MILF's peace deal with PH gov't different from NDF's, says Iqbal

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is confident that the administration will treat differently its clamor to reach the culmination of their peace deal, even as President Rodrigo Duterte formally terminated its peace talks with another party, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace implementing panel chairman, said the government’s peace dealings with the MILF comes from another point in ideological terms.

“For us, what we’re asking is political settlement. We don’t care about the system of government. We don’t care who is running the government,” Iqbal told reporters at the EM Manor here Sunday night, November 26.

The MILF looks forward to the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a law which would pave way to mount the Bangsamoro entity, a culmination of a peace deal between the two parties.

And for Iqbal, what the NDF is asking for is not the same as the MILF’s demands.

“Because for them, ideologically, what they’re asking for is communism. There is no meeting point [with capitalism]. And the traditional way to change the system is to replace the government. So that cannot be possible. There can be no possible compromise,” he said.

Duterte on Thursday, November 23, formally terminated its peace negotiations with communists, citing the death of a 4-month-old baby in an ambush by the New People’s Army in Bukidnon as one of the major reasons that pushed him to do so.

Following that, he called on NDF consultants who were granted temporary liberty to surrender “or face again punitive actions.”

Asked whether the MILF is monitoring the progress of the government’s negotiation of peace with the communists, Iqbal said: “It’s very simple to worry about.”

The leaders of the MILF are expected to meet the President in the Bangsamoro Assembly on Monday, November 27 at the Old Provincial Capitol in Barangay Simuay, in the Maguindanao town of Sultan Kudarat. Some 500,000 people are expected to attend the said assembly, which was previously set November 3 and 4.

Duterte, according to the Bangsamoro Transition Commision, will be the guest of honor and speaker in the event which was organized as one of the mandates of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a body tasked to draft the BBL.

“We have nothing to ask for as statements of authority are concerned,” Iqbal said of the BBL. – Rappler.com