“We should open our eyes to the two-pronged (double-bladed) approach to the peace negotiation. President Benigno Aquino III, who takes his cue from the US counterinsurgency and anti-terror program, is using the all-out offensives as an excuse to force the MILF to succumb not only to a compromised exit agreement, but to a watered-down version of the BBL.”
By DEE AYROSO
The revolutionary group, Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO) reaffirmed its resolve to continue waging armed struggle for the right to self-determination, warning that the Moro people becomes vulnerable, as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “leaves the revolutionary path.”
“MRLO believes that the only way to stop the attack on our Moro brethren is for the Moro people to return to the revolutionary way of addressing the conflict, through armed struggle,” said MRLO spokesperson Jihad Al Kursi, in an emailed statement.
The MRLO, an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), said the peace talks, which should have been “a venue to express the genuine demands and democratic interests of the Moro people on self-determination, had been reduced to a constitutional issue.”
Al Kursi said the MILF decommissioning means “the MILF has left the revolutionary path to attain self-determination against the national oppression being carried out primarily by the US-Aquino regime.”
“The MILF’s laying down of arms is also a symbol of its depriving the Moro people of defense against military attacks and plunder of ancestral lands and resoures,” Al Kursi said.
Al Kursi said it is haram, or “unacceptable” for Muslim leaders and revolutionaries “to watch their fellow brethren die,” and to turn their backs and allow the killings of their ummah, or Muslim community.
MRLO, marked its 10th year of founding on June 20. Al Kursi said MRLO leaders and members successfully celebrated the anniversary on June 16, on the same day of the symbolic decommissioning of the MILF’s armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force (BIAF).
The anniversary took place in an NDFP guerrilla zone in the hinterlands of Central Mindanao. It was held before the start of fasting for the month of Ramadan, to give respect to Muslims, said Al Kursi.
In July 1999, the NDFP and the MILF agreed to form an alliance to defend common territories in Mindanao. The MRLO statement did not mention any dissolution of the alliance.
Decommissioning vs. ‘All-out offensives’
Al Kursi stressed that even as the MILF disarms, there is no corresponding redeployment of government forces, which have not withdrawn from Moro communities. Government troops, the MRLO said, continue to conduct operations, and violate human rights under the “US War on Terror” policy.
The MRLO condemned the “all-out offensives” conducted in Central Mindanao early this year, which displaced more than 100,000 residents, wounded several civilians and destroyed houses, mosques and farmlands.
The “all-out offensives” followed the January 25 Mamasapano encounter, which killed 44 elite cops, 18 MILF rebels and several civilians, as police commandoes went after alleged terrorists wanted by the US government.
MRLO said the hunt for alleged terrorists Zulkifli Bin hir, alias “Marwan” and Abdulbasit Usman “shows the Aquino regime’s disregard for the peace talks, just to please its imperialist master.”
The controversial operation triggered congressional and senate investigation, and exposed President Aquino’s accountability, for allowing suspended Police Chief Alan Purisima to lead it, and for allowing the participation of US troops.
“Instead of addressing the controversy arising in the Mamasapano tragedy, President Aquino’s apologists and attack dogs launched an anti-terror tirade against the MILF bordering on anti-Moro hysteria,” Al Kursi said.
The statement added that some lawmakers branded the MILF as “coddlers of terrorists” to discredit its sincerity as party to the peace talks and in leading the future Bangsamoro government.
The MRLO statement said that the Moro peoples’ right to self-determination, which is supposed to be reflected in the Bangsamoro political body, has been overtaken by business interests of President Aquino’s allies, and issues of constitutionality.
“The formation of the new political body was cunningly subjected to the executive and legislative processes,” said Al Kursi. “After almost a year of deliberation, the provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which should reflect the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), have been taken out.
“We should open our eyes to the two-pronged (double-bladed) approach to the peace negotiation. President Benigno Aquino III, who takes his cue from the US counterinsurgency and anti-terror program, is using the all-out offensives as an excuse to force the MILF to succumb not only to a compromised exit agreement, but to a watered-down version of the BBL,” Al Kursi said.
Al Kursi said the new Bangsamoro government will just become a mere “facilitator” of the economic policies and development plans of the national government, having disregarded the right to self-determination and self-governance, and the protection of ancestral lands.
“The newly-drafted Bangsamoro Development Plan clearly shows how the MILF has claimed the development plan of the US-Aquino regime as its own, such as the opening up of Bangsamoro lands and resources to Aquino’s allied businessmen through the Public-Private Partnership. They are also already planning to put up plantations and mining by foreign investors in the Moro communities,” said Al Kursi.
The MRLO refuted government claims that the MILF-BIAF members would be able to return as ordinary citizens and have productive lives under the normalization process.
“As long as the policies of plunder and repression of the peoples’ human rights continue, there is no certainty of leading normal lives for citizens who fight for their legitimate rights and welfare,” said Al Kursi.
The MRLO called on the Moro people to “destroy the counterinsurgency program of the US-Aquino regime which aims to wipe out those who fight for their legitimate interests and welfare.”
Under the normalization annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the MILF will decommission its forces “so that they are put beyond use.”
The decommissioning will be implemented in four phases: the first part was the June 16 symbolic turnover of 75 arms by BIAF fighters, who were then given financial assistance. The second phase targets decommissioning of 30 percent of MILF forces, as the BBL is expected to be ratified; another 30 percent of MILF forces will be disarmed in the third phase, and the balance follows in the fourth phase.
The Independent Decomissioning Body (IDB) composed of foreign and local experts oversees the process.