Salamat Hashim’s family slams emergence of ‘MILF-Salamat Wing’

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 23 July) – The family of the late Sheik Salamat Hashim, founding chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), slammed Saturday the emergence of an ‘MILF-Salamat Wing,’ which is urging President Ferdinand Marcos to appoint its nominees to the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Member of Parliament Abdullah Hashim, son of the MILF founder, said the family strongly condemns the use of their father’s name in sowing intrigue to divide the ranks of the MILF.

MP Abdullah Hashim, son of the late Salamat Hashim, founding chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front speaks at the 19th anniversary of the martyrdom of his father on 13 July 2022 at in the MILF camp in Rajahmuda in Pikit, North Cotabato on 13 July 2022. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO

He appealed to everyone not to use his father’s name “to sow political chaos and destroy the fragile peace that we are beginning to attain, under the MILF-led BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.”

Hashim noted the creation of the MILF-Salamat Wing puts at risk the peace process, referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which the government and the MILF signed in 2014 after 17 years of peace negotiations.

“Our father’s work and legacy have always been to work for the common good of the Bangsamoro and Muslim Ummah (community). It is a great disservice to his legacy and an insult to his family to use his name to sow division, which could lead to us furthering away from the promise of peace,” he said in a statement dated July 23. 

A “political statement of MILF-Salamat wing” dated July 18 and signed by Shaykh AbdulFatah Saleh Delna, the group’s ad hoc chair, said their group, which supported Marcos for President, is “gaining ground in the Bangsamoro region.”

Nominees to BTA

Claiming they are “not a faction or a breakaway group” but MILF members, Delna said they supported the candidacy of Marcos and is urging him to appoint from their ranks new BTA members and ministers of the Bangsamoro region.

Delna said they submitted a list of nominees for the President to appoint as “new members of the BTA, both as Parliamentarians and as Ministers,”  claiming they are “all capable and competent to act and perform as Parliamentarians and Ministers.” 

Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the enabling law of the 2014 peace agreement, provides for the appointment of an 80-member MILF-led BTA, the body tasked to govern the transition period for the Bangsamoro government initially until June 30, 2022. 

In February 2019, barely a month after the ratification of RA 11054, then President Rodrigo Duterte named 80 members to the BTA – 41 nominated by the MILF and 39 by the government. He designated MILF chair Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim as Interim Chief Minister. 

In October last year, Duterte signed Republic Act 11593, resetting the first regular elections in the Bangsamoro from 2022 to 2025, effectively extending the term of the BTA for another three years until 2025.

Section 2 of the law states that “during the extension of the transition period, the BTA shall continue as the interim government in the BARMM, provided, however, that the President may appoint the 80 new interim members of the BTA who shall serve up to June 30, 2025 or until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.” 

The MILF-Salamat Wing urged Marcos to appoint the new BTA members from its ranks, pointing out that the MILF’s political party, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) supported the presidential bid of then Vice President Leni Robredo.

“We are bona fide and legitimate members and officials of the MILF and are trusted persons of the late Chairman Salamat Hashim. We maintain that we are not a breakaway group or that sort,” Delna said in the statement.

Expelled, Suspended


Delna claimed that as a “consequence of expressing support and campaigning on the basis of our independent political views as individual voters” for Marcos, interim Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, in his capacity as MILF chair, expelled him as Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces-MILF Deputy Front Commander, National Guard Front, on April 27 this year.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, Bangsamoro Government spokesperson and concurrent Minister of the Interior and Local Government, said Delna was “suspended because he let his son, Saad Delna, run for Mayor of Mangudadatu under the party of (then Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto) “Teng” Mangudadatu. The UBJP, the MILF’s political party, supported the gubernatorial bid and party slate of former Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, Teng’s cousin. Toto’s brother Freddie, won as mayor of Mangudadatu. 

Sinarimbo said “the emergence of the MILF-Salamat Wing was borne out of their vested interests to lord it over the Bangsamoro region.”

“We see it as a continuing effort by the enemies of peace to sow intrigue and divisions so that their personal political agenda, which is to hijack the peace process by taking over the BARMM government would succeed,” he told MindaNews. 

“We are, however, confident that it will fail just like the many occasions they have tried but failed to spoil the peace in the Bangsamoro,” he added.

“Oppose, disagree, disavow”

“I oppose, disagree, and disavow the use of our father’s name to endanger the peace and progress, not to mention the organization he and countless others gave their lives to protect and to establish,” MP Hashim said.  

“You should not let personal grievances and political sentiments create political chaos in the guise of ‘following’ my father’s way. You should not let the maneuverings of some politicians use you for their personal dreams of power. You should be more wise than this,” he said, addressing Delna’s group.  

“If you wish to exercise your democratic rights, then exercise them at the proper time. When the time comes for elections, the BARMM will be open as mandated by law,” he added. 

He also rallied continuing support to the BARMM and the MILF under the leadership of Ebrahim, whom his father had “personally chosen and deemed most qualified to be his successor.”

Ebrahim was Salamat Hashim’s Vice Chair for Military Affairs when the former was chair.  

Salamat Hashim died on July 13, 2003.  

The MILF and Bangsamoro government officials led by Ebrahim, commemorated the 19th anniversary of the martyrdom of Salamat Hashim at Camp Rajahmuja in Pikit, North Cotabato on July 13. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)