Jaafar: No ISIS in Mindanao but…

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 March) – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) first vice chair Ghazali Jaafar said global terrorism group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated Mindanao yet but said the younger generation of local terrorist groups are growing impatient over the current status of the Bangsamoro.

During the commemoration of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City, Jaafar said he knows of five or six groups operating in Mindanao, among them the Maute Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and Abu Sayyaf, but none of them are allied with the ISIS.

Jaafar, who is chair of the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said ISIS may penetrate Mindanao as the local radical groups may need support to back their operations. The BTC is tasked to draft a new enabling law that will implement the CAB.

“I believe this Maute, BIFF, at yung iba pang grupo, hindi mga ISIS ito (and the other groups, these are not ISIS). I guarantee you but papasok yan dito sapagkat yung mga ito naghahanap yan sila ng finance (but they will come because they are looking for finance). This is the reality of the situation, dapat tanggapin natin ito (we need to accept this),” he said.

Jaafar said that GPH and MILF troops are not fighting because they have a bilateral ceasefire agreement but added the other groups in Mindanao are continuously fighting.

“But the guns of the ASG and the guns of the BIFF and the Maute are continuously fighting and there is no guarantee to stop these unless there is BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) na tanggapin nila sapagkat kung ang Bangsamoro Basic Law, na ipapasa ng Congress ay hindi nila tanggapin (because if the version of the Congress is not acceptable to them), I doubt,” he said.

But ISIS incursion, Jaafar said, is preventable when Congress will pass an enabling law that is seen to address the issues on self-determination and self-governance of the Bangsamoro people in “accordance to their own way of life.”

He said the MILF has created an Ad Hoc committee that studies the causes of Moro radicalism to be able to formulate a plan on how to fix this.

“I am assuring you now that I think and I believe the only solution is the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). Let us pass the (new) BBL,” he said.

GPH implementing peace panel chair Irene Santiago said BTC will complete the draft of an enabling law by May 18 and submit it to Congress by June this year before it will go into sine die adjournment on June 3 and resume on July 24 with Duterte addressing them in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.

“Peace is also all of us building relationships that are just and equal – in politics, in the economy, in our social life. Peace is also peace for all,” she said.

Santiago added that implementing panels are working on a program of normalization “which includes decommissioning of combatants, transforming their communities to productive and peace places, and lastly, implementing the recommendations of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission, primarily the establishment of the National Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission on the Bangsamoro,” Santiago said.

She added that the NTJRCB will deal with the issues of historical injustice, human rights violations and land dispossession that are at the core of the armed conflict. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)