By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) | Updated August 15, 2013
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari has “established” a federated state and named him as the president following the declaration of independence early this week in Sulu province, an MNLF official said.
In a statement, Murshi Ibrahim, Misuari’s chief of staff, said Misuari declared the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik in Daira, Barangay Lampaya, Autonomous Federated State of Lupah Sug, according to Habib Mujahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF Islamic Command Council (ICC).
He said Ibrahim stated that Misuari has also declared himself as the commander-in-chief of the Bangsamoro Armed Forces (BAF) of what the erstwhile leader called as the 193rd member nation of the UN.
“For all peace and freedom loving people of the world and oppressed Bangsamoro, salam. For the sake of peace and egalitarian democracy, H.E Prof. Nur Misuari of the Bangsamoro Republik and commander-in-chief of the BAF, has declared the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik in Daira Lampaya, Talipao Autonomous Federated State of Lupah Sug,” Hashim quoted the statement of Ibrahim.
Ibrahim said the declaration of Misuari was made under the authority of the United Nation General Assembly 1514 resolution of 1960 granting independence to all colonized countries.
Ibrahim added that MNLF group under Misuari will pursue its independence through peaceful and legal means.
Misuari’s faction has expressed opposition to the proposed Bangsamoro entity under the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Misuari has also complained about the reported plan of the Philippine government to put a closure to the tripartite review that will implement in full the 1996 final peace agreement signed during the Ramos administration.
Misuari faction believes that the government talks with the MILF would sideline the MNLF, despite being the sole recognized representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“Now, we are a sovereign nation under a colonial occupation of President Pnoy’s (Benigno Aquino III) regime,” Ibrahim stated, according to Hashim.
Hashim said it was unclear whether the declaration also meant a call for hostilities.
However, he said they have received unconfirmed reports of movements in several key areas in Mindanao in support of Misuari. He declined to identify the areas to prevent panic among civilians.
Hashim said for that for his group’s part, they remain neutral between the government and Misuari.
“However, if the MNLF-GPH final peace agreement is already abrogated, the MNLF is left with no option but independence,” Hashim said.
According to Hashim he was also unaware about the move of former Cotabato mayor Muslimin Sema, who chairs the MNLF Executive Council (EC), to oust Misuari as their leader a few years ago.
Misuari declares independence of Mindanao, southern Philippines
Is also considering establishing a government in exile
- By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
- Published: 14:57 August 16, 2013
Manila: The founder of a former Filipino-Muslim rebel group that forged a pro-autonomy peace settlement with the Philippine government during peace talks from 1992 to 1996 has resumed a secessionist movement and declared himself leader of Mindanao, turf of eight million Filipino-Muslims in the southern Philippines, sources said.
Nur Misuari, founder of the oldest faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) declared the independence of the Bangsamoro Republik in Daira, Lampaya village, Talipao, Sulu province on August 12, Murshi Ebrahim, his ally, said in a statement.
Misuari declared himself president of the Bangsamoro Republik, a federated state that includes the whole of Mindanao, Palawan in the southwestern Philippines, said Ebrahim.
The Bangsamoro Republik also includes Sabah and Sarawak (in Malaysia’s Borneo), confirmed Emmanuel Fontanila, Misuari’s counsel.
The Bangsamoro Republik has a federal system of government which provides equal power of Muslims, Christians, and highlanders in government, said Fontanilla.
The Bangsamoro Republik’s Constitution was submitted to the United Nations in New York on August 13, Fontanilla said, adding that Misuari is banking support from the UN, because of its general assembly’s resolution 1514 (passed in 1960) which provides the granting of independence to colonised countries.
Misuari is also thinking of establishing a government in exile while the issue of Mindanao independence is being resolved, Fontanilla said, adding that Misuari has already left the Philippines to lobby support for the Bangsamoro Republik, from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Misuari’s declaration of independence occurred following reports that the Philippine government is planning to cancel a meeting of the OIC, the MNLF, and the Philippine government to review the implementation of the peace accord signed by the Philippine government and the MNLF in 1996.
The OIC brokered the holding of the Philippine government-MNLF peace talks.
