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MILF, MNLF-Sema vow support for Robredo-Duterte 

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KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 07 May) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rallied support Saturday for the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo “for her commitment to champion the Bangsamoro peace process during and beyond the transition period.”

Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, MILF chair and interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)  and Muslimin Sema, chair of the MNLF faction comprising the Council of 15, also declared support to the vice presidential aspiration of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party  (UBJP) on April 23 declared Vice President Leni Robredo their candidate for President. 

Early this month, MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari endorsed the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., whose running mate is Mayor Duterte.

Misuari, who was ousted as MNLF chair in 2001 and was designated as chair emeritus by the MNLF Council of 15 – a designation he rejected – told a gathering of MNLF supporters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on May 1 to “forget about the past.”

It is a past that Moro people find difficult to forget as it was under Marcos Sr.’s rule when the Jabidah Massacre of 1968 happened, triggering the birth of the MNLF. Several other massacres involving the Moro people, among them the Manili massacre in 1971 and the Malisbong Massacre of 1974 happened under the administration of Marcos Sr. who declared martial law in 1972. 

Ebrahim and Sema said the MILF and MNLF decided to pick Robredo as their presidential candidate due to her commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process, the full implementation of all signed peace agreements, and most importantly, the interest of the Bangsamoro people.

“Accordingly, the two organizations agreed to support the presidential candidate with a clear platform of governance and commitment to the peace process and the full implementation of all signed peace agreements during and beyond the current transition period (in the Bangsamoro region),” the joint declaration said. 

The MILF, which broke away from the MNLF in the late 1970s, signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations. The MNLF, on the other hand, signed the 1976 Tripoli agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the government.

In arriving at a unified position to support Robredo, the two leaders said the two fronts remain consistent with their mutual commitment to be united in complying to the provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law that the Bangsamoro shall pursue a program and platform-based politics and abandon personality-based elections.

“Both fronts are aware of the political consequences of this declaration, especially in consideration of the extended transition period for the establishment of the Bangsamoro government,” Ebrahim and Sema said.

“Nonetheless, the primacy of the peace process and of the Bangsamoro people is compelling enough for the MILF and MNLF to be unequivocal on the choice of presidency,” they added.


Ebrahim is currently interim Chief Minister of the BARMM while Sema was recently appointed as BARMM Labor Minister. 

The two Moro leaders, however, did not explain why the two fronts support Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, under whose administration Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was passed. 

RA 11054 paved the way for the creation of the BARMM.

The creation of the Bangsamoro region is the centerpiece of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement between the government and the MILF signed during the Aquino administration.

Ebrahim earlier said the MILF had committed to President Duterte, because of his support to the Bangsamoro peace process, to support his daughter’s political aspiration. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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