7 June 2014 at 05:44
THE MNLF-GPH DISPUTE.
We, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), disputes the claim of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) that they have already completely and fully implemented the 1996 MNLF-GPH Final Peace Agreement (FPA). The major issue that MNLF will dispute is on Section 20(a) of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA that says:
“There shall be a special socioeconomic, cultural and educational program to cater to MNLF forces not absorbed into the AFP, PNP and the SRSF to prepare them and their families for productive endeavors, provide for educational, technical skills and livelihood training and give them priority for hiring in development projects.”
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT’S POSITION?
The GPH’s position is that they believe that they have already completed the implementation of the MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a) through the ordinary GPH projects in what they perceive as “MNLF communities”. These ordinary projects include giving direct dole-out Pantawid Pamilya cash allowances, direct dole-out Philhealth cards, direct dole-out housing assistance, and the regular infrastructure projects (say farm-to-market road and fish port) that the community members have free access.
WHAT IS MNLF’S ARGUMENT DISPUTING THE GPH POSITION?
MNLF believes that GPH giving direct dole-out Pantawid Pamilya cash allowances, dole-out Philhealth cards, dole-out housing assistance are not part of the MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a) because these projects are implemented for the general public to enjoy. These projects are nothing special for the MNLF. These are ordinary economic development projects that can be benefited by the general citizenry, whether MNLF or not.
Besides, there is no such thing as an “MNLF Community”; no such thing as “MNLF Village”; no such thing as “MNLF Barangay”; no such thing as “MNLF Town”; no such thing as “MNLF Municipality”; no such thing as “MNLF Province”; no such thing as “MNLF Region”; not even such a thing as “MNLF Camp”. The MNLFs are scattered all over Mindanao, Sulu (incl Sabah), Palawan and there are also MNLFs outside these named areas. We, MNLFs, cannot be residing in one location such as a community because we are scared we might be massacred by the GPH Military, one community all at once.
In order to for an economic development project to be counted as compliance to the MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a), it has to be “special” for MNLFs. For it to be special, we have to go back to the layman’s interpretation MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a) that specifies the following special benefits for the MNLF Forces and their families:
(1) provide educational skills training,
(2) provide technical skills training,
(3) provide livelihood training, and
(4) give priority hiring in development projects.
THE MNLF: SHORT PROFILE
GROUP NAME: Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) can also be referred to as Mindanao National Liberation Front (MNLF). Founded est 1969.
IDEOLOGY: Egalitarian, a principled belief in the equality of all people in the political, economic, social, and civil rights regardless of differences in political ideology, religion, race, ethnic origin, age, and gender.
LEADER: UN Peace Prize Awardee Prof. Dr. Nur Misuari.
SOCIAL MISSION: Peace and equitable development.
ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVE: Education and substantially gainful livelihood and employment for its members (over 100,000) and their families.
POLITICAL OBJECTIVE: Secession from Philippines.
AREA OF SUBSTANTIAL PRESENCE: Mindanao, Sulu (incl Sabah), Palawan.
ADVOCACY METHODOLOGY: Peaceful approach.
AFFILIATION: Observer member (since 1977) of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-member state cluster of the United Nations.
ARMED CONFLICT: All-out-war with Govt of the Philippines (GPH) in 1974-1976 (200,000 dead). Sporadic gun-battle with GPH from 1976-1996.
LEGAL STATUS: Signed Peace Accord with GPH in 1976, known as Tripoli Agreement. Signed Final Peace agreement with GPH in 1996, known as 1996 MNLF-GPH Final Peace Agreement.
NATIONAL SECURITY STATUS: No more armed conflict but still at propaganda war with GPH due to government’s non-delivery of obligation in the Agreements signed.
STRONG MEMBERS: Count 50,000 in 1996 minus 5,000 integrated in the PH Govt Police and PH Govt Armed Forces. Last count, stopped counting at point of 100,000 in 2013, could possibly be something between 120,000-150,000 strong.
WHAT MNLF WANTS?
In this Position Paper, the MNLF wants the Government of the Philippines (GPH) to shift its policy from stigmatic approach to integrative approach. Specifically, MNLF urges the GPH to implement the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a) by means of an MNLF SCHOOLING AND LIVELIHOOD ECONOMIC PROGRAM, or MNLF Economic Program for short.
HOW DOES THIS MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM OPERATIONALIZE?
