MOro youth leaders to MNLF, MILF: Unite

The call, made through a resolution, was the output of the three-day gathering dubbed "Mindanao Young Moro Leaders Conference" held at Isla Parilla resort here, on Dec. 20 to 22.

In the same resolution they asserted their 'Bangsamoro' identity and nationality, and called on the replacement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines by the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces as the security force of the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity once a peace agreement is reached.

They rejected the integration of the BIAF into the AFP.

The Moro youth also demanded for a moratorium on the exploration and exploitation of natural resources within the BJE while the peace negotiation is going on.

They further declared that the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro ancestral domain must include full utilization, exploitation, conservation and disposition of natural resources.

Congress must enact "Reparation Law" to ensure payment for human rights violations committed by the Philippine government on the Moro people," the resolution states.

The resolution wants the Bangsamoro Development Agency to lead and manage rehabilitation and development projects within the conflict-affected areas of the BJE.

The government and MILF peace panels had earlier signed an agreement on the role of the BDA.

The group also wants the BJE to be authorized to enter into treaties and diplomatic and trade relations with other countries by allowing it to establish consular offices abroad especially in the Middle East.

William Banzali, a young Kagan leader said, "There must be a leveling off among the leaders of the MNLF and MILF in the process of coordination and consultation."

Norodin Piang, President of the Muslims Students Association in Mindanao State University in General Santos City said that Islamic education must be inculcated in the minds of the Bangsamoro. "Islam calls for unity among Muslims, regardless of color, groups or nationality," he stressed.

"Our goals for self-determination could not be realized, unless we Moro people are united," Naffesur-Rahman E. Suhod of Tawi-tawi pointed out, adding, "Our leaders should prove that they were once united and continuously united, as Islam mandates, for the sake of the Bangsamoro."

Jocelyn Lambac, vice-president of the Young Moro Professionals Council–SOCSKSARGEN, asked, "How can we prove to the world that we can stand on our own feet if there is disunity among the Moro people?"

The MNLF reckons its founding date to March 18, 1968 but it was set up organizationally, in the late 1970s. It was chaired by Prof. Nur Misuari and its vice chair was Salamat Hashim.

The MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement on December 23, 1976 but it was not implemented as agreed upon.

In the late 1970s, Hashim broke away from the MNLF to form the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MNLF, still under MIsuari, signed a “final peace agreement” with the Philippine government in September 1996.

The MILF is still negotiating a peace agreement with the government.

The congress was hosted by the United Youth of the Philippines for Development with the support of the German Technical Cooperation and the Initiatives for International Dialogue. (Gandhi Kinjo/MindaNews)

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