MILF, MNLF sign unified declaration; to push for passage of BTC draft BBL

Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Datu Muslimen Sema of the MNLF Council of 15 signed a historic document called Unified Declaration on October 13 at Camp Darapanan, also known as Camp Arifeen, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on October 13.

Mohammad Ameen of the MILF General Secretariat in his introductory statement said, “The event today aims at finding just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro homeland; moving forward in unison to regain our lost freedom and the Bangsamoro’s right-to-self-determination as distinct and independent people”. 

Ameen considers the event as a significant unification of the MILF and the MNLF for the freedom of the Bangsamoro people. 

MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghazali Jafaar in his welcome address said, “Today’s occasion is a very significant and timely event, the MNLF and the MILF have manifested and exhausted all the known civilized and democratic way of solving the Bangsamoro issue particularly through negotiated political settlements. However, until now the Bangsamoro issue remains unsolved”.

Jafaar narrated the story about the three bulls and one lion. The three bulls were once united and cannot be defeated, but when one of them was deceived by the lion, they ended up eaten by the lion.

Citing the anecdote as a lesson, Jafaar quoted the saying, United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. 

“With the realities confronting the Bangsamoro people, it is therefore incumbent upon all of us, leaders of the Bangsamoro to solidly unite just like we did in the past, if we do not want to meet the fate of the three bulls in the anecdote”, he further said. 

He called on his brothers in the two Moro fronts to solidly unite, stand as one and firmly demand for the establishment of the genuine self-governance in the Bangsamoro”

MNLF Vice Chairman Hatimil Hassan on the other hand recalled the history of the Bangsamoro people. “We were the first to resist foreign colonization from the Spaniards time to the American period. Our people had been resisting oppression, colonization that caused the martyrdom of so many people in defending our homeland and religion, Islam”.

“In our long history of struggle for separation, the Sultanate of Sulu and Maguindanao resisted the colonialists”, Said Hassan.

The message of MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim was so inspiring and motivating. He told the audience of more than 400 individuals, “Indeed, today is a historic day for the Bangsamoro people. This occasion reminds us and refreshes our minds to the days, more than Forty years ago when we stood together in the same ground with One Objective and One Aspiration”. 

“As oppressed nation, who have been awakened to organized ourselves in order to defend our people from the merciless massacres and killings, the endless tyranny, rampant land grabbing, deliberate social, political and economic marginalization, and other forms of injustices, you and I have experienced these too much. You and I have been both humiliated and degraded. You and I both lost our properties, you and I have both lost much of our lands, and the most painful of all is that you and I have both lost our parents, our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters and other members of our beloved families. It is painful because until now, it seems so fresh in our minds those tragic moments”, the MILF chair also said.

Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim mentioned the more than one hundred thousand lives mostly civilians, women, children and the aged that were already lost and the billions of properties damaged and destroyed during the Moro revolutionary war.

In ending his message, the MILF chair said, “It is bear repeating that our objective is the same and the reason for our unity has remained intact. Hence, today’s signing of the MNLF and MILF Unified Declaration, Alhamdulillah, manifest our commitment to remain united as brothers in Islam towards resolution of the Bangsamoro question, more importantly, our religion, Islam, is enjoining us to move as one”.

MNLF Council of 15 Chair Sema in his message said, “Today, we are here in these great hall erected right in the heart of truly MNLF enclave, Darapanan and we claim, once again as we did before, that we are Moros, in search of acceptance and peace with our fellowmen. With great joy, we have reached once again, a milestone in our struggle to agree on a common position and a common approach to the realization of the promises of peace”.

“What we are to achieve today is one of the building blocks of a permanent peace in our homeland. Certainly, there will be no peace, not even a semblance of it, if either the 2 peace tracts, the GPH-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Review on the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement or the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is left hanging in the balance”, Sema also said.

“Both peace tracts must come to fruition, the agreements achieved in both tracts must be implemented fully, wholly, and faithfully, with high regard to their solemn objectives, the establishment of truly autonomous Bangsamoro Government, and the Moro and Filipino peoples’ common aspiration for peace”, Sema continued.

After Sema’s message, the signing of the Unified Declaration followed. The Declaration contains, among others, the following:

“We demand for permanent and just political solution to the Bangsamoro Question and we strongly believe that the BTC proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) if enacted into law without diluting it shall implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement in letter and spirits”.

“We also strongly believe that the full implementation of the CAB is in line with the implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and in accordance with OIC resolution of 2014”.

The message that followed by MGen. Sheikh Moksin Bin Sheikh Hassan of the International Monitoring Team-Mission 10 was equally inspiring. He lauded the two Moro fronts for coming up with a unified agreement that makes the quest for peace and freedom in the Bangsamoro homeland even stronger.

Source: MILF, MNLF sign unified declaration; to push for passage of BTC draft BBL