First, MNLF and GPH must have at least a monthly Formal Talks. Each time there is a Formal Talk, the GPH must bring in official representatives of what I call Institutional Peace Partners (IPP), and present them to MNLF. Altogether, the MNLF, GPH, IPP and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) wherein these IPPs commit to accommodate, with preferential attention, any MNLF who hand-carries Recommendation Letter from MNLF Leader Nur Misuari. We shall call these MNLF recommendation letters to the IPPs as “MNLF Vouchers”.
Part of the implementation of the Sec 20(a) 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA means GPH must deliver its obligation to identify, communicate, and invite companies and institutions to sign-up as IPPs in the MNLF Economic Program.
WHAT SORT OF INSTITUTIONS ARE QUALIFIED TO BECOME IPP’s?
IPPs could be (a) civilian government agencies, (b) educational institutions, (c) large private business companies, (d) government contractor firms, and (e) foreign aid NGOs that are operating in places where most MNLF forces are located.
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM OPERATES
Providing educational skills training. For example, if Ateneo de Davao signs up as IPP. Misuari can issue an MNLF Voucher to an MNLF who wants to study Business Administration in Ateneo de Davao. The person will take the exam to qualify, and if he passes the exam he will be given full scholarship by virtue of this MNLF Voucher. After finishing his studies, he can go back to Misuari and get another MNLF Voucher so he can work in any IPP.
Providing technical skills training. Another example, if TESDA signs up as IPP. Misuari can issue an MNLF Voucher to an MNLF who wants to study any Salesmanship Training, and the person will take the exam to qualify, and if he passes the exam he will be given full scholarship. After finishing his training, he can go back to Misuari and get another MNLF Voucher so he can work in any IPP.
Provide livelihood training. Another example, let’s say another big typhoon came, major disaster in say Negros Island, disaster bigger than Yolanda. PNP and AFP, again, won’t move into the site quickly because they are “scared”. Foreign AID NGO come in, they want to help in the housing rebuild aspect, they need hands in the disaster area. Foreign NGO comes to attend emergency meeting of MNLF-GPH Formal talks, signs up an IPP MOA. Misuari will then call for an MNLF Summit to distribute MNLF Vouchers. The Voucher holders report to the Foreign AID NGO for deployment to the disaster site. With standard compensation budgetted by the AID, the MNLFs can do house construction work cum construction training as a form of livelihood training, and other work such as debris clearing work, cooking for the humanitarian workers, distributing relief goods, and transporting supplies.
Priority hiring in development projects. Another example, a Government Engineering and Construction company signs up as IPP. The company is awarded a government contract to build some length of road and bridge. MNLFs in the project site area can come to Misuari to get MNLF Voucher. The MNLF will present his/her voucher to the Contractor Firm and he/she will get preferential hiring in the construction of this development project.
Another example, if Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) signs up as IPP. Assuming we have an MNLF member who wants to put up his own small family-run Bakery Shop. He/she can go to Misuari, and Misuari can give him/her an MNLF Voucher to attend TESDA Training in Bakery Operation. After the seminar, he/she can go back to Misuari and ask for access to loan to start-up the business. Misuari can give him another MNLF Voucher to be presented to BPI so he can apply for loan and be given preferential approval. It will not be difficult for him to gain knowledge in bakery operation and realize his/her dream of starting up the bakery business that can provide livelihood for the family.
MNLF’s GUN CONTROL ADVOCACY
MNLF per se, as an organization, does not have an army and does not issue guns to its members. MNLF members acquire their own guns. There are a lot of MNLF members and sympathizers who have firearms, specially small arms and automatic rifles. Although we (MNLF) do advise them to have their guns licensed from the PNP, many MNLFs prefer to keep silent about their guns because they can feel the GPH’s stigma against the MNLF. Silent means not registering in the PNP — they don’t want to be in the PNP’s gun search list or gun confiscation list.
If PNP will sign up as IPP in the MNLF Economic Program, we will come up with an advocacy mechanism that will encourage (even more) our members to have their firearms licensed. We can even use the MNLF Voucher as a medium of exchange — heart-to-heart give and take at the individual level. It will be as simple as saying: “you register your gun as proof of commitment to peace, we help you get those guns licensed without any fee on your part, I’ll approve your application for MNLF Voucher”.
