MILF 'consistent' in supporting federalism, says Murad

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2019 08:59 AM

MANILA -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is "consistent" in its support federalism, which will strengthen the Bangsamoro autonomous region in the south, the group's leader said Thursday.

The chairman of the MILF, Murad Ebrahim, is also interim chief of the Bangsamoro, the expanded autonomous region that was established under a 2014 peace deal between Manila and the MILF.

"Consistent pa rin ang position namin, we are supportive of federalism kasi nakikta namin na once federalism is in place it would strengthen yung Bangsamoro. Dahil instead of autonomy then maaaring maging part of the federal arrangement," Murad told ANC's Early Edition.

(Our position is consistent, we are supportive of federalism because once federalism is in place, it would strengthen the Bangsamoro. Instead of autonomy, it can be part of the federal arrangement.)

President Rodrigo Duterte, the first chief executive from Mindanao, is pushing for federalism to spread political power and government resources that have long been held in the capital, Manila.

A charter-writing body drafted a federal constitution in 2018.

On Tuesday, Duterte met in Malacañang with Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF was not party to the 2014 peace accord. It forged a separate settlement with the Philippine government in 1996.

Murad said the MILF was "open" to discuss the Bangsamoro leadership with elections coming in 2022.