Nur to followers: Prepare for things to come

By Edith Regalado, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 29 2014 08:34 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2014 04:34 PM

DAVAO CITY — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari has instructed his followers to “solidify, prepare and be very vigilant” for things to come, particularly after its rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forged an agreement with the government on the proposed Bangsamoro region.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said Misuari instructed their members to consolidate and make preparations ahead of their petition before the United Nations seeking the decolonization of Mindanao.

Cerveza said the MNLF would question the expected comprehensive agreement between the government and the MILF through peaceful and political means by bringing the issue before the UN for the decolonization, not just of Mindanao but other areas including Palawan and the Spratly Islands.

“Our lawyers are now working on the necessary documents. We are submitting them to the UN soon,” Cerveza said.

He said the MNLF maintains its ground against any “convergence” effort on the part of government with the MILF.

The instructions were reportedly relayed to the MNLF leaders as Misuari is still in hiding evading arrest on charges of leading his men in the siege of Zamboanga City in September last year.

The MNLF is also banking on the three petitions asking the Supreme Court to declare the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF as illegal and unconstitutional.

“There is chance that the Supreme Court would declare the (Framework Agreement) illegal and unconstitutional just like what it did to the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain),” added MNLF Islamic Council Command chairman Habib Hashim.

Cerveza said Misuari also ordered his forces to be “very vigilant,” citing the military offensives against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Central Mindanao.

The BIFF was formed by disgraced MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato who opposed the peace negotiations with the government.

“He (Misuari) told us to be very vigilant because even our camps in Central Mindanao were also attacked even if these are not of the MILF,” Cerveza said.

The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996, paving the way for the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where Misuari served as its first governor.

Once the Bangsamoro Basic Law with the MILF is enacted, the new entity will replace the ARMM following a plebiscite.

Misuari has opposed the talks with the MILF, believing this would sideline the 1996 peace agreement of the MNLF with the Philippine government.