[PHOTO - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)]

By Nikko Dizon, Charlie Señase Inquirer Mindanao - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has organized groups to spearhead its own “massive information drive” to explain the government and MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

On its official website,, Sheikh Mohammad Muntassir, head of the Da’wah Department of the MILF, said six groups will fan out to the Sulu-Tawi-Tawi-Basilan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao, Davao, Maguindanao-Cotabato and South Cotabato areas.

Muntassir said members of the MILF Central Committee would head the groups and be their “lead discussants.”

The website also quoted Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief peace negotiator, as saying that “understanding the agreement is not easy.”

Iqbal noted that the framework “contained provisions that are constructed ambiguously to give both parties elbow room or space for movement.”

British Ambassador Stephen Lillie, meanwhile, said during a recent visit to Cotabato City that the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of MILF guerrillas could create a bottleneck in the events leading up to the final peace agreement but “it is one of the most important steps for peace.”

Lillie, whose government assisted in the peace negotiation, said “the tough task ahead would lie on the issue of disarmament.”

“This is a very sensitive issue that both sides should talk about and should come into an agreement,” he said, citing the case of Northern Ireland, where disarmament and reintegration also became a sticky issue before their own Good Friday Agreement with political parties in the conflict areas came into being.

“DDR can be realized slowly and decisively,” he said, adding that the Northern Ireland experience “can be duplicated here.”

The negotiating panels of the government and the MILF will resume negotiations this month in Kuala Lumpur. They are expected to discuss the details of the three annexes that the framework provides: Wealth-sharing, power-sharing and normalization.

Iqbal said he saw no problem should the head of the government panel, Marvic Leonen, be replaced.

Leonen recently accepted a nomination to the Supreme Court. Whether or not he will be included on the short list that the Judicial and Bar Council will send to Malacañang will be known after Nov. 7.

Iqbal said he had “good rapport” with Leonen but would not stop the former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law from joining the high court.’

In fact, he said, “I see Leonen’s entry as a positive development.”

Earlier, Leonen said the wealth-sharing and power-sharing annexes were nearly complete as the technical working groups had been meeting on these annexes.

Much still needs to be done on the normalization, where according to the framework agreement, “the MILF shall undertake a graduated program for decommissioning its forces so that they are put beyond use.”

Leonen expressed confidence that all three annexes would be completed by the end of the year leading to a comprehensive peace pact. With a report from TJ Burgonio

Palace to Misuari: Peace pact has Arab backing Philippine Daily Inquirer

[PHOTO -MNLF chairman Nur Misuari and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. FILE PHOTO]

Malacañang on Monday dismissed Moro leader Nur Misuari’s threat to enlist the support of Middle East leaders in his rejection of the framework agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying the peace plan had the full backing of Arab Islamic leaders.

“I think the presence of the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was a signal of support from the Arab leaders. I think that in and of itself, that shows the keen interest of the OIC in having peace in Muslim Mindanao. We find that as a symbolic and a significant support from the OIC,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda said that Misuari, head of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was free to voice his opposition to the framework agreement despite “overwhelming support” for what he said was the first step to reaching a final agreement not only from local and international leaders but also from Moro rebels themselves.

The government and the MILF signed the agreement in Malacañang last week in an effusive ceremony attended by President Aquino, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

In Davao City, a senior MILF official on Monday also defended the agreement, saying its signing was conspiracy at its best because it would help bring about lasting peace in Mindanao.

Nur’s conspiracy theory

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF chairman for political affairs, said Misuari was making unfounded accusations. “(But) if they wanted to call this a conspiracy, then it is a conspiracy to end war,” he said by phone.

Misuari on Sunday told some 7,000 followers in the city that the “Philippine colonizers” and the MILF conspired to dilute the gains of the 1996 peace treaty that the MNLF signed with the Ramos administration.

“Are we going to allow their conspiracy? Certainly not. Do anything to block the conspiracy because this is a complete surrender and a betrayal of the trust of the people,” Misuari said. Gil Cabacungan, Ryan Rosauro and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao and Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Chairman Nur Misuari PRESS CONFERENCE in Makati Shangri-La Hotel October 15, 2012

Nur Misuari is a revolutionary leader of the Bangsamoro and began his campaign for better treatment of the people of Mindanao by the Manila government through the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) in the 1970s, which later became the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Under Misuari’s leadership the MNLF challenged the government until the Tripoli Agreement was negotiated in 1976.


VIDEO: Published on Oct 22, 2012 by ridzdream

NLF Chairman Nur Misuari Presscon Held Makati Shangri-La Hotel right after the closed door meeting with Dr. Ekmeleddin Ishanuglo, Sec.Gen Organization Of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Prior to the signing of Framework Agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Government Of The Philippines in Malacanang Palace, Manila. October 15, 2012

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved