MILF: We did not surrender
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Six Moro rebel camps in Mindanao will become peaceful and productive communities after decades of being military centers of the Bangsamoro struggle.
The M16-to-ploughshare switch spins off from the historic conclusion to the 16-year old peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a bid to find lasting peace in troubled Mindanao.
On January 25, 2013 in Malaysia, the negotiating panels agreed on the fourth and last annex—normalization that includes decommissioning of the MILF military arm Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) — to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that would establish a new Moro homeland to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Under the decommissioning annex, six MILF camps in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur would be transformed into peaceful and productive communities by a joint task force.
In report by davaotoday.com, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the MILF did not surrender to the government with the signing of the normalization annex.
We have to sacrifice to attain peace, davaotoday.com quoted Iqbal as saying at a peace summit in Davao City on January 13 organized by civil society groups.
Arms helped us in the war during Martial Law. But the frequent use of arms will be destructive as well. I’ve been fighting for forty years; I see more destruction in arms, said Iqbal.
Estimates placed at 150,000 people killed in the conflict.
“It’s an ultimate sacrifice, but if we want to have peace, we have to bind to it,” said Iqbal.