Thursday, December 27, 2012

Maguindanao town holds huge advocacy on Framework Agreement


From the Website of MILF

Maguindanao town holds huge advocacy on Framework Agreement

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By: Abu Saifulhaqq

December 26, 2012 News:Nearly 15,000 people, mostly Moros, from the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Bukidnon attended what organizers called “Centralized Advocacy on Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” at Pagulangan, Maguindanao last December 24, 2012.

Pagalungan where MILF Camp Rajahmuda is situated, was the native place of Bangsamoro revolutionary leaders like Datu Udtog Matalam who founded the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM), the late Salipada Pendatun, one of the founding members of the Bangsamoro Liberation Organization (BMLO), and Salamat Hashim, the late MILF Chairman. It was the provincial capital of the former Cotabato Empire province from 1967 - 1973.

Hon. Mayor Datu Norodin Matalam together with his council, in coordination with BIAF and MILF political committee in the area, spearheaded the information activity.

Eastern Mindanao Front Commander Jack Abas explained the rationale of the program: “This advocacy aims to provide correct reading, proper understanding and providing clear direction to the 40 year-old MILF led Bangsamoro struggle. No other than the FAB crafter is invited to provide clear and firsthand information.”

“I am repeating to you, BIAF members, the follow-up order from our Chief-of-Staff Sammy Al-Mansour to refrain from public displaying of your guns and fatigue uniforms because it is disrespect to the organization”, he ended.

International Monitoring Team (IMT) Deputy Head of Mission Gen. Dato Mohd Zulkafli thanked the participants whom he observed remained very happy and optimistic since the signing of the FAB.

He reiterated that IMT’s mission since its inception in 2004 is for people to live peacefully without conflict. “2012 is the most significant year for the Bangsamoro people because FAB is signed. Now BM people could live in prosperity and live in a peaceful life”, he explained.

“With the FAB signed IMT will stay until 2016. Be patient, follow the instructions from the Central Committee because you’re almost there… have faith in them… that is what the Central Committee wants now… Don’t waste the situation… Don’t take matters to your hand”, the General appealed.

Von Al Haqq MILF CCCH Chairman and BIAF spokesperson said, “FAB signing doesn’t mean that MILF CCCH work would cease to exist. Nay, ceasefire mechanisms would still be strengthened because in this situation the whole world is looking at MILF especially international communities, so that they would be able to witness that MILF particularly BIAF is very strict in adhering to policies. Ceasefire is a policy... Ceasefire is still holding and very effective in the ground”, he pointed out.

Welcomed by chanting of Allahu Akbar (God is great), MILF Central Committee on Information and Chairman of its negotiating panel since 2003, Mohagher Iqbal, explained the Bangsamoro gains in this signed FAB.

“My part is a very difficult task because I need to balance transparency and confidentiality in order to be understood properly”, Iqbal told the crowd.

“Since MILF started negotiating with the Philippine government in 1997, both parties already signed more than 90 documents, and marred by bloody wars the biggest of them were on 2000, 2003 and 2008. Negotiation is useful because GPH and MILF are in common belief that no parties can win the war in the battlefield. In this case, negotiation becomes the practical way and win-win approach in solving the problem”, he explained.”

Among the gains in the FAB, Iqbal highlighted, are acceptance of Bangsamoro identity, political empowerment of the Bangsamoro people, economic empowerment, as well as social and cultural empowerment.

“To assure that we are in the right track and the negotiation ends successfully, we have instituted safeguards: both panel will still exist to the last item of the talks; meaning, they would not be abolished; no unilateral implementation of the agreement; there would be third party monitoring; there shall be an organized joint normalization commission,” Iqbal explained.

He told the people that he believed President Benigno Aquino III is sincere in resolving the peace in Mindanao.

Sultan Kudarat Mayor Hon. Datu Ahmed Tucao Mastura said, “This activity symbolizes that peace is taking legitimacy in Mindanao”.

He then appealed to others who are not authorized to speak FAB in the public to stop doing it because they would mislead people.

“I challenge you Bangsamoro especially the datus (traditional leaders) living in the core territories to help the government and the MILF in campaigning for  FAB’ acceptance in the areas of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, portion of Bukidnon as far as Palawan so that they would be able to know that FAB is for all”, he ended.

Former Maguindanao Congressman Datu Jimmy Matalam, urged Bangsamoro to support FAB because it was a product of hard negotiation and it is good agreement.

“I studied it very well and I found it to be good for our people,” he told the audience.

Ustadz Rahib Pantog, MILF Shariah head of its Ligawasan province, gave the closing prayer.

MILF Website