Misuari was also disappointed that the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) did not consult with him when they signed last year a framework agreement about enhanced self governance of Filipino-Muslims in their expanded autonomous region in the south.
The OIC recognises the MNLF as the sole representative of Filipino-Muslims in the south.
In early 2000, MNLF split into three factions. The other MNLF leaders are Habib Muhahab Hashim, chairman of the Islamic Command Council (ICC); and former Cotabato City mayor Muslimen Sema, chair of the MNLF Executive Council (EC), that ousted Misuari in 2000.
Misuari established the MNLF in Malaysia in 1968.
Nur says gov’t actions pushing MNLF to declare independence
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front warned that the group may opt to declare an independent republic if Malacañang pushes through with the closure of the GRP-MNLF 1996 final peace accord to accommodate the Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Misuari told newsmen in a press briefing Thursday at his residence in this city tightly secured by his unarmed forces, disclosed that Malacañang has sent letters to the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) seeking the closure of all agreements with MNLF.
Misuari said the OIC Secretary-General has furnished his office with the copy of the explanatory note submitted by Malacañang dated March 21, 2013, requesting the OIC to put a closure to the tripartite review process on the final implementation of the 1996 peace accord.
“The Philippine Government is proposing the closure of our peace process and with the closure of the peace process that means the Philippine government will do away with the series of peace treaty agreements and on peace accord that we signed over a number of decades in our collective efforts with the participation of the OIC 57 member-states. Now they want this set aside,” Misuari said.
Misuari warned that pursuing the closure of the MNLF peace accord will give them the option to declare independence of the Bangsamoro homeland.
“That situation will become inevitable once they push through with the closure of this (peace accord),” Misuari said. “Kasi wala na kaming pag-asa after 37 years of peace talks pagkatapos they slam the doors on us… Anong mangyayari diyan? We have to look for the option and the only option is to go to the United Nations.”
Parts of the explanatory note on Malacañang’s that the OIC has to acknowledge that Misuari is “no longer the sole representative of the Bangsamoro,” and that it has to deal with the situation by tapping a more pluralistic representation. The request also cited that the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) signed with the MILF on Oct. 15 last year provides an opportunity to bring lasting peace and development in Mindanao.
Misuari reiterated that the agreement with the MILF is a gross violation to the accord which the Philippines signed with the MNL.
The MNLF chairman also hit President Aquino for turning his back on the promise of his mother – the late President Corazon Aquino – to provide an MNLF-led homeland to Moros.
“His agreement with the MILF is a total betrayal of his mother’s promise to us after we help her catapult into the presidency. He (Pnoy) was a witness to that as a young boy when we held a series of meetings with his mother and Butch Aquino,” Misuari added.
The MNLF founding chair also said the MILF agreement brought divisiveness and made the situation in Mindanao to become volatile.
“I think this is one reason this region is now becoming so volatile,” Misuari said, disclosing that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has reportedly dismantled five camps in the Zamboanga Sibugay region and redeployed them to Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas and even in this city.
The movement came with the reported massing of followers of Misuari following reports that he will be declaring independence Thursday which he vehemently denied.
During the conference at Misuari’s residence, it was observed the police and military forces have increased their presence, setting up checkpoints leading to the latter’s house in Barangay San Roque.
Misuari announced to the newsmen that he had sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, seeking the deployment of peace keeping forces to monitor the alleges excessive presence of military forces in the region, which Misuari said has caused panic and disruption of communities.
The military on the other hand denied any new redeployment of troops in the region. - Roel Pareño
The government’s failure to implement its peace agreement with the MNLF has given Misuari and his men an excuse to again rise up in arms, announcing their intention to establish a “Bangsamoro Republik.” Fresh from its battle with Estrada’s forces, will the politically hobbled Arroyo administration take Misuari on?
By PATRICIO P. DIAZ
Events have been flying fast. Early this week, the Estrada-inspired attack on Malacañang. Before the weekend, the Moro National Liberation Front national congress in Cabatangan, Zamboanga City, announced it would establish the “Bangsamoro Republik” with chairman Nur Misuari as president.
In passing a resolution to establish the Bangsamoro Republik, the 2,000 MNLF delegates reverted to their original demand for independence. In effect, the MNLF unilaterally abrogated its agreement with the Philippine government in 1996 for the establishment of Muslim Autonomy according to the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.