In line with gun control advocacy, the link to the MNLF-published Gun Control Policy counter-proposal is at
FRAUD PREVENTION FEATURE OF THE MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM
We, MNLFs, don’t want this proposed MNLF Economic Program to be used for personal political mileage purposes. Once this mechanism is implemented, we will have an internal policy in the MNLF wherein no one in the MNLF who is responsible in granting this MNLF Voucher shall be allowed to run in public office in GPH. This rule will include Nur Misuari (the main signatory), myself (the second signatory), the appeals council responsible in adjudicating all denied applications, and all staff and consultants in the MNLF Voucher office.
We, MNLFs, don’t want fraud in reporting. We don’t want this MNLF Voucher to end in the hands of non-MNLFs. We don’t want this MNLF Voucher to end up in the hands of peace saboteurs who will just implant terrorist beneficiaries that will destroy the reputation, good intention, and integrity of the MNLF Schooling and Livelihood Economic Program.
To prevent fraud, we (MNLF) will centralize the accountability of this MNLF Voucher Program. MNLF only has one leader, that is Nur Misuari, and he is the only one who can certify that an individual is a MNLF member. In order to avail of the MNLF Voucher, Misuari and myself have to be able to assure the public that the beneficiary is a believer and committed to the One MNLF Doctrine — specifically on the person’s commitment to peace. Any MNLF who benefits from this MNLF Voucher who gets himself into trouble (such as rebellion and armed conflict and whatever crimes) shall be expelled from the MNLF and will no longer qualify to benefit from this MNLF Voucher.
DOES THIS PROGRAM HAVE AN MNLF IN-HOUSE TRAINING COMPONENT?
Yes. In as much as we are serious to make this program succeed, our would be office will have a facility for the in-house training of the beneficiaries before we give them the MNLF Voucher. During this training, we will try our best to replace any apprehensions with positive mind-set about the program. A one-week stay-in training would cover lecture and sharing of thoughts on the following:
Day 1. General Principles of the One MNLF Doctrine.
Day 2. Understanding the MNLF Schooling and Livelihood Economic Program.
Day 3. Elements of a Good Student or Employee.
Day 4. Awareness to Disruptive Behaviors at Work.
Day 5. Gun Control Advocacy.
Day 6. Team Building Games.
Day 7. Graduation and socials.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THIS PROGRAM ON ANTI-TERROR CAMPAIGN?
Terrorists infiltrate almost any organization. There are terrorist elements who have successfully infiltrated the MNLF, MILF, NPA, and even in Government of the Philippines (GPH), religious institutions, and the academe. Terrorists infiltrate vital organizations to recruit new terrorists from within the organization, to instigate the vulnerable members (desperate spirits) of these organizations over religious and political disputes, and influence the decisions from within so that there will be act of terror, armed conflict, combat, and war.
The MNLF has always maintained an anti-terrorism position. MNLF Leader Nur Misuari said many times that our anti-terrorism stance is non-negotiable. This MNLF Voucher Program will provide a strong foundation of hope and faith in the goodness of society for our MNLF members that will prevent them from becoming vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. This Program is a strong and deep-penetrating psychological reinforcement to the anti-terror campaign.
ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTMENT
This MNLF Economic Program has a mechanism of attracting foreign investment. Since 1977, the MNLF is an observer member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). OIC is a United Nations sub-cluster that is composed of 57 States. MNLF Leader Nur Misuari is always invited during OIC conferences, summits, and meetings. This OIC gives the MNLF very high potential linkage to the leaders of the international community. Whenever there is an OIC event, we (MNLFs) would like to always attend and tell our colleagues in the OIC member-states to invest in Philippines by putting in money into the IPPs. In short, we will encourage them to buy stocks in the IPPs. So, you see, a synergy of give-and-take will take place between the MNLF and the IPP. Everyone helps forward to progress.
HOW MUCH IS THE FUND NEEDED FOR THIS MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM?
Funding this program will not be too much of a hassle because this is definitely not a program that intends to give out direct dole-outs to MNLFs. The only fund that is needed to start-up and sustain the Program is the linkage expense. It is only around 100 Million Pesos worth of administrative and logistics per year. This is the same fund that MNLF wants to get from 1/4th of the OPAPP Annual Budget to finance the MNLF’s participation in the MNLF-GPH peace process-related activities such as negotiations, consultations, formal talks, coordination, and dialogues where our respective think-tanks can freely share their ideas.
