MILF seeks more foreign help for Bangsamoro institute

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/11 June) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has appealed for more foreign aid to help fully operationalize its newly inaugurated leadership institute, one of the fruits of the peace negotiations with the Philippine government.

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chief, lauded the Japanese government for funding the construction of the building for the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI).

Other foreign and local agencies that helped in the realization of the BLMI are the Asia Foundation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung through the Institute for Autonomy and Governance, the United States Agency for International Development, Development Academy of the Philippines, Asian Institute of Management and the Non-Violent Peace Force.

“We hope that with their examples, other well-meaning donor countries or aid agencies will also help fully operationalize the BLMI. As anyone can see, it is still lacking in many things. We lack equipment, we lack reference books, we need a fence for the compound, and we lack road and water facilities. Moreover, all our workers are volunteers,” Iqbal said in his speech during the inauguration of the BLMI building last June 7.

“Be this as it may, let me assure everyone here that while we hope for outside help for the BLMI to stand on its feet, but at the same time we pledge unto ourselves that our success in this endeavor starts on our own resolve,” he added.

The BLMI, which was inaugurated late last week, stands on a half-hectare lot in Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao.

The establishment of the BLMI was discussed during the 10th Formal Exploratory Talks between the two parties in February 2006. It was finalized and formally agreed upon during the 14th Formal Exploratory Talks held on November 14-15, 2007, with funding commitment from the Philippine Government to jumpstart the institute’s operations.

Mario Victor F. Leonen, chief government negotiator in the peace talks with the MILF, lauded the launching of the BLMI, a training center for Bangsamoro leaders who will be serving their communities in the future.

“If I have to underscore the many gains that the negotiating process between the government and the MILF achieved, I would count the establishment of the BLMI to be close to the top of the list,” Leonen said in a separate statement.

Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ AB Ghafar Tengku Mohamed and members of the International Contact Group were likewise in attendance.

Leonen said that the BLMI is a clear landmark to the transformative power of ideas “that germinate in discussions among colleagues who may not have the same standpoints but are motivated by the same thing: the hunger to be able to make a difference and the openness to accept that others may have seen something better.”

He also lauded the MILF “for giving birth to an institution that will serve as the environment that will host and definitely shape many future leaders not only of the autonomous region of the Bangsamoro but also of the entire Philippine republic.” (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2012/06/12/milf-seeks-more-foreign-help-for-bangsamoro-institute/

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