ZAMBOANGA CITY—Moro leader Nur Misuari on Thursday said the government’s offer to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of seats on the Transition Commission for the creation of Bangsamoro was an insult.
“It is an insult not just to me but also to the entire Bangsamoro, who believe in the MNLF and uphold the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and other agreements, especially the 1996 peace agreement,” Misuari said.
The Transition Commission will draft the basic law for the creation of Bangsamoro, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once headed by Misuari.
The commission will submit the draft basic law to Congress for legislation and then to a plebiscite for approval of the people of Mindanao.
Besides the MNLF, indigenous groups in Mindanao will also be given seats on the Transition Commission, according to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles.
On Wednesday, Misuari said the framework agreement for the creation of Bangsamoro violated the essence of the 1996 peace deal and the Tripoli Agreement.
He also said the agreement that would be signed on Monday would never solve the Mindanao problem but instead plunge the region into another war.
He said the MNLF was “still alive and kicking.”
On Thursday, he flatly rejected the government’s offer to the MNLF of participation in the formation of Bangsamoro.
For Misuari, the MNLF is the representative of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration for self-determination.
He did not say what the MNLF would do should the framework agreement proceed and work for the establishment of Bangsamoro begin.
No threats to deal
In Davao City, government peace panel member Senen Bacani told reporters on Thursday that the government did not consider the MNLF or the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) of Ameril Umra Kato threats to the peace agreement with the MILF.
“We always look at opportunities, at possible areas of convergence,” Bacani said, referring to Misuari’s threat.
Bacani also said the MNLF was never left out in the peace talks with the MILF, contrary to what Misuari was trying to picture.
“In fact, a major force of the MNLF was involved in the talks and its development since the very start,” he said, citing about 130 government-initiated consultations with various sectors, including representatives of the MNLF.
In the case of Kato’s group, Bacani said the government always considered the BIFF a “law enforcement” matter.
Bacani said the same treatment applies to the Abu Sayyaf, the al-Qaeda-linked bandit group responsible for kidnappings and killings of foreigners in the South.
Just the start
He said the framework agreement was just the start of a long process aimed at ending the war in Mindanao.
“Hopefully, by 2016, we can accomplish a substantial part of the agreement,” Bacani said.
Reports from Julie Alipala, Germelina Lacorte and Ayan Mellejor, Inquirer Mindanao