MILF breakaway may sow violence; Misuari, MNLF urged to join peace accord

 

AMERIL OMRA KATO with BIFF fighter
AMERIL OMRA KATO with BIFF fighters

The military celebrated the government’s signing of the final hurdle in the peace pact, saying this will contribute to the reduction of violence in Mindanao.

But Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which operates in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) bailiwick of Central Mindanao, warned that the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) might retaliate. BIFF is led by Ameril Omra Kato.

“Most likely they will sow violence — though they are contained — because they are opposed to a peaceful settlement. If they will sow violence, our soldiers and policemen are very ready,” Hermoso said.

NUR MISUARI, MNLF chairman
NUR MISUARI, MNLF chairman

Misuari, MNLF urged to join peace accord

 Malacanang urged all stakeholders, including Nur Misuari and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), to give the final peace settlement a chance.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said peace is “inclusive” and should thus embrace all stakeholders, most especially the MNLF.

“Ang nais po ng ating pamahalaan ay maging kalahok ang pinakamaraming stakeholders, ‘yun pong may mga taya sa katahimikan sa Mindanao, kasama pa rin naman diyan ‘yung ating mga kababayan na kasapi ng MNLF dahil doon sa mga naunang panahon sila ay nagsikap din na maitatag ang kapayapaan,” he said.

President Benigno Aquino III hopes to secure a final peace settlement before leaving office in mid-2016 to end the rebellion by Muslim groups, which has left around 150,000 people dead.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza was quoted as saying that the accord would result in the realignment of forces in Mindanao.

Cerveza said he doubts the MILF fighters would just easily surrender their arms.

MNLF fighters
MNLF fighters

 MNLF won’t join in crafting peace deal

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has rejected proposals to unite with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in crafting a peace deal with the government.

The MNLF, which signed a peace accord with the government on Sept. 2, 1996, said it is merely adhering to resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), adding that any of its dealings with Malacañang must be within the ambit of the existing tripartite body.

The MNLF faction chaired by former Cotabato City vice mayor Muslimin Sema had said in an emailed statement that accepting the proposal of the government and MILF could be construed as an insult to the OIC.

The OIC, a bloc of more than 50 Islamic states, including wealthy petroleum-exporting nations in the Middle East and North Africa, helped broker the government-MNLF peace agreement.

The peace accord is now subject of a tripartite review involving the OIC, MNLF and representatives from the national government and ARMM in the effort to resolve misunderstandings on the implementation of some sensitive provisions.

The tripartite review has already reached 42 consensus points on education, Moro political representation, natural resources, Sharia and regional security, which are almost identical with what had been stated in all of the three annexes the government and MILF panels had added to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The MNLF faction led by Nur Misuari is just as reluctant to converge with the MILF and join in its forging of a final peace agreement with the government.

Misuari has, in fact, been very critical of the ongoing peace negotiations.

The group of Sema said the issue of MILF-MNLF convergence is best left to the OIC.

“The MNLF has yet to wait for the manifestation of the OIC as regards to the modalities on how that linkage can be worked out,” the group said.

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