We will try our best to be austere in our spending so we can save money to finance the construction of our permanent Program headquarters and training facility. We will also try to get sponsors to augment our budget. With the given budget, this MNLF Economic Program will try its best to deliver the following targets each year:
1. MNLF attendance to 12 MNLF-GPH Formal Talks (signing of MOAs with IPPs);
2. MNLF attendance to 12 MNLF-GPH Joint Press Conference;
3. MNLF attendance to 12 MNLF-GPH Community-level Consultation with MNLF members in the grounds;
4. MNLF conduct of 12 Integration Seminars to be attended by a total of some 2,400 MNLF participants (estimated at 100 participants per week-long Seminar, two batches per month);
5. MNLF attendance to four (4) MNLF Peace Summits cum distribution of MNLF Economic Vouchers to pre-approved applicants;
6. MNLF attendance to two (2) conferences of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC);
7. MNLF attendance to one (1) conference of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation (PUIC);
8. Production of 400,000 pcs of MNLF Economic Program Brochures (communication and advocacy information and instruction printed material);
9. Production of Annual Report of the MNLF Economic Program;
10. MNLF attendance to the MNLF Annual Report (a formal evening event of high-level delegates of MNLF, GPH, OIC, and IPPs for the presentation of the MNLF Economic Program Annual Report and Program Success Stories).
WHAT’S STOPPING THIS MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM?
Misguided public opinion is prompting the government to turn a deaf ear and blind eye against the MNLF Economic Program.
There are two schools of thoughts in achieving peace. One school believes integration is the key to peace. The other thought believes elimination of the opponent is the key to peace. These two schools of thoughts interact in the open market of ideas, competes in the mileage of publication of mainstream and informal mass media, and influences the direction of GPH.
During Ramos presidency, the integration school of thought prevailed, hence, the signing of the The 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA. The 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA was founded on the common principle of integration. Ramos integrated the MNLF into mainstream society, and one of the political decision he did was to install Nur Misuari as ARMM Regional Governor. During Misuari’s term as ARMM Governor (1996-2001), the Philippine National Statistics Office reported that ARMM was the most peaceful region in the Philippines.
People usually had this general idea that peace is the key to prosperity. They thought that prosperity will follow when Mindanao becomes peaceful. But during Misuari’s term as ARMM Regional Governor, the much expected prosperity of the people did not came, and they blame it on Misuari. Misuari was swarmed with tons of hearsay and allegation of graft and corruption. In fairness, the prosecutor (Department of Justice) of these charges found no evidence of the allegation while they investigated Misuari. While investigation was ongoing, Misuari was in jail from 2001-2009. Misuari was acquitted of all these charges and hearsay, including the charges of rebellion, because the prosecutors found no single evidence to present in court. The prosecutors attempted to present the tons of negative publicity against Misuari but the court rejected all these invalid evidences because they are only hearsay. It is just frustrating for us (MNLF) whenever these hearsay are recycled even nowadays.
People should realize that economic prosperity does not necessarily follow when there is peace. Batanes for example, which is at the other Northern end of Philippines outside Mindanao, is a province up at the tip of Northern Luzon. Batanes is very peaceful, only chickens dwell in their jail. But the place is not prosperous, in fact, it is one of the poorest provinces of the Philippines. Very few people in in Batanes have livelihood. Mindanaois home to seven (7) out of ten (10) poorest provinces among the 80-provincePhilippines. The extraordinary high poverty incidence in Mindanao is broughtabout by many factors, but the primary and laden reason are government neglect and distance from the national metropolis.
You see, in peace, people will just skip the chance of gunshot-related mortality, but it will not give them the economic prosperity until “special” attention is given to them, plus of course, they have to not only cooperate but must have this strong desire to prosper.
During Estrada’s presidency, the GPH was kind of double minded. It was continuing the integration of the MNLF in one hand while declaring all-out-war against MILF on the other hand. Places where MNLF and MILF members live are overlapping, so it was very chaotic, we were uncertain about the government’s direction.
During the Arroyo and Aquino administration, the elimination school of thought prevailed. During these two administrations, instead of formally integrating the MNLF to participate in productive projects, the GPH have used its military to conduct false flag operations to smear a dirty paint on the MNLF and informally influence the mass media companies to create a stigma against the MNLF, all for the purpose of eliminating the MNLF.
The GPH Arroyo Administration politically persecuted MNLF Leader Nur Misuari in 2001, jailed him as political prisoner for 8 years (2001-2009) for alleged crimes that he did not commit. Again in 2013, the GPH Aquino administration conducted a false flag operation in Zamboanga City and implicated MNLF Leader Nur Misuari, and accused him again for crimes he did not commit. Despite all these persecutions, MNLF remained peaceful and abiding on the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA. When it comes to being sober, it is the GPH that is problematic, not the MNLF.
