BIFF still wants Islamic state despite peace pact

By Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Mar 28 2014 07:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 29 2014 04:17 AM

COTABATO CITY - The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Friday said it will continue to fight for an Islamic state despite the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Malacañang on Thursday.

BIFF spokesman Abu Missry Mama said they have nothing against the peace deal between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but they do not support it because what they want is absolute freedom and an Islamic state.

"Hindi kami sumasali diyan. Hindi rin kami nakikialam kasi magkaiba naman ang ipinaglalaban namin kasi Jihad itong sa amin. Gusto naming ng totoong Islamic state," Mama said.

He said whatever action they do has nothing to do with the GPH-MILF peace pact.

"Hindi kami sumasabotahe diyan. Yung mga pang-aatake namin sa mga kampo ng sundalo walang kinalaman diyan... Ang amin lang, gusto naming umalis na ang mga sundalo dito sa Mindanao," he said.

He said they are currently busy recruiting new members from all over Mindanao.

"Tahimik pa tayo ngayon kasi marami tayong ni-rerecruit. Actually dumadami pa ang BIFF, meron sa Western, Eastern, Northern at Southern Mindanao."

President Aquino has called on other armed groups to join the peace process the GPH and MILF are undertaking.

1996 Final Peace Agreement

Meanwhile, the Sema faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said they will continue to ask government to implement the 1976 Tripoli Agreement through the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

MNLF faction spokesman Romeo Sema said they appreciate MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim's recognition of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement during his speech in the CAB signing in Malacañang, but they will not let the 1976 Tripoli Agreement be forgotten.

"Nagpapasalamat naman kami sa sinabi ni brother Murad Ebrahim, pero itutuloy pa rin namin ang aming pakikibaka para sa implementasyon ng 1996 peace agreement," he said.

"Sinisingil lang namin ang obligasyon ng gobyerno sa amin na hindi rin ibinigay," he added.

Sema said they are not closing their door on the idea of linking the CAB and the 1996 peace agreement.

"Willing naman kami pero dapat may tamang mekanismo. Pero mahaba-habang proseso yan, mahihirapan kasi pagdating sa issue ng territory," he said.

He said a bigger territory for the Bangsamoro people was promised by the government under the Marcos administration as stated in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

"May ceasefire agreement tayo. We will pursue this in peaceful ways," he said.