MNLF faction reiterates support for Bangsamoro Organic Law
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by fomer Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri renewed its support for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) amid moves to question the legality of the measure.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said in a press statement on Saturday, November 3, that Jikiri relayed his group's support for the BOL in a meeting with Chief Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza earlier this week on Monday, October 29.
The meeting was held a day before it was reported that incumbent Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II filed a petition before the Supreme Court to block the landmark BOL.
During the meeting, Jikiri agreed with Dureza to implement a massive information, education, and communication campaign to push forward with the BOL's ratification in January.
Jikiri's group, also known as the Council of 15, was formed in late 2001 by the MNLF's most senior leader amid claims that MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari had lost the support of the Moro people. It was previously chaired by Muslimen Sema, Misuari's vice chair for political affairs, and was recognized by then president Gloria Arroyo as the real MNLF.
In the meeting with Dureza, Jikiri and his group was “committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning in the plebiscite.”
The campaign, he said, would cover “all areas” that were proposed for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro entity.
Their group will partner with the OPAPP to develop and implement a multi-stakeholder campaign on the issue.
Dureza acknowledged the “strong commitment” of Jikiri's group to help the national government push for a “greater level of public awareness” on the BOL.
He also noted that the meeting was an affirmation of the October 7 meeting of the Jikiri-led MNLF in Sulu, when a resolution was passed declaring the organization’s “unequivocal support” for the BOL.
Misuari's faction has been unclear on its position on the BOL. Duterte had said on several occasions that Misuari had voiced several concerns about the law, including the perception on diminished autonomy and powers. Misuari also insisted on the 1996 peace agreement the MNLF signed with the government.
Duterte had repeatedly said he was talking to Misuari to convince him to support the BOL, which he described as a last shot to forging peace in Mindanao. In July, the President even floated the idea of creating a separate autonomous region for Misuari's group. – Rappler.com