The stigma has caused the MNLF to alienate from mainstream society, push further the revolutionary organizing for national secession, and even prompted many of our leaders to go back to underground revolutionary movement.
Aquino Administration’s anti-integration activities against the MNLF is anti-peace, and is an opposite of the good principles of integration upon which the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA is founded upon. These anti-peace actions of the Aquino administration are not only acts of provocation but already considered by MNLF as already acts of war against the MNLF, even without the GPH explicitly declaring it.
Repeatedly, please be informed that MNLF officially denies participation in that infamous chaos in Zamboanga City of September 2013. Please be informed that MNLF Cmdr Habier Malik, MNLF Leader Nur Misuari, and all members of the Genuine MNLF are not participants in that chaos in Zamboanga City of September 2013. This denial is based on the result of MNLF’s internal affairs field investigation. That chaos was just a false flag operation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (a revenge of Gen. Emanuel T. Bautista whose father then Gen. Teodulfo Bautista died under the weapon of the MNLF in 1977) to smear dirt on the face of MNLF and a cover-up to the extra-judicial forced eviction by the Local Government of Zamboanga City led by Mayor Ma. Isabelle “Bheng” Climaco-Salazar (under the supervision of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas) against the poor marginalized Badjao minorities. Our field investigation result shows no genuine MNLF was hurt, injured, killed, or arrested in that inhumane government operation. The MNLF condemns the inhumane uprooting incident. Please read the MNLF declassified report at http://goo.gl/IBG2OB
It appears to us (MNLF) that Aquino administration did not understand the principle of integration because we can see that its publicities in the mainstream media; and the actions of its armed forces intend to destroy, persecute, stigmatize, eradicate, and annihilate the MNLF.
GPH’s strategy of creating a stigma against the MNLF and the increasing number of impoverished people in Mindanao and has increase of the number of MNLF forces because the marginalized people found “sense of belongingness” with the oppressed MNLF. In 1996, there were around 50,000 MNLF Forces. At present, the number of MNLF forces have doubled to over 100,000, carrying with it some over one million able-bodied MNLF family members, all waiting for the implementation of 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA Sec 20(a).
WHAT IS MNLF’S POSITION ON THE OTHER PEACE SOLUTIONS OF GPH, SUCH AS MILF BANGSAMORO DEAL?
We, MNLFs, despite our egalitarian ideology, don’t believe in one magic pill of solution that is applicable to all people with different political wing, religion, ethnic origin, and gender. Our solutions may be good only for MNLF members, but others may have their own solutions. In the same way, the solution that other want may not be acceptable to us. The ultimate solution is not selecting which is which, but accommodating all solutions. Give the MILF what they want, give the MNLF what we want; and avoid cross-over, avoid overlapping, and avoid squabbling. A good solution elevates one without stepping on the other. We prefer a buffet-type mindset where all groups can get whatever they want, instead of a competitive mindset that squabbles over one piece of burger.
MNLF maintains a hands-off policy on GPH’s peace solutions for other groups in Mindanao. We (MNLFs) have experienced so much stigma, marginalization, and oppression from the GPH — as a result, we have virtually lost all of our confidence and self-esteem to compete with the great number of people squabbling for employment, dole-out benefits, attention, political concession, and favors.
Sometime in 2008, GPH under the Arroyo Administration had “Memorandum of Agreement for Ancestral Domain” (MOA-AD) deal with MILF that was disapproved by Supreme Court of the Philippines — we (MNLF) were hands-off on that. In 2010, GPH had “Bangsamoro Sub-State” deal with MILF that just evaporated for unknown reason, perhaps it was overtaken by the new PNoy Administration — we (MNLF) were hands-off on that. Now recently, in 2012 the GPH have “Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro” with MILF that became “Comprehensive Agreement for Bangsamoro”, and subsequently now being developed into “Bangsamoro Basic Law” — we (MNLF) are maintaining a hands-off policy on that.
A partially successful Peace Process produces three-legged commitment: (1) peace pact, (2) economic concession, and (3) political concession. Among the three, only the peace pact that is always the win-win result, hence everyone must laud it by default. The economic concession would have to be justifiable as it requires a prioritized budget at the cost of some other priorities of government. The political concession would have to be reasonable because the favor granted to one will always cost society’s normal democratic process of a fair elections. A fully successful Peace Process is one that completes the fulfillment of these commitments in a speedy manner. Nevertheless, prolonging the fulfillment of obligation is similar to failure to deliver the commitment.
