MNLF: Pass the proposed Bangsamoro law
LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – The leadership of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) – its chairman Ambassador Datu Abul Khayr Alonto and its cental committee – declared their support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), in assembly of thousands on Monday, April 27, in Marawi City here.
Some groups within the MNLF had been reportedly against the BBL, which would create a Muslim region that is more powerful than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was the product of an earlier government peace agreement with the MNLF.
The transition from the MNLF to the Bangsamoro will be presided by another group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
On Monday, thousands of Bangsamoro people held a peace walk and rally at the Banggolo Plaza in Marawi to acknowledge the peace efforts of the government and the MILF.
Joining the rally were surviving original MNLF fighters, known in the late 1960s and the 1970s as the black shirts; emissaries and representatives of the MILF; the government peace panel; and the International Monitoring Team, headed by its current head of mission Major General Dato’ Sheikh Mokhsin bin Sheikh Hassan of Malaysia.
Alonto said the peace talks between the MILF and the government is the best so far and should be supported as the people of Mindanao wanted peace.
Alonto said the Muslim people's search for the right to self determination in the last 42 years had resulted to at least 200,000 deaths, rendered at least two million people homeless and destitute, and 3 million scattered as refugees across the country, in Malaysia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
He called on the Muslim people to exercise utmost patience as the BBL is now on its final phase. “The signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) has declared that we, the Bangsamoro, are finally home and dawn is about to come,” he told those who joined the rally.
Alonto said the MNLF and the MILF have set aside their differences and agreed to work together after he and MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim signed a communiqué for cooperation at Camp Darapanan on January 5, 2015. Both camps pledged to work hard for the immediate passage of the BBL and to continually defend the Bangsamoro rights.
The MILF broke away from the MNLF after the MNLF signed a peace agreement with the Philippine Government in 1996 under President Fidel Ramos. In 2013, an MNLF faction led by former chairman Nur Misuari, whom Alonto recruited in the early years of the organization, attacked Zamboanga City in protest against the peace talks between the government and the MNLF.
“The BBL is in consonance with our (MNLF) goals, and the MNLF and MILF only has one purpose – the rights of the Bangsamoro,” Alonto said.
“The GPH and the MILF CAB is a continuum of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Accord and the 1976 RP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement anchored on Resolution Number 18 of the 1974 Kuala Lumpur Summit of the Head of States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” Alonto added.
Alonto added that all these agreements possess the character of an international treaty.
Alonto also praised the present ceasefire agreement between the government and MILF as the most effective ceasefire mechanism in the last 43 years.
Alonto called on President Benigno Aquino to flex his political muscle to ensure the passage of the BBL. If he wanted to, Aquino can muster the numbers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Alonto said.
Alonto said that if the BBL failed, the MNLF will seek shelter in international laws and treaty and will prod the government to amend the Constitution to perfect the BBL. “We won’t go back to another 17 years [of war], which is a price too great to pay.”
He said he trusts that Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the Senate committee on local governments, will properly handle the deliberations on the BBL.
Meanwhile, the International Monitoring Team Head of Mission Major General Dato Sheikh Mokhsin Bin Sheikh Hassan said that he is happy with the progress in the peace process, despite the setbacks caused by the Mamasapano incident.
“Overall, with the ceasefire mechanisms in place, proper coordination between the Armed Forces of Philippines, the National Police, and the MILF have prevented violent confrontations,” Dato said. “Peace should be cherished by the Filipino people.” – Rappler.com