Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 22): BIFF rejects invitation to Bangsamoro law congressional hearings
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - The outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Friday again rejected invitations to participate in congressional hearings on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“We cannot join in any peace process that falls short of our bid for an independent Moro state,” the group’s spokesman, Abu Misry Mama, announced over Catholic station dxMS in Cotabato City.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the 75-member House committee now working on the proposed law, earlier said they want the BIFF’s reclusive chieftain, Imam Ameril Ombra Kato and Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front to participate in the BBL deliberations.
The draft BBL, once enacted into law and ratified via a plebiscite, will pave the way for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new, more politically empowered Bangsamoro self-governing entity based on the March 27, 2014 final peace compact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Kato, now debilitated as a result of a hypertensive stroke in 2011, started as chief of the MILF’s 105th Base Command, but was booted out in 2010 due to insubordination and other offenses.
“We better keep on fighting the military in the field than engage in any hearing on that draft BBL. That is purely an initiative of the MILF and the government,” Mama said.
Kato, who studied Islamic theology in Saudia Arabia in the 1970s as a scholar of then President Ferdinand Marcos, had issued a communiqué reaffirming their group’s firm stand against the GPH-MILF peace initiative.
“We can only tell Congressman Rodriguez thanks for the invitation. None from the BIFF can join the hearings,” Mama said.
“We are happy because we continue with the struggle. Because we have produced good leaders and that we are now part of history, willing and committed to continue with the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro(government) gives (national) identity. It determines the future of all of us, not for MILF alone. We must unite and promote the BBL,” Sema said.
Sema, the Vice Chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, presided over the hearing for the pre-plenary approval of the proposed P24.299 billion budget of the ARMM for 2015.
On his part, House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Rep. Pangalian M. Balindong lauded the ARMM official for their readiness to relinquish their posts to provide a smooth transition to the new Bangsamoro entity.
The Bangsamoro once formed it will render the ARMM abolished.
Meanwhile, ARMM Regional Governor MujivHataman stressed out that the budget hearing may be the last one because the budget appropriation for the incoming new political entity is thru a Block grant, automatic appropriation.
House of Representative members Zajid Magudadatu, 2nd district of Maguidanao, Ruby Sahali, lone district of Tawi-Tawi, Ansaruddin Adiong, 2nd district of Lanao del Sur and Sitti DjaliaTurabin-Hataman, Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist were in attendance during the budget hearing.