We, MNLF, laud the peace pact aspect of the MILF-GPH Deal, but wo are hands-off on the political concession aspect because it intends to replace the ARMM. In our opinion, a good political concession should produce an added happiness that is not at the expense of somebody else current happiness. In this scenario of Bangsamoro Deal that is aggressive and stigmatic against the ARMM, we prefer to support the defensive side because we, MNLFs, have a reputation to protect that we are defenders of the weak. As we, MNFL, sit on the lighter side of the seesaw, we hope to promote considerable balance in the political arena. The people must not be deprived of their political rights, hence, let the MILF campaign for public support to their political concession in a fair-and-square plebiscite; let the MILF leaders file their candidacy and campaign for votes in a fair-and-square elections.
Although we expect MILF have their own Economic Program, we would not care if they will replicate this proposed MNLF Economic Program. They can have their own exclusive economic concession that is totally separate from our exclusive economic concession.
This recent MILF-GPH Bangsamoro Deal have a slogan that says: “No one – Muslim, Christian, Lumad or of any other faith – will be left behind” (GPH Sec. Deles who is now the PR point-person of the MILF). Our MNLF response to this would be we are happy to have spread the doctrine of Egalitarian Ideology and influenced the GPH program. But where is the special schooling and livelihood for the MNLF? The MNLF’s special benefit that we are expecting is not only an Administration’s promise, but an obligation of the GPH. We are not kids that you can just divert our attention to some clowns and lollipops.
If we benefit from those generic GPH programs, good. Nevertheless, enjoying generic programs does not, in whole or in part, diminish our right to expect GPH to implement their obligation, specially the Sec 20(a) of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA.
THE LAST ITEM FOR IMPLEMENTATION in 1996 MNLF-GPH FINAL PEACE AGREEMENT (FPA).
The only provision in the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA that is not yet implemented by the GPH is the economic aspect, which can be read at Section 20(a). The GPH has already completed all political aspect, I can show you if you take time to sit down with me so I will read you through the 1996 FPA sentence-per-sentence.
As reasonable individuals, we will neither ask GPH for anything more, nor for anything less than section 20(a), and in so doing, we have suggested a delivery mechanism of the MNLF Schooling and Livelihood Economic Program in the Notes that I wrote titled: “The MNLF Position on the status of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA”.
Also, not all people who call themselves MNLF will benefit from this MNLF Economic Program that we are proposing to the GPH. This special economic program is only for a fixed number of MNLFs – 100,000 individuals. This economic program is exclusive for those who have proofs of membership with MNLF who believe and understand the One MNLF Doctrine. So if you are not sure if you have proof of membership with MNLF, please don’t take for granted the MiDI Signature Book (I assume you know what this book is) because this might be your only proof to be included in the MNLF Economic Program.
Once we see success in the implementation of the MNLF Economic Program, the objective of Mindanao Independence becomes moot and academic. However, the Independence of Sulu will still be an inevitable anticipation in conjunction with the Sabah recovery project. If we succeed in leasing a portion of Sabah to China, Sulu will become super rich and it’s totally up to Sulu if they will pursue their independence or not.
We will neither dip our fingers, nor our heart, in whatever the MILF is dealing with the GPH. Kapag FAB/CAB/BBL lang ang ang pinag-uusapan sa kahit anong forum, there is no need to attend, no need to spend even a little time for it. Pag mag attend kayo, kukunan lang kayo ng picture at sasabihin nila sa media na supporters na kayo sa MILF — it’s not good for you if you are hoping to be included as one of the 100,000 beneficiaries of the MNLF Economic Program.
THE ONLY RELEVANCE OF MOA-AD/BSS/FAB/CAB/BBL
The ARMM already passed the consistency test with the 1976 MNLF-GPH Tripoli Agreement (which is the original agreement recognized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC]). The ARMM already passed the consistency test of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. On the contrary, the MILF’s Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not succeed because it fails to pass the test of consistency with the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, and the Philippine Constitution. What is the rationality of totally replacing the ARMM with something that does not pass the legal tests?
