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New MNLF leader supports Bangsamoro pact between gov’t, MILF

Posted On 2014 Mar 26
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Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – With Nur Misuari supposedly out, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) –  now under a new leader – has thrown its support behind the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity, seen as a significant step in bringing peace to war-torn Mindanao.

New MNLF chief Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto replaces Nur Misuari, who has been in hiding since the government tagged him as the mastermind in the September 2013 siege of Zamboanga City.  Abul Khayr Alonto, the new MNLF chairman, on Monday publicly expressed his group’s support to the peace initiatives between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), days before the two parties sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Alonto said they will campaign for the approval of the Bangsamoro basic law during the plebiscite.

“We are supporting the creation Bangsamoro political entity,” Alonto said in a news forum in Manila. “We are supporting this initiative by having the approval of the Basic Law. It  will be the people who will decide at the end of the day through a plebiscite.”

Alonto said he is now the new head of MNLF after the ouster of Misuari on February 10. He claimed to have the support of 35 of the 39 surviving members of the original MNLF Central Committee. He also said he has the support of most MNLF members, although he refused to say the exact number of their forces.

“All elements in Mindanao right now are in solidarity for the success of this peace process. Kaya nga natanggal si Nur Misuari ay dahil hindi siya sang-ayon sa peace process na ito,” Alonto said.

Misuari, a former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has been in hiding after the government accused him of masterminding the MNLF attack on Zamboanga City last year.

“He responded with [the] siege of Zamboanga City, we cannot tolerate this and our people cannot forgive him for this,” Alonto said of Misuari, as he called on all their brothers in Mindanao—“including the faction of Misuari and all factions within that faction”—to return to their fold.

“The Central Committee leadership is calling you to report to your mother unit. Tayo ay magkaisa, tulungan natin ang MILF na ang gyera ay matapos na. Ito ay ating responsibilidad sa ating mga anak,” he said.

Alonto also said he believes the establishment of  a  Bangsamoro entity would be a key to the future of Mindanao, which has suffered from years of armed conflict between government troops and Moro rebels.

“Kung walang gyera ay walang corruption. The greater budget will go to education, healthcare and shelter,” Alonto said, adding they should seize the opportunity brought by President Benigno Aquino III’s determination to have peace in Mindanao.

Cha-cha OK

Alonto also supports Charter amendments if it is needed for the peace in Mindanao. “If it requires to go beyond the parameters of Constitution to put an end to the war in Mindanao, tumulong tayo  at kausapin ang Kongreso na gawin ito,” he said.

The CAB is set to be signed in three days, according to a press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.   (MNS)

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