Moro civil society calls for quadripartite meet to fast-track unity

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Nov) – Civil society leaders from Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi (ZamBaSulTa) are calling for a quadripartite meeting involving the government (GPH), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) “to help fast-track track the unity of the Bangsamoro Fronts towards a unified Bangsamoro enabling law.”

Moro women at the ZamBaSulTa CSO-Leaders Assembly held in Zamboanga City on November 7 to 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of CBCS
Moro women at the ZamBaSulTa CSO-Leaders Assembly held in Zamboanga City on November 7 to 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of CBCS

In a statement, participants of the ZamBaSulTa CSO-Leaders Assembly held in Zamboanga City on November 7 – 9 also urged President Rodrigo Duterte “to bring the Bangsamoro Fronts together for a dialogue towards forging a consolidated enabling law.”

At present, government is dealing with the MILF and MNLF faction under Nur Misuari, separately. The Duterte administration’s peace and development roadmap initially envisioned that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will have all factions of the MNLF represented in the BTC.

The BTC’s membership was in fact increased from 15 to 21 to ensure a more inclusive body and the convergence of the peace pacts.  

The MILF faction under Muslimin Sema will have three seats in the BTC. The MNLF under Misuari will not participate in the BTC but will instead have a five-member panel that will deal with the government on amending RA 9054, the law governing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), to incorporate the unimplemented provisions of the GPH-MNLF’s 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

Under the GPH-MILF’s Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed in March 2014, the parties agreed to set up a new autonomous political entity called the Bangsamoro, that would replace the ARMM once the BBL is ratified.

The Assembly participants came from various Bangsamoro sectors and organizations — the Sultanates, Moro fronts, religious, civil society organizations, youth, women, academe and community from the provinces of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and the city of Zamboanga.

The Assembly also called on the MNLF and MILF “to religiously  abide (by) the solidarity framework  enunciated by the OIC through the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) in order to achieve the long-term goal of the MNLF-MILF agreement” and to “rise above tribal differences towards helping unify the MNLF and the MILF to synergize their efforts to achieve the peace and development that the Bangsamoro rightfully deserve.”

Misuari, who was received in Malacanang by President Duterte on November 3, following a court order granting him temporary liberty to allow him to participate in the peace efforts with the government, called the MILF and the other MNLF factions as “traitors.”

The Assembly called on the leaders of the MNLF and the MILF to “refrain from issuing statements detrimental to the Unity and Cooperation of the Bangsamoro.”

Duterte sat with MILF leaders Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF chair and MILF peace implementing panel chair Mohagher Iqbal during the signing of the Exectuive Order on the BTC in Malacnanag on November 7.

The Assembly also urged government to implement the recommendations of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) “in addressing the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro, correcting the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro and other indigenous peoples, and addressing human rights violations and marginalization of the Bangsamoro due to land dispossession.”  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)