The one and only relevance of MILF’s Memorandum Agreement for Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), Bangsamoro Sub-State (BSS), Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB), Comprehensive Agreement for Bangsamoro (CAB), proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is they will become part of the reading materials of MNLF think-tanks and will be used as among the MANY other valuable inputs and suggestions that will be considered in the process of improving the Revised Organic Act of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (R.A. 9054).
IMPROVING THE ARMM
The ARMM is the product of a long series of MNLF-GPH talks that developed the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. As of today, there are still plenty of items to be improved in the ARMM. The room for ARM improvement is still very wide. The ARMM is not incorrigible, and based on this fact, I believe that ARMM should not be abolished, but we should continually find ways to improve it.
The ARMM has many critiques; not only from the MNLF, but also from the government, civil society, and other groups in Mindanao such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). I believe that the critiques must tender constructive criticisms, meaning, they should give suggestions on how to improve the ARMM, and this will be the focus of the solidarity forum.
We have to build on the gains of our efforts in the past, learn some lessons from our mistakes, and continue dialogues to improve whatever it is that we have right now. Abolishing the ARMM and replacing it with another Entity is STRICTLY not an option as long as there is still room to improve the ARMM.
If they say the ARMM is a “failed experiment” that need to be stopped, my answer would be simple. The ARMM will naturally have errors every now and then because it is a “trial-and-error” experiment. The ARMM did not follow a successful model. In any scientific experiment wherein your technique is trial-and-error , don’t get discouraged when you fail in a single experiment. Don’t stop starting a new set of experiment if error occurs. In each failed experiment, you must be patient, learn a lesson, troubleshoot the problem, correct the error until you achieve your desired outcome. Remember, Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 experiments before he perfected the light bulb.
Personally, it is okay if you call ARMM as a “failed experiment”. I hope it is also okay for you if I would say the MILF CAB/BBL is nothing but just a new “untested experiment” with distorted assumptions. The problem with the MILF CAB/BBL new untested experiment is its assumptions are distorted by bribes — the bribes has silenced some relevant think tanks and it has prevented the natural collision of conflicting ideas. The worse is, the think-tanks who were bribed to silence are not ordinary people, but the ones who have direct experience about the ARMM experiment, including MNLF Leader Nur Misuari who is already the living institution of the over almost 40 years negotiations. Misuari is essentially the Thomas Edison of the Southern Philippines experiment — not listening to him is not a good move. I bet, in the 50 or so think-tanks of the MILF, there is no one there who possesses the equivalent institutional wisdom of Misuari. Read more about the distortion at http://goo.gl/ZdkDAC
My personal advice to the 50 or so MILF think-tanks behind all these MILF Bangsamoro thing, I would suggest you apply for positions in the ARMM or run for elected post in the ARMM and influence it towards improvement from the inside. Alternatively, from the outside, you can also submit individual position papers on how to improve the ARMM. If your suggestion is asking for reform by the MNLF, then submit your position paper to the MNLF. If your suggestion is asking for reform by the GPH, then submit your position paper to OPAPP. Rest assured, we will read it and consider it as input in improving the ARMM.
The irreconcilable difference between MNLF and MILF is the Sabah issue. MNLF will recover Sabah from Malaysian occupation. MILF is being used by Malaysia to stop MNLF from succeeding in the Sabah Recovery Plan. We can’t allow venomous snakes inside our house.
STABILITY OF MNLF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
The two opposing school of thoughts (Integration Team vs Elimination Team) also play in the individual mind of the MNLF members.
There are MNLF commanders who believe that integration is the solution, and they continue to hope and pray for the implementation of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA.
On the other hand, there are also MNLF commanders who believe that armed uprising is the solution. You can’t blame them because they’ve been waiting since 1996, and some of them were waiting since 1976 during the MNLF-GPH Tripoli Agreement.
Despite eternal debate among these two conflicting school of thoughts and numerous attempts of leadership take-overs, Misuari stood on his ground that MNLF will be peaceful. Each time the MNLF felt being threatened by government provocations, I can feel the tension in the MNLF that felt like MNLF becomes a bunch of 100,000 loaded guns on the verge of exploding, but Misuari played the role as the safety mechanism of the gun. Whether Misuari is free, or in jail, or exile, or whereabouts unknown, the MNLF will never explode as long as Misuari is the leader of the MNLF.
MNLF MUST GO OUT AND SPEAK TO INFLUENCE PUBLIC OPINION
We believe that the degree of fear of the public determines the seesaw of the two opposing school of thoughts — the Integration Team vs the Elimination Team.
