Moro youth call on GRP, MILF to listen to their demands

In a resolution, the Moro youth leaders, who gathered here on May 4 to 6 in a summit that culminated last year’s series of regional consultations, committed to “support the GRP-MILF peace process” while not abandoning their “aspiration that independence for the Bangsamoro people is the solution to the centuries-old conflict in Mindanao.”

The negotiators only have one remaining item in the agenda that has to be settled: ancestral domain.

Ustadz Rahib Kudto, national chair of the United Youth for Peace and Development (Unypad), one of the organizers of the Summit that carried the theme: “Consolidating our Ranks, Asserting our Future and Advancing the Struggle," said the youth wanted the MILF to ensure that when they discuss ancestral domain it “must include the ownership, utilization, exploitation, conservation, management and disposition of natural resources.”

While the peace talks are ongoing, Kudto said the MILF should demand that government declares a moratorium on the exploration and exploitation of all natural resources, such as strategic minerals and oils, among others, within the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. The BJE would cover the areas that are being considered part of the Bangsamoro Homeland.

The Summit also pushed the MILF to ensure that the mandate of the Bangsamoro Development Agency would be enough for it to be able to “determine, lead and manage rehabilitation and development projects in conflict affected areas and consciously give attention to the needs and protection of children and youth.” The BDA, also established by the government and the MILF, had been tasked to implement development projects within the BJE.

Citing successes of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team in preventing escalation of armed conflict between soldiers and MILF guerrillas, Kudto’s group has also asked that IMT be “broadened, strengthened and expanded to include the areas of Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

While the talks are ongoing, the Bangsamoro youth also suggested that the government and the MILF establish a “Leadership and Management Institute for emerging Bangsamoro leaders and professionals.”

A leadership and management institute has actually been set up in cooperation with the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Kudto said that their resolution also suggested for the “establishment of Bangsamoro Consular Offices in South East Asia and the rest of Muslim countries all over the world for economic cooperation, diplomatic and trade relations.”

The youth also called for the “demilitarization and pull out of US troops from the Bangsamoro homeland and effect total ceasefire while negotiation is ongoing. This includes the suspension of the ongoing military offensives in Sulu.”

They also want government to “address the serious problem on human rights violations and the impact of the global war on terror on the freedom and security of our people” and called for the release of all Bangsamoro political prisoners, including Nur Misuari, the jailed chair of the Moro National Liberation Front who signed a peace agreement with the government in September 1996.

After the Summit, representatives of the youth leaders went directly to Camp Darapanan of the MILF in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, where they presented their resolution to MILF Chief Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal and MILF peace panel member Datu Michael Mastura. (MindaNews)

 

 

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