From the Gulf Today (Mar 25): MNLF leader supports Mindanao peace accord
The new head of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on Monday expressed full support for the peace treaty which he described as the key to the progress and development of strife-torn but resource-rich Mindanao.
“We are supporting the creation of a new Bangsamoro entity,” Datu HJ Abul Khayr Alonto told a media conference in Manila, referring to the entity that is to be created by the signing of the treaty.
“We are supporting this initiative,” Alonto added, “by working for approval of the basic law. It will be the people who will decide at the end of the day through a plebiscite.”
The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are to sign on March 27 at Malacanang Palace the comprehensive agreement aimed at bringing just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
Alonto explained: “If there is no war, there is no corruption. The budget (allocated for the new Bangsamoro entity) will go to education, health care and shelter.”
Alonto also disclosed he replaced Nur Misuari, the MNLF founding chairman, who was ousted by 35 of the 39 “pioneers” of the front’s central committee during their meeting on Feb.10.
He pointed out Misuari was ousted for abandoning the MNLF objectives particularly when he allegedly ordered the launching of the bloody and violent siege of Zamboanga City in Mindanao in September and make it part of his independence movement.
“We cannot tolerate this and our people can’t forgive him (Misuari) for this,” Alonto pointed out.
Misuari has disappeared since a regional court in Zamboanga City issued warrants for his arrest and about 38 of his leaders when the government filed charges of rebellion and violation of international humanitarian laws against them for the two-week siege.
The standoff killed more than 200 people and displaced from their homes 120,000 others, most of them still living in makeshift tents and shelters which exposed them to the elements and deadly diseases like tuberculosis, diarrhea and pneumonia.
Under the historic framework agreement signed by the government and the MILF in October 2012, the government was to set up a new Bangsamoro political entity to be carved out initially from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi as well as Marawi City.
In line with the agreement, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino also formed a 15-member Transition Commission, headed by the MILF, mandated mainly to craft a proposed law setting up the new Bangsamoro entity for submission to the Senate and the House of Representatives.