By Yolanda Ortega Stern
26 January 2013
President Aquino, in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last week, stated that that he did not think the legendary Nur Misuari, founding Chair of the Moro National Liberation Force (MNLF) was a spent force.
The Inquirer wrote that Mr Aquino remains wary of those who would want to spoil the gains of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Inquirer also asked the Chief Executive if there might be people from the MNLF who might be agitated by a peace agreement between government and the MILF. Mr Aquino said:
“Yes, I am sure. It could be the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), or it could be some other group. They might be a new group.”My view:
His Excellency, President Benigno Aquino Jr., must of course be wary not only of Nur Musuari but also of every Filipino Moslem who at some point in their lives walked both sides of war and peace in search of 'self determination.'
He must also be wary of Filipino Lumads and Christians who comprise the majority of poor Filipinos without a visible promise of opportunity. We must also all remember, along with the President, that there have been many other Deals reached and signed before he came along, one in particular not yet implemented. And it was not because of 'spoilers'.
Spoilers are but a very small number of people who are aware of ongoing business and want theur voices heard. Ask the lonely fisherman in Sacol: What about the new deal, and he would have no clue. They just live and die by the bullet, the fire, or the poverty they all inherited decade after decade.
Yes, the Mindanao Factor will haunt this president if the pudding cooked by the bilateral chefs does not accomodate the entire country at the banquet. The best leaders are the ones who listen best and who engage the opponent with a strong respect for unvarnished dialogue. Practice truth and fear Nothing!
Yolanda Ortega Stern is the President at One World Institute, a US registered NGO for health, education, livelihood, disaster relief; Mr Stern has given her permission for the publication of her view on this blog.
INQUIRER REPORT: Aquino wary of Misuari, other peace deal spoilers
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2:29 am | Sunday, January 26th, 2014
President Benigno Aquino III said he did not consider Nur Misuari, the fugitive founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a “spent force,” as he remained wary of those who would want to spoil the gains of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).Pictures of President Benigno Aquino III and Nur Misuari. AP FILE PHOTOS
“Yes, I am sure. It could be the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), or it could be some other group. They might be a new group,” the President said when asked in an interview with the Inquirer on Wednesday if there could be people from the MNLF who might be agitated by a peace agreement between government and the MILF.
Government and MILF negotiators completed talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday on the normalization annex, the last document that would complete a peace agreement between the two parties aimed at ending four decades of fighting in central Mindanao.
Asked if he considered Misuari a spent force, the President said in Filipino: “I won’t say that. If you are a terrorist, even if there are only three of you, it’s enough. Even if you’re alone, it’s enough.”
Authorities are hunting Misuari for instigating his followers to take over Zamboanga City in September last year, claiming that the government abrogated the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF after it proposed to wind down the tripartite review of the organic law facilitated by Indonesia.
The government and the MNLF are reviewing some provisions of the organic law creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Mr. Aquino once described the ARMM as a “failed experiment.”
In the Zamboanga siege, Misuari loyalists took hostage more than 200 residents and left a part of the city in ruins.
It was the first urban warfare fought by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the worst security threat faced by Mr. Aquino’s three-year-old administration. As commander in chief, the President personally oversaw the military operations to expel the rebels from Zamboanga.
President Aquino said spoilers would certainly be “alienated” once the people started to feel the gains of a peace agreement.
“We start off with a vast majority who is no longer supportive of your (the spoilers’) clandestine activities … There would be no more safe havens. It would be difficult for the bandit groups. If electricity is disrupted, a bridge is blown up and the produce is not brought to the market … All of this, would they gain sympathy? Probably not, so the majority will tell the others, we are living quiet lives and you don’t want to help us? So the more they would be alienated. The more they would become a lost cause, a weak factor,” Mr. Aquino said.
The President said reports reaching him indicated that other MNLF factions were supportive of the peace initiatives of the government.
To read full report, link here.