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SILANGKAN, JOLO, Nov. 3, 2001 – In the wake of the government’s failure to fully implement the September 2, 1996 Peace Agreement, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will hold starting today (Nov. 3) a two-day national people’s congress in Sulu to finally decide on the fate of the historic peace agreement.

       The 5th Bangsamoro People’s National Congress is crucial not only to the Bangsamoro nation but also to the entire Filipino people and the government because it will make or unmake the future of the peace process between the government and the MNLF, said Ustadz Habib Zain Jali, Chairman of the Congress.

       Invited to participate in the Congress are some two thousand leaders from various sectors, both Muslims, Christians and Tribal Communities, as well as MNLF leaders and officials from more than 30 MNLF state committees in Mindanao. Also to attend are some 50 thousand MNLF Bangsamoro Armed Forces from Sulu and the nearby island provinces and towns.

       MNLF Central Committee Chairman Nur Misuari earlier said the MNLF would submit to the people for their final judgment the fate of the peace agreement, which, the MNLF leadership said, has been unilaterally abrogated by the Philippine government following the conduct of the August 14 plebiscite and the scheduled regional elections in the ARMM on November 26.

       He said with the negative attitude of the government in dealing with the mainstream MNLF vis-à-vis the implementation of the MNLF-OIC-GRP accord, the Bangsamoro people are left with no other choice but to look for the best possible option to take in order to attain their long aspiration for genuine peace, development, justice and freedom in their traditional Homeland Mindanao and the Islands.

       The power 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, which brokered the peace agreement, in their series of Resolutions both in the level of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and the Summit of the Heads of Muslim states, has been calling the Philippine government not to unilaterally implement the peace agreement, particularly the conduct of the plebiscite.

       But the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo completely ignored the OIC Resolutions. Instead, it continuously deals with its own created group, the so-called Executive Council of 15, composed of very small number of former MNLF leaders.

       During the Congress, the MNLF will also officially submit to the people for their concurrence the unity agreement it signed last week with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under Sheikh Salamat Hashim.

       The unity agreement is a bold step taken by the leaders of the two Moro Fronts to strengthen their bonds together to hasten the resolution of the centuries-old Bangsamoro problem taking cognizance of their people’s right to self-determination as guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples.


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Copyright 2001 by MNLF, Cotabato City