DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 March) — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari wants to relinquish his post to the second generation in order to finally take some rest after leading the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for 50 years.
This, if they can already visualize what awaits the Moro homeland under the leadership of Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s 16th President and first Mindanawon to become President, the 79-year old Misuari told the crowd that gathered at the Crocodile Park here to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre.
The massacre sparked outrage among the Moro people, eventually triggering the establishment of the MNLF which reckons its founding date to the day of that massacre on Corregidor Island on March 18, 1968.
“I called our President, brother Rody, I said, in my last meeting with him, I do hope that on March 18, today, we can already visualize what exactly is going to happen because after 50 years, maybe it’s about time I take some rest and let the second liners among our leadership take over,” he said
Misuari vowed to continue working for the “freedom of his people to the end of time.”
He said they have to “prepare our children, prepare our women, prepare everybody, old and young” to continue their march to freedom and to peace, which must go together, saying “without peace there can be no freedom; without freedom, neither could there be any peace.”
“The victory is on hand. Everywhere in our homeland, millions are celebrating this great, great day, symbolizing that indeed we are now on the path of victory to peace and freedom,” he said.
Misuari signed the 1976 Tripoli Agreement with the government under the presidency of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with then President Fidel V. Ramos.
Misuari was elected Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from September 30, 1996 until he was arrested off Sabah in late November 2000 and detained in the Philippines until April 2008.
Misuari was accused of leading yet another rebellion — the September 2013 Zamboanga Siege. Warrants of arrest were issued against him and 59 others for rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other crimes against Humanity. He went into hiding but was granted temporary liberty late 2016, under the Duterte administration, to participate in the peace talks with government.
He warned he would destroy “foreign infiltrators” who try to create dissension among the Moro people. Misuari did not specifically mention who these “infiltrators” are or if those alleged foreign terrorists are the ones with links to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that the government reported have infiltrated the country.
The ISIS-inspired Maute Group attacked the country’s lone Islamic City of Marawi on May 23 last year, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to place Mindanao under Martial Law. He sought extension of martial law which was twice granted by Congress. Martial law has been extended until December 31, 2018.
On February 27, the US Department of State placed “ISIS-Philippines” and the Maute Group on its Global Terrorist Watchlist.
“The foreign infiltrators to our homeland, to create dissension among us, to disunite us, we must guard against them even if they come from Indonesia, they come from Malaysia, they come from Saudi Arabia, from Morocco, from Iran and from all places in the world. We will have to destroy them, before they can destroy us,” he said.
“So we are now about to march on another path because there are some countries, who are trying to demonize us, who kidnap some innocent citizens and then bring to our homeland to create misimpression about our people,” he added.
He said they will also cleanse their homeland and civilize their society to attain peace in the country and for the future generations and vowed to lead “another movement to punish those miscreants, as miscreant countries around our homeland.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)