From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 18): MNLF leaders hail Pope’s message of peace
More leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have hailed the message of peace of Pope Francis, one of them saying the papal message also reminds of Islam.
Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, who chairs an MNLF group composed of “the founding fathers and vanguards of the Bangsamoro Revolution, issued this statement as he expressed gratitude to the Vatican leader on behalf of Muslim Filipinos for his statements seen as supportive of the peace process in Mindanao.
He also took note of the Pope’s ever-present message of peace inclusive of all of humanity.
“The Pontiff clearly reminded us all of the great message of Islam that is shared by all Abrahamic religions, that the highest form of all ideas and ideals that a man can aspire for is to be at Peace with himself, his fellow humankind, his environment and, above all, to be at Peace with his Creator,” the former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria said.
Alonto cited the vital role of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three Abrahamic faiths, stressing that their unity and “working together can establish world peace and secure a safe and sane future for our children and progenies.”
The Moro leader lauded the Pope’s message on the search for peace in Mindanao, which he enunciated while on a visit to Malacañang on Friday.
While at the Palace, the head of the estimated over 1.3-billion Catholic Church voiced his “trust that the progress made in bringing peace to the South of the country will result in just solution in accord with the nation’s founding principles and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.”
Alonto noted that as he was preparing in Rome, Italy, to leave for his visit to Sri Lanka (before proceeding to the Philippines on January 15), the Pope also made a statement on the Mindanao peace accord between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“I also note with pleasure that last March an agreement was signed to end long years of tension in the Philippines,” the pontiff said.
The senior MNLF leader believes the twin statements of the Pope “can be easily construed as a support to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).”
Alonto then reiterated his earlier joint statement with MILF Chairman Al-Haji Murad Ebrahim that called on “the Filipino Nation to rally behind the President (Benigno S. Aquino, III) and the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
It could be recalled the government and MILF signed on March 27, 2014 their final peace agreement — CAB — out of which came the BBL, which was proposed to establish a new political entity dubbed Bangsamoro. The BBL is still being heard in both Senate and the House of Representatives.
However, the BBL’s passage into law is still a big question mark as the clock continues to tick on the roadmap for peace in Mindanao.