Mar 022013
 

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF) MESSAGE TO ALL PEACE LOVING PEOPLE FROM THE MILF LEADERSHIP

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF) Central Committee, Office of the Chairman

The MILF and its leadership hereby extend:

To all Peace-loving Peoples regardless of nationality, tribe, culture or religion.

Our Greetings of Peace and expressions of Sense of Justice:

It is matter of fact that there is an ongoing peace negotiation process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).  This peace negotiation is conducted with the Third Party mediation and tender of good offices of the Government of Malaysia;

The peace negotiation came in the wake of the need to reverse the “all-out-war” policy of the previous Estrada Administration.  It’s objective was to find a negotiated political settlement of the Mindanao Conflict and the problems of the Bangsamoro People;

The Framework for the resumption of the Formal Peace Talks between the parties was agreed to, including the security, rehabilitation and ancestral domain aspects.  Terms of Reference (TOR) in regards to the Cessation of Hostilities were meant to hold, while at the same time the peace process moves on;

For this purpose, both the MILF and the GRP Peace Panels have prepared for the next round of Peace Talks in Kuala Lumpur, which would be scheduled immediately following the end of the Eid-ul Adha (culmination of the pilgrimage season);

It is a matter of record that Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes has taken a negative attitude toward the peace process, despite the conformity of the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security on the TOR already signed by the Parties in the presence of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia;

To complement the TOR, the parties signed the Joint Communiqué of May 2002, to address the issue of the interdiction of criminal elements and kidnap-for-ransom groups.  It was ironically Secretary Eduardo Ermita of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process who initiated the signing of a Communiqué.  Its implementing mechanism was never set up owing to the non-cooperation of the Department of Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP);

The current military offensive against MILF community base in Camp Rajamuda, Pikit, North Cotabato, and in particular the Islamic Center/Mosque located in Sitio Buliok, Pagalungan, Maguindanao were justified on the pretext of serving warrants of arrest against lawless and criminal elements.  The excessive use of force and the massing of numerous troops that even brought untold misery to thousands of civilians betrayed the sinister plot to capture MILF Chair Salamat as a “high-value target”;

The pattern of offensive military actions under the Arroyo government has followed the same course as that of her predecessor, the Estrada government.  Defense Secretary Reyes, who was then the AFP Chief of Staff during the Estrada administration, has thrown a monkey wrench on the peace negotiation process;

Despite his lack of actual combat experience,  Reyes became the architect of the “all-out-war” policy against the MILF and the Bangsamoro people with a “heavy-handed military push”, in order to bolster his personal political ambitions.  Behaving like conquering armies, former President Estrada, Reyes, and his field commanders desecrated the mosque at Camp Bushra and Camp Abubakre.  They deliberately brought and feasted on roasted pigs (lechon) and liquor (beer), which are both abominable acts to celebrate and mark their colonial occupation of the MILF community bases;

It is evident that Reyes and his field commanders have repeated the same repressive acts without regard to the sufferings of the innocent civilians and non-combatants.  The assault on Camp Rajamuda and the Buliok Islamic Center/Mosque was done to coincide in time for the celebration of the Eid-ul Adha.  This barbaric and dastardly act was done in complete disregard of the order of their Commander-in-Chief to suspend military operations in  due deference to the religious sensibilities of the Muslims like the Bangsamoro people.  Or was it Reyes giving the actual orders with President Arroyo merely assenting after the fact?

The MILF and its leadership find the present Arroyo government no different from the previous Estrada administration in its anti-Muslim policy toward the Bangsamoro People.  Although this administration makes us believe that it is pursuing peace, it is more treacherous;  

This administration does not respect our human rights.  It does not respect the culture and religion of other people.  It does not fulfill its commitments.  It applies double standards; it is deceitful and manipulative, “back-channeling” as it actually strikes at the back.  It is hypocritical in declaring one hand a Muslim holiday of obligation, but in the same gesture harming innocent children, defenseless women and the aged population;

For all the foregoing inhuman conditions, the Bangsamoro people and the MILF leadership remain committed to seek a negotiated political settlement of the Mindanao Conflict and of the Bangsamoro problem.  Thus the MILF and its leadership serves notice to the whole world that the Bangsamoro People and its Homeland cannot long endure living in its present colonial status under the Philippine Republic;

In the name of the suffering Bangsamoro People, the MILF and its leadership invoke their rights protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Humanitarian International Law, and the pursuit of the rights to self- determination under the Charter of the United Nations.  The MILF and its leadership can only negotiate under an environment of trust, to be guaranteed through third party mediation, and good faith in the fulfillment of covenants/agreements that bind both civil and military authorities.

February 26, 2003, Bangsamoro Homeland
Very truly yours,
/sgd/ SALAMAT HASHIM Chairman

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