MILF, supporters hold peace rally in Tawi-tawi to support BBL

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – About 300 members and supporters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Tawi-tawi staged a rally in the capital municipality of Bongao this morning as part of the simultaneous move to push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the military reported.

The gathering – which include men, women and the youth – began at 8:15 a.m. as participants assembled at the Department of Education compound. They then staged a peace parade in downtown Bongao and dispersed 30 minutes later.

Peace marches and rallies are also expected in other parts of Mindanao to express peacefully the MILF and its supporters’ common stand to seek for the passage of the BBL.

The BBL is viewed by the MILF “as the solution to Mindanao conflict” and the “way to lasting peace and prosperity.”

Deliberations in the House of Representatives, however, have been suspended following the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao where 44 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Forces (SAF) were killed in clashes with the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Military reports said that in a dialogue that followed at the DepEd compound in Bongao, seen as key participants were

In the dialogue that followed at the DepEd Compound, seen as among the key participants were former chancellor Eddie Alih of the Mindanao State University Bongao campus and a certain Commander Sakili, one of the MILF leaders among the Sama tribe. The military has noted however the absence of MILF Tawi-Tawi base operations commander Abdurahman Dakula.

The police, meanwhile, reported that a similar peace rally was staged in downtown Ipil, the capital municipality of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga City, which is still recovering from the September 2013 attack of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), is under red alert. Classes in some private elementary schools such as Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Pilar College, Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, and Ferndale International School have been suspended at noon, and the City Hall is fully guarded.

The City Information Office issued a statement that Zamboanga “implements the legal mandate of no permit, no rally/caravan within the territorial jurisdiction of the city … in response to the planned caravan in Zamboanga City by a group of civil society organization supporting the (passage of the) Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

“We are firm in our resolve to ensure the security, peace and order and tranquility of the city,” the statement said.

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