Misuari slams 'vicious conspiracy'
By Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star)
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari denounced the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro signed yesterday by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), calling it a “vicious conspiracy between the Philippines and Malaysia.”
Misuari reiterated his disapproval of the agreement when asked by reporters at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel shortly after his meeting with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
According to its website, the OIC (formerly the Organization of Islamic Conference) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations and has a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
The organization is the collective voice of the Muslims and aims to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
The group was established upon a decision of the historical summit, which took place in Rabat, Morocco on Sept. 25, 1969 as a result of the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
“Mahal na mahal namin ang kapayapaan sa Mindanao, itong tinatawag na (We really love peace in Mindanao, this so-called) framework agreement.. is a recipe for another crisis and war in Mindanao,” he said.
Misuari said that as proof, a few days after Malacañang announced the agreement, some 17,000 armed fighters of the MILF bolted the group and joined the MNLF.
“The message is very clear. The framework agreement is ominous. It could lead to the dissolution of the remaining MILF group under Hadji Murad and the unification of the Bangsamoro people under the aegis of our leadership,” he said.
“The framework will turn into a recipe for the failure of the administration of President Aquino as well as their counterpart in this conspiracy against our people, the administration of Prime Minister Najib (Razak) of Malaysia,” Misuari added.
Misuari said Malaysia had pushed the agreement to relieve pressure from the ownership question over the areas of North Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak, which the MNLF is claiming as parts of the Bangsamoro nation.
“On the part of Malaysia, they made this recipe for war because they don’t want peace in our homeland. They want instability. They want crisis. They want war. So that we cannot have the luxury of time to resolve our problem over North Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak. They want to perpetuate their colonial rule over our homeland,” he said.
“With respect to our brothers in the MILF, I’m afraid (they are unaware). They are not literate enough to understand the hidden agenda of Malaysia and the Philippines,” Misuari added.
Misuari blamed the Philippine government for the alleged failure of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where he had once served as governor.
“If there was failure, it’s the fault of the Philippine government. We were planned to fail. They did not put up the money,” he said.
Misuari said the MNLF had previously managed to secure a $523-million loan from the World Bank for reconstruction projects in the region, but the government allegedly did not fulfill its promise of releasing P45 billion.
Misuari said the Philippine government allegedly blocked the release of the World Bank loan.
“World Bank said we have the money but they stopped the release of the funds,” he said.
Misuari also warned President Aquino that by the time the Bangsamoro is established, he would no longer be in Malacañang.
He said this could create tension in the region, as Aquino will no longer be able to provide support for it.
“What is happening now? They say they will have autonomy in lieu of the previous one. This is a false promise because this autonomy will rise from the ashes in 2016,” he said.
Misuari said that instead of creating a new region, the government should instead honor the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, which was signed by the government and the MNLF.
The 1976 Tripoli Agreement essentially made MNLF and the Philippine government meet in a compromise agreement to establish an autonomous region in the Bangsamoro land. The Tripoli Agreement is the basis of the mandate of the MNLF, with Misuari as the one recognized leader, to represent the Bangsamoro people in its struggle for freedom.
Out of the 25 provinces claimed by the MNLF for independence, the Tripoli Agreement negotiations settled to a compromise of 13 provinces to be included in the formation of an autonomous government for the Bangsamoro people, namely: Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Palawan.
“But instead of peace, this may create a condition for a rise of a new crisis situation that if it slips out of our hands, may lead to a war in Mindanao,” he said.
Misuari said the MNLF would not be lodging a formal protest with the OIC over the signing of the agreement between the MILF and Manila.
“It’s not our habit to file protests with the OIC. We are a very disciplined people. They allow us (MNLF) to serve as permanent observer as the sole legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro nation and Bangsamoro people,” he said.
Misuari said the OIC, while welcoming the framework agreement, also cautioned the concerned parties not to forget that the ultimate solution lies in the full implementation in letter and spirit of the Tripoli Agreement and that he is the only one recognized as the representative of the Bangsamoro people.
Despite his opposition to the accord, Misuari claimed that the MNLF might have something to gain from the framework agreement.
“But this framework agreement, no matter how we object to it, in my opinion is a blessing in disguise to us. This would lead to the demise of the MILF – 17,000 of their armed forces have shifted loyalty to us and many more are coming back to us. None of them will be left. It is like a sinking ship,” he said.
Misuari also said that with the expected exodus of MILF fighters back to the fold of the MNLF, his organization would become stronger, as he vowed to continue fighting for a Bangsamoro nation.
“We will become much more capable to carry out our mandate from heaven and our mandate from the people… (With) the augmentation of our forces by 17,000 or more we are ready, even for wrestling,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) believes that the framework agreement will not bring peace in Mindanao and vowed to continue calling for the creation of an independent homeland.
Abu Misri Mama, spokesman for BIFM, insisted yesterday that the real aspiration of the Bangsamoro is to achieve independence.
“Our struggle for independence for Bangsamoro will continue. The Bangsamoro political entity is not the aspiration of Bangsamoros,” Mama told radio dzBB.
“What they are aspiring for is independence, a constitution that is not under any other political constitution,” he added.
The BIFM broke away from the MILF due to some differences in policy.
Founded by former MILF commander Umbra Kato, the BIFM has criticized the MILF leadership for its alleged revisionist policy in abandoning its original stance of independence.
The military said the BIFM has about 400 members.
Mama said they would not use violence to sabotage the signing of a peace agreement.
He, however, said they could resort to force to achieve their aims. With Alexis Romero