NDFP-Mindanao to MILF: be cautious, guard against defeat for entire Bangsamoro

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 October) –  The spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines  (NDFP) in Mindanao has appealed to the Moro Islamic Liberation  Front (MILF) to be “ever more vigilant and critical of the US-Aquino regime”  or face defeat “for the entire Moro people.”

Jorge Madlos or Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao during an interview with the media on July 24,2012 inside their guerrilla base somewhere in Northern Mindanao. MindaNews File Photo by Ruby Thursday More
Jorge Madlos or Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao during an interview with the media on July 24,2012 inside their guerrilla base somewhere in Northern Mindanao. MindaNews File Photo by Ruby Thursday More

“The MILF must avoid being inveigled and, in the process, out-maneuvered to fall into the precipice of defeat not only for them, but for the entire Moro people,” NDF Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos said in a statement dated October 26 but e-mailed to reporters minutes before the scheduled 9 a.m. October 27 press conference of MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

In his 12-paragraph statement, Madlos said the signing  of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15 in Malacanan Palace, “opens new avenues”  to the GPH-MILF peace process and poses greater challenges to the Moro people “but when the dust of exuberance on this turning-point settles, the Moro people, who at present look to the MILF for leadership, must not allow this Framework to make them open and vulnerable to the devious scheming and machinations of the Aquino regime and its US imperialist boss.”

He said NDFP-Mindanao “encourages the MILF to doubly ensure that the Moro people (are) not pushed towards the losing end by making certain that the Aquino regime does not short-circuit the processes required to render the Framework more meaningful and genuinely workable for the Moro people. “

Asked for comment, MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews that Madlos is “entitled to his opinion” and thanked him for the caution.

“Thanks, anyway, for the caution. We assure him we care for our people because we are part of it,” Iqbal said.

Madlos pointed to a “striking provision” under Article IV, Section  4 of the FAB, on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, which he says “paves the way for natural resources, such as natural gas and minerals, in Moro areas to be plundered and controlled by the local ruling elite and foreign monopoly capitalists. “

The provision states that the Bangsamoro “shall have a just and equitable share in the revenues generated through the exploration, development or utilization of natural resources obtaining in all the area/territories, land or water, covered by and within the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro, in accordance with the formula agreed upon by the Parties.”

Madlos said the section “cannot, in any way, be deemed to afford real protection to the Moro people’s right to self-determination on economic matters because all policies related to this will largely be dependent ‘with the formula agreed upon by the Parties’ or, in real terms, the Aquino government. “

The two panels have yet to divulge what the agreed formula is.

Iqbal estimated to MindaNews on October 18 that the panels’ work on the annexes to the FAB at the end of the 13th round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur on October 6 was  90% complete for power-sharing, 55% for wealth-sharing and 10% for normalization.

The panels are set to meet in November and December to  finish the annexes.

Madlos recalled the NDFP-MILF alliance under the February 14, 1999 “General Agreement Between the NDFP and the MILF on Cooperation and Mutual Support in the Revolutionary Struggle” forged in Camp Abubakar, the MILF main headquarters then, which stated the right to freedom and self-determination of the Moro people as “the essence of our formal alliance.”

NDFP-Mindanao, he said, hopes that the despite the signed framework, the MILF will continue to “fight for the genuine aspirations and interests of the Moro people.”

He also cautioned the MILF about the decommissioning of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), noting that even as the annexes have not been finished, the Aquino administration “has already begun the emasculation, and eventual dissolution, of the MILF’s ‘most important bargaining chip’ by slyly manipulating to place the BIAF in a passive position through long-drawn ceasefire agreements.”

“One must not also be blind to the fact that the AFP, the PNP and US troops continue to be on the offensive and have no intention to back down until MILF and other Moro armed forces completely fold.  Thus, before any form of ‘decommissioning’ takes place, it must be crystal clear that the terms must never render MILF-BIAF forces incapacitated, without initiative, or simply reduced to take on police function under the control of the PNP.  Without the BIAF, the MILF will be inadequate and incapacitated to protect the Moro people it represents,” Madlos said.

The MILF, he said, “should not easily relinquish its effective military strength at the whim of the reactionary government and of US imperialism so that it can continue to preserve and defend the interests of its organization and the entire Moro people” and “must hold in high regard, above all else, the very aspirations of the long-suffering Moro people.”

The FAB provides under Aricle VIII, Section 5 that the MILF “shall undertake a graduated program for decommissioning of its forces so that they are put beyond use” and in Section 6, that “in a phased and gradual manner, all law enforcement functions shall be transferred from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the police force for the Bangsamoro.”

The statement called on “other legitimate armed Moro groups and the whole Moro people to strengthen the struggle for their right to self-determination on two fronts” – in the assertion of basic human and political rights through a broad mass movement, and  “strengthen and further intensify the Moro armed revolutionary resistance against our common enemy – the fascist state and its armed forces, and US military interventionist forces.”

Madlos said the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and all the allied organizations under the NDF “reaffirm their commitment to fight ever more vigorously alongside other legitimate Moro groups and the Moro people for their right to self-determination notwithstanding the result of the Framework.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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