Negotiator shrugs off Misuari threat
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite negative feedback from other Moro groups on the government's Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a government peace negotiator has shrugged off threats to the peace deal.
Government peace panel member Senen Bacani downplayed the possibility that negative reactions, particularly from Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari, would derail the peace agreement.
Misuari has threatened to sue the government for crafting an agreement with the MILF that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which he once led as governor. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Misuari said he can file a case against President Benigno Aquino III before the International Court of Justice.
“Instead of solving, this will plunge Mindanao to another war that the Philippine government cannot afford to have at this time,” Misuari explained.
But in a consultation with civil society organizations, Bacani said the government is "respecting Misuari’s opinion," adding it doesn't see this as a stumbling block amid peace efforts. He also said the MNLF would always be part of forming the Bangsamoro region.
“The government has been involving the MNLF in the process. We have conducted workshops with them including their junior cadres and the women sector,” Bacani said.
Splinter group excluded
The senior government peace negotiator said it would benefit the country and the people of Mindanao if all regional groups and sectors would unite.
“I am urging the Bangsamoro people to converge in this agreement,” Bacani said.
Bacani, however, said the MILF-breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) would be excluded from the agreement.
“The BIFM is outside the MILF and would not be included in our agreement,” said Bacani, noting that the government will deal with the BIFM through law enforcement instead.
Formerly known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the BIFM led by Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, who was the commander of the 105th Base Command, splintered from the MILF after serious disagreements with the group’s peace negotiation with the government.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesman of the BIFM, said they would continue their jihad for a separate state even if the MILF and the government would ink the final peace agreement. "The government is right when they said that we are outlaws under the Constitution of the Philippines, which we do not honor. Our Constitution is the Quran and Hadith which were created by Allah and not by humans," Mama said.
The peace panels of the government and the MILF will be signing the peace accord on Monday, October 15. It will be MILF chair Al Har Murad Ebrahim's first time to set foot in Malacañang. – Rappler.com
For related stories, read:
- Govt, MILF reach deal
- 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro political region
- FAQs: Bangsamoro peace deal
- Understanding the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement
- #TalkThursday with Marvic Leonen: Give peace a chance