MILF names new spokesperson, two women consultants

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/14 July) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has named Von Al Haq as its new spokesperson, replacing Eid Kabalu, who was asked to quit his post after he openly sought for appointment as officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Al Haq once headed the MILF’s Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.

The MILF also announced the appointment of two lady-consultants for its negotiating panel that has been talking peace with the government for 14 years.

Atty. Raissa Jajurie, a Tausug lawyer and a known defender of Moro and Lumad rights, and academician Bai Cabaybay Abubakar were was named consultants of the MILF peace negotiating panel headed by Mohagher Iqbal.

“If I can make my humble contribution to a process that can potentially resolve the Bangsamoro question, I could not shrink from it,” Jajurie said of her appointment.

Jajurie was Mindanao coordinator of the Sentrong Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN) or Center for Alternative Legal Services. She also heads the Nisaul-Haq Bangsamoro (roughly translated into Bangsamoro Women’s Rights) and Bangsamoro Lawyers’ Network.

Abubakar, a Maguindanaon, is currently the president of the Shariff Kabunsuan College in Cotabato City.

The appointment of the two lady consultants was reportedly made by Iqbal himself last July 7 but was only announced at the MILF’s website – www.luwaran.com – today.

Datu Michael Mastura, a senior member of the MILF peace panel, said that the MILF values women’s support to their cause.

In a series of consultations that the MILF conducted, the question on women representation in its peace negotiating panel had been raised. In these consultations, the MILF has already announced that it would soon name more consultants to the panel even as it already made public in Cagayan de Oro City last month the appointment of Timuay Melanio Ulama, a T’duray leader, as one of their consultants.

Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, enumerated four criteria they used in choosing the two lady consultants – possesses good moral character; believes in the mission, vision and work of the MILF for the Bangsamoro people, including the indigenous peoples; comprehends and accepts the responsibilities associated with the actions of the organization related to the peace process; and, enjoys good clout, credibility, and acceptability with the Moro masses.

But Mantawil stressed that the membership of Ulama, Jajurie and Abubakar to the board of consultants to the MILF peace panel “does not mean membership” with the MILF. (Romy Elusfa / MindaNews)

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