MILF hails Pres. Duterte’s stance to address ‘historical injustice’ against Moros

ZAMBOANGA CITY- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) lauded Monday President Rodrigo Duterte's "seriousness to correct historical injustices against the Moro people," following his speech to Arab businessmen during his week-long trip to the Middle East.

In a statement posted on its website, the MILF said the President "understood the political clamor of the Moro people for self-determination."

It is really good to hear this promise again and again from the president. It gives us more strength and energy to fast-track the GPH-MILF peace process and the drafting of a new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) compliant to the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), it said.

On Saturday, President Duterte, who was on the last leg of his state visit in three Middle Eastern countries, told potential Qatari investors in Doha that the Philippines is open for business as the government is exerting all efforts to address the country's problem on insurgencies.

President Duterte emphasized that his administration is working closely with the Moro fronts that have signed peace deals with the government.

There is a lot of Muslims in my Cabinet. We are trying to work out something now...We hope to succeed in our peace talks. We are ready to reconfigure the land. We are ready to concede what was lost from them," the President told the participants during the business forum.

In saying the government "is ready to concede what was lost from them," the President was apparently referring to the colonial years when the country was under the Spanish government and the American rule.

Currently, the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is working on a self-imposed deadline to come up with the draft BBL that will be submitted to the President on May 18, to give him time to review before submitting it to Congress in June for deliberation.

Congress was expected to pass the BBL, which will serve as the legal foundation for the creation of a new Bangsamoro government to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In his departure speech last week, President Duterte said he would certify the BBL as urgent.

He instructed the government peace panel to also incorporate the draft of the separate peace pact between the government and the Misuari-led Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The idea is to harmonize the two drafts to achieve an inclusive law.

In his speech in Qatar, President Duterte promised to fast-track the process, but at the same time also asked for patience as the entire process to achieve healing would take some time.

The MILF said they agree with the President that the healing process will take time.

This is the reason that in the CAB, there is a need to undertake a normalization process, which included especially transitional justice and reconciliation programs, which is about healing the past. Without this healing, resolving the Bangsamoro question would not be complete and lasting, the MILF said.

Again, we lauded the President for his effort. But our only wish (is) that this full-fledged investment should come after the resolution of the Bangsamoro question and the main target would be Moro areas, which are left behind as a result of the more than four decades of conflict in Mindanao, the MILF said.

Source: Philippines News Agency