From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 29): ‘Let us end the war in Mindanao together’ – MNLF
A Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) group chaired by former ambassador Datu Abul Khayr Alonto yesterday reiterated its solidarity with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as it called for sobriety over what it called “regrettable incident” on Sunday in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
“Let us end the war in Mindanao together, let us accept that we are two distinct people with two different histories but of the same Malay race, under the same Philippine flag and facing the same destiny,” Alonto said.
In a related development, a Moro civil society organization (CSO) added its voice against another all-out war which ousted former President, now Manila, Mayor Joseph Estrada is suggesting against the MILF.
“It is sad to think that because of the Mamasapano ‘misencounter,’ it could result in scuttling the peace process between the government and the MILF,” said One Bangsamoro Movement (1Bangsa).
The Moro CSO vehemently opposed Estrada’s call for new all-out war, saying the one he launched in 2000 resulted in thousands of people being killed and the destruction of the livelihood of the Moro people.
Estrada’s all-out war showed that war is not the solution to the Mindanao conflict, the group said, as it expressed its condolences with the PNP-SAF men’s families.
Alonto called for an immediate investigation on the incident that killed 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), five MILF combatants, and one civilian.
“The real enemy is the selfishness and insatiable greed of men, not the MILF who simply defended their community, and much less, the PNP-SAF men who merely followed order from a ‘superior,’” he said in a statement sent to the Manila Bulletin.
Alonto cited the mechanisms already established by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF in the course of their 17-year negotiations, such as the joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), the Local Monitoring Teams (LMTs), and the International Monitoring Team (IMT).
“Regardless of the veracity of the report on the presence of those two alleged JI (Jemaah Islamiyyah) terrorists in that area, the cardinal rule was violated, there was no proper coordination,” he said.
Alonto lamented the fact that some sectors, which he did not identify, who “see peace in Mindanao as the end of their lucrative business, are insidiously portraying the incident as a massacre.”
The MNLF leader said he did not believe it was a massacre as reported by his men on the ground.
He urged the Bangsamoro people and their fellow Filipinos to not to surrender to the age-old biases and prejudices from the country’s colonial past.
He also called for the completion of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) legislation.