MNLF must go out and speak to influence public opinion. We have to drill into the mind of public opinion the fact that Nur Misuari is a U.N. Peace Price Awardee and a Nobel Peace Price Nominee. We have to drill into the mind of the public the fact that through the decades, since the signing of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA, the MNLF never used its power, influence, and movement to weaken the plans, programs, and projects of the GPH. We have never attacked any GPH troops. We have never closed our ears from the call of the GPH to support its anti-corruption advocacy. The MNLF has always supported the advocacy for good governance of GPH. The MNLF did not abuse the supposed political concession that the MNLF expects from the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA — in fact, the MNLF Leader Nur Misuari had ran for governor in the ARMM, got defeated by the GPH candidates in the elections, and MNLF is still peaceful.
DOES MNLF GROUNDS (COMMUNITIES) SUPPORT SUPPORT THIS MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM?
Yes. Definitely. This is consistent with the sentiment of over 100,000 MNLFs scattered all over Southern Islands (Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan), Southern Mindanao (Davao, Cotabato, Saranggani), Western Mindanao (Zamboanga), Central Mindanao (Maguindanao, Lanao), Northern Mindanao (Bukidnon, Misamis), Eastern Mindanao (Agusan, Surigao) and Palawan.
In one instance, last 2 June 2014, OPAPP Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, along with eight foreign ambassadors of OIC-member states (Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Malaysia) visited Bongao, Tawi-Tawi to open up a concrete fishport project of the GPH and consult the local MNLF leaders. According to Inquirer that covered such event, the group invited MNLF area commander Ambrodin “Amlo” Salahuddin who believes in the Misuari leadership. Inquirer reported that Commander Amlo “expressed concern about livelihood projects and getting jobs for the people… What’s the use of having so many roads, bridges and ports if our people, former MNLF combatants and their children, have no livelihood? Inquirer added that the Commander was glad to see the OIC delegates coming here as “they can help us in investing projects where our people will be employed.” Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/misuari-not-invited-to-oic-m…
DOES MNLF LEADERSHIP (NUR MISUARI) SUPPORT THIS MNLF ECONOMIC PROGRAM?
Yes. Misuari supports this Program. Rest assured, two generations of MNLF, Misuari and myself are in one page in this program. Misuari represents the past and present MNLF. I represent the future of MNLF. In fact, each time Misuari renders his speeches, he always complains about the long wait of implementation of the 1996 MNLF-GPH FPA. Many people, especially the GPH, can’t figure out what he is complaining about — and they brush him off as a “difficult personality”. Actually, they are just insensitive. Misuari’s complain is actually referring to Section 20(a).
ECONOMY-DRIVEN POLITICAL REFORM
Just let political change and reform take place naturally in a peaceful environment. Just let political change evolve naturally in a scenario where people are economically secured, people’s stomach are full, and they are free to intelligently decide on their political destiny. Political solution is best borne by the mind when the stomach is full.
The good intention of this program must overpower our apprehensions, fears, and insecurities. There is One MNLF Doctrine and it has to be respected. This program is not intended to eradicate the MNLF by means of guiding the MNLFs away from the One MNLF Doctrine.
We, MNLFs, should not be persecuted nor looked-down upon for a reason that we believe that we should be united instead of factionalized. We, MNLFs, should not be persecuted nor looked-down upon for a reason that we believe in the leadership of Nur Misuari. We, MNLFs, should not be persecuted nor looked-down upon for a reason that we believe in Egalitarian Ideology. We, MNLFs, should not be persecuted nor looked-down upon for a reason that we envision Mindanao independence. We, MNLFs, should not be persecuted nor looked-down upon for a reason that we prefer to do our struggle for freedom and prosperity in a peaceful way.
I am disclosing, presenting, and advocating this MNLF Schooling and Livelihood Economic Program because I believe it is easier to sell a canned good if its content is properly labelled. We are all tired of GPH-MNLF Talks on endless debate on “political solutions” to wars and armed conflict. Let’s get away from all these political debate crap. Lets start working on the economics. Let’s do this MNLF Economic Program and start talking SUCCESS of the Program !!!
Rltr. John R. Petalcorin*
Director for Advocacy Communications
Director for Charity and Economic Projects
MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT
Cellphone Nos.: 0921-7172040
*Permits the members of the Mass Media to publish this in print or electronically.
To request for a Google Docs link to the free downloadable and printable .PDF file of this MNLF Position Paper, please request it by sending email to JohnPetalcorin@Gmail.Com