MILF thanks MNLF for advice no gov’ts “deception”

On the MILF website's www.luwaran.com dated December 22, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal thanked the MNLF for the “well-meaning but unsolicited advice” and gave assurance that they (MILF) would be cautious and that they are also wary since the government has a dismal track record in terms of compliance with peace pact commitments.

Iqbal was reacting to the warning sounded by MNLF spokesperson Rev. Absalon Cervesa, during the 11th Bangsamoro Peoples Congress at Camp Nurbalam, Pikit, North Cotabato, on December 9.

At least 1,000 people attended the congress.

It was Cerveza who warned the MILF to be cautious in negotiating with the government and not to be deceived by its "language engineering."

He said the "provisional government" for the Bangsamoro, which the government should have implemented already as stipulated in the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, was not realized.

"Instead it (government) gave the Bangsamoro people the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), which had no power at all and was already dissolved," he added.

MNLF National Coordinator Haji Gapul Hadjirul said the government knows very well how the Moro people are yearning for self-rule. "Why is it very hard for them (government) to grant us 'genuine autonomy'?" he asked.


Cervesa said he trusts the capability of the MILF peace panel especially with the inclusion of lawyer Musib Buat which he described as a ‘brilliant’ person.

Iqbal, however, said the present government peace panel is composed of honorable men and women who are more like friends rather than adversaries.


The MNLF leadership is preparing to attend the GRP-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on February 6 to 8 next year. A 20-person MNLF delegation will attend the meeting.

The meeting is intended to review the implementation of the provisions of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement signed on September 2, 1996, and recommend proposals on how to remove obstacles and what mechanisms to set up to effectively monitor its implementation.

Hadjirul said that Misuari, who is still detained, is expected to be released by January to lead the MNLF delegation.
During consultative assemblies held in different parts of Mindanao since November Misuari’s supporters called for his unconditional release. They also wanted him to lead the MNLF delegation and select the members to it.


Misuari has been detained since January 2002 on rebellion charges for the November 2001 uprising of his men in Sulu and Cabatangan in Zamboanga City. (Gandhi Kinjo/MindaNews contributor)

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