From GMA News (Sep 9): 1 killed, 6 wounded in predawn Zambo clash between AFP, suspected MNLF gunmen
A soldier was killed, with at least six others wounded, during a clash between
the armed forces and suspected Moro National Liberation Front gunmen before dawn
Monday in Zamboanga City.
Residents in three villages were evacuated,
businesses were closed and classes were suspended in the city, radio dzBB's
correspondent JV Francisco reported.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, head of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines public information office, said the
encounter occurred off the coast of Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City.
Citing initial reports, Zagala said the encounter involved suspected MNLF
fighters and the Naval Special Operations Group.
"Yung malungkot, may
isang kasundaluhan na namatay at may mga wounded," he said over dzBB radio.
Zagala added that they were verifying if some MNLF fighter managed to
enter the city proper.
Meanwhile, Maj. Harold Cabunoc, commander of
the Philippine Army's 7th Civil Relations Group, said the gunbattle occurred at
a minute (of) prayer for the fallen soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice
in the service of our country," Cabunoc said on his Twitter account.
Initial reports reports from
the military said some "100 more or less" armed followers of the MNLF's former
chairman Nur Misuari were involved in the encounter.
An earlier dzBB
report said the encounter started at 1 a.m. when the Misuari gunmen approached
the city via the coastal village of Mariki.
The fighters exchanged
gunfire with Navy personnel and members of Task Force Zamboanga. At least one
suspected Misuari fighter was reported wounded in the shootout.
Residents in Mariki, Sta. Barbara and Rio Hondo villages were evacuated
because of the clashes.
Following the encounter, security was
tightened in the city, with military and police personnel establishing security
The city government is to convene its crisis management
council Monday morning.
It is on this firm moral foundation that the MILF, without reservation, pushed for, agreed and cooperated in the creation of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The BCF will serve as the coordinating mechanism for the MNLF and MILF to discuss major issues and concerns and make decisions that will be implemented through their respective organizational channels. But this effort is not getting any headway, because there is no enough push from the parties to make it move. The MILF, however, has consistently attended its sessions, first in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18 to 20, 2010; second in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 2011; and third in Djibouti, Africa on November 15 to 17, 2012. For doing so, we simply want it to get going.
Corollary to this is the attempt to “converge” the peace processes of the MNLF and government and the MILF and government. While the idea may be noble, the process is simply not practical. One cannot put a square peg into a round hole. The GRP-MNLF Final Agreement of September 2, 1996 is largely a consummated act. Only the Second Phase, which is economic, is not fully implemented. The First Phase (Political Phase) has already been fully implemented. Both Indonesia, chair of OIC Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP), and former ARMM Governor Parouk Hussin, at one time or another, attested that the Political Phase of the agreement had been fully implemented.
The consummation was further bolstered when MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari accepted the governorship of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 1996, a post which he tried to reoccupy by running for it in elections three times and lost. On the other hand, the GPH-MILF peace process is still much a work in progress. A clear comparison, therefore, can only happen if the MILF and government finally sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which will contain the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the four annexes on Transitional Arrangement and Modalities, Wealth-sharing, Power-sharing, and Normalization.
In other words, what can be compared in the future will be the GRP-MNLF FPA and the GPH-MILF CPA, which is not yet born. For now, what can be compared are the GRP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement of 1976 and the GPH-MILF FAB. Both are frameworks and the fleshing have to come later. For the former, the fleshing out is contained in the GRP-MNLF FPA.
In fairness, the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 is a good document except on two counts: Its implementation subscribes, without qualification, to the constitutional processes of the Philippines and much of the details are to be discussed later, which, as said above, appeared in text of the GPH-MNLF FPA. Here again, it contains several flaws that deny solution or closure to the Bangsamoro Question. Two of which are: (1) the MNLF and Misuari agreed to foreclose the right to self-determination (RSD) of the Bangsamoro people and (2) the MNLF and Misuari also agreed that in case a conflict arises in the interpretation of the agreement, government laws will be followed.
It is on this context that we invite the OIC and all those proponents of convergence to do due diligence and reflect on these naked realities pointed above. For the MILF, what can be done and should be done is complementation of the two peace processes. Since the very beginning, the position of the MILF has been very clear and consistent: Let the GRP-MNLF FPA be fully implemented by the parties and what the MILF is only negotiating for those that are lacking in the GRP-MNLF FPA. Moreover, the MILF is inclusive in its approach especially in terms of the fruits of the endeavor. We didn’t and don’t have the slightest intention of depriving our brothers from the MNLF of their rights to partake of the cake when it is ready for eating. But in the meantime, we urge them to help us or at least not stand on the way in this hard undertaking.
Lastly, let it also be stated here that the MILF does not attach franchise right to solving the Bangsamoro Question. Whoever has the right formula, we firmly subscribe to it. Individuals or leaders can only be good up to a certain period; after that, he has to go – if possible, for good. Man cannot dictate how history makes account of him. As always, history judges him later, mostly when he is gone. Many a man, including bright ones, like former strongman Ferdinand Marcos, wanted a place in the history of great men and heroes, but he ended his life hated and refused even by the soil of his motherland.