ABS-CBN News

Year 2012 was a big challenge, says MILF

Posted at | Updated as of 12/27/12 4:42 AM

But 2013 more challenging

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines -- The year 2012 was a challenging period for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but the year ahead will even be more challenging, MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar said.

Jaafar told ABS-CBN News that the organization faced countless challenges during their struggle for a separate government for the Bangsamoro people.

He said some of these were the impasse in the talks between the MILF and the government peace panels, and the MILF's dialogue with the Bangsamoro leaders.

He added that Ameril Umbra Kato's formation of a breakaway group was also hard for the MILF leadership.

However, Jaafar believes the MILF was still able to surpass all the challenges.

He said the Bangsamoro people have started to slowly embrace the 10-decision points achieved by the MILF and the government in the framework agreement that was signed last October 15.

But 2013 will even be more challenging, Jaafar said, as peace negotiations on the details of the framework agreement are still underway.

He said the next challenge they would have to face is whether they would be able to meet the Bangsamoro people's expectations.

"Dito sa framework agreement, dapat maibigay ang gobyerno na para sa mga Bangsamoro. Inaasahan nila na magiging maunlad ang buhay nila at gusto namin na ma-satisfy 'yun dahil kung hindi, baka ma-frustrate sila at kantiyawan nila kami," Jaafar said.

MILF not to meddle in 2013 polls

Meanwhile, Jaafar stressed that the MILF will not meddle in the national and local elections next year, even if some MILF officials have relatives vying for government posts.

He said MILF political and military leaders will not be allowed to directly involve themselves in campaigning for a relative running for any government position.

Jaafar also asserted that he will not campaign for his son Butch Abo, who will be running for city councilor under the ticket of Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr.

The official also urged candidates to respect each other, and maintain a peaceful and orderly elections.

"Hinihiling namin na huwag naman sanang gamitin ang mga armas at huwag gumawa ng karahasan," Jaafar said.