GENERAL SANTOS CITY – A business group in Mindanao urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to jointly address the threat posed by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a group formed by erstwhile MILF commander Ustadz Amiril Umra Kato.
Ricardo Juliano Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president for Mindanao, stressed the need to employ the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) mechanism against Kato and his followers.
AHJAG is a joint government and MILF mechanism in the peace process that seeks to interdict and isolate lawless elements that take refuge in or near MILF communities.
“The military and the MILF should act together in addressing this problem and it has to be done in a way that should enhance the peace process,” Juliano said.
But Von Al Haq, MILF spokesman, brushed aside the suggestion of Juliano, saying the AHJAG mechanism “can only be used against criminal elements.”
Al Haq said the BIFF claims to be a political group and the government did not also consider it as a terrorist organization.
“The central committee of the MILF is very cautious in this aspect in order not to complicate the peace process,” he said.