The Bangsamoro Republik has not been proclaimed. The resolution to establish it will still be submitted to the United Nations, according to the MNLF spokesman and senior adviser Rev. Absalom G. Cerveza, invoking its right to self-determination — a right guaranteed under the UN Charter.
The resolution to abandon autonomy was a surprise. While the implementation of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Agreement, especially the enactment of the law amending Republic Act 6734 (the law that created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), had not been smooth-sailing, the review of the agreement had been set as reported last May 2, apparently the first day of the Bangsamoro National Congress.
Cerveza said that the Congress was called to discuss a new timeframe for the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and to adopt a position in the forthcoming meeting of the government, the MNLF and the Organization of Islamic Conference to review the Final Peace Agreement.
From the socio-economic viewpoint, the government, with the assistance of international agencies, has been implementing programs for the benefit of MNLF members and their families. MNLF beneficiaries, as reported in media, have been appreciative of the programs.
However, reviewing events since September 2, 1996, when the Final Peace Agreement was signed, the MNLF reversion from autonomy to independence is not a surprise. Every time Misuari felt discontented with the implementation of the peace agreement, he would threaten to declare independence.
Who To Blame?
That the Final Peace Agreement has not been fully implemented, three years beyond the agreed time-frame ending in October 1998, can easily be blamed on the Philippine government, particularly Congress. The amendatory law, essential to full implementation, could have been enacted and submitted to a plebiscite in 1998 then the election in the new Muslim Autonomy held early in 1999.
But Congress had reasons of its own in not enacting the amendatory law. Unfortunately, the MNLF saw in the failure government insincerity and, eventually, the implementation was overtaken and complicated by the chaotic Mindanao policy, if any, by the Estrada administration.
Yet, it could be doubted that the timely enactment of the amendatory law could have satisfied the MNLF. Within two years of the signing of the agreement, Misuari wanted the plebiscite deferred and the transition phase of the Muslim Autonomy extended to 10 years. He repeatedly demanded this with the support of the OIC.
Evidently, while the MNLF conveniently blamed the government for the delay in the implementation of the agreement, it really did not want an early implementation not until it could show enough development to convince all the 14 provinces and their component cities to join the expanded Muslim Autonomy.
We believe Cerveza’s expression of surprise at the decision of the 2,000 delegates virtually abrogating the Final Peace Agreement. However, Cerveza could just be hiding a rift in the MNLF leadership. There was a report that Misuari had confirmed he had been “retired” by a faction of the MNLF. If true, then Misuari was not in control of the Bangsamoro National Congress.
The resolution to establish the Bangsamoro Republik confirmed the existence of the MNLF faction that had opposed the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. The same faction must have been discontented with how Misuari distributed the benefits from the government and the foreign benefactors.
The failure of the government to fully implement fully the agreement on schedule has become a unifying factor of the MNLF as well as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Misuari has invited the MILF to join the MNLF bid for independence through the UN.
Misuari’s invitation to the MILF to join its independence bid is an assertion of the MNLF leadership “as the sole and legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro people to the OIC.” Will the MILF abandon its negotiation with the government and its chance of wresting that leadership from the MNLF?
Certainly, the MNLF surprise move has put the government on the defensive. The MNLF as well as the OIC will use the resolution as leverage in the forthcoming tripartite meeting to review the Final Peace Agreement.
Should the MILF accept the MNLF invitation and abandon its negotiation with the government, the Bangsamoro bid for independence will be a big headache for the Macapagal-Arroyo government.
But that bid through the United Nations, with the support of the OIC countries, will not be a walkover. Besides the government opposing the move, the 70 percent Christians in the 14 provinces and component cities will surely reject it.
In a sense, the MNLF bid for independence is a miscalculated move. The Christians and other non-MNLF who are inclined toward Muslim Autonomy will be turned off. The move will solidify the Christians and other non-MNLF population.
What is to be feared and prevented is the eruption of Muslim-Christian armed confrontation. Independence is a very sensitive Muslim-Christian issue. The memories of the 1969-1971 confrontations are too frightening to recall. The MNLF has again bared its teeth. Does it really mean to bite this time?