled into it. And since the law which is now in the agenda of the Congress contains impurities including confiscatory provision to confiscate the property of the ARMM and so on and so forth. Therefore, we must go back to the Tripoli Agreement. The Tripoli Agreement is the mother of all our agreements. The Manila agreement is just an implementing agreement. So this is the most important thing for us.

          And secondly, we would like to ask Your Excellency to listen to our legal expert here just a few minutes and the other member of the Congress here to give a few words. And apart from this, I would like to request after  this a special meeting with you just a few minutes, maybe 5 minutes after this plenary meeting with this group.

          I would now like to conclude by thanking you for your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the Ministerial Committee of the Six. I hope you will give us a chance to convey one very important information to you after this recess.

         Thank you.  

 

 

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