Murad to head MILF political party; assembly on Dec 23-25

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/19 December) — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is busy completing the requirements to set up a regional political party – the United Bangsamoro Justice Party or UJBP) – which MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim will lead as Chair and President, Sammy Al Mansoor, Secretary-General, said.

Mansoor said there will be five vice-chairs: MILF Vice Chair for Political Affairs, will serve as vice chair for Central Mindanao, Maamor Estino for Western Mindanao, Hussin Munoz for Eastern Mindanao, Alim Ali Solaiman for Northern Mindanao and Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair and Bangsamoro Transition Commission, for Southern Mindanao.

Mansoor said the an assembly of the party members and volunteers will be held on December 23 to 25 in the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

He  estimates at least 26,000 volunteers will attend the assembly.

“There could be more. This gathering is gathering of volunteers, volunteers in the sense that they are not yet members of the party, they have yet to be members of the political party, after this they will apply for the political party.”

Mansoor said the plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamo Basic Law hopefully by 2015 will serve as the “test case” of the strength of the party.

“This is really the intention why we (are rushing) to make the party established now because of that plebiscite,” he said.

Mansoor said they are open to alliances with local and national political parties but will have to study this issue more extensively to ensure the allies understand the principles and direction of the Bangsamoro. “Titingnan naman kung kailangan ang alliance, not all the time alliance is necessary, bakit ka naman makipag alliance kung sa tingin mo sa sarili mo ay kaya mo din. (We will see if alliance is needed. It is not all the time that alliance is necessary. Why will you seek alliance if you believe you can do it yourself?)

Mansoor said the normalization process, which includes the decommissioning of the MILF combatants and their weapons as well as the redeployment of the military, is ongoing.

When the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is set up, said Mansoor, “the armed wing of the MILF ceases. The MILF as an organization will still be intact pero yung military activities ay wala na yun (but the military activities will be over). [Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews]

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