Marawi siege and the bangsamoro struggle

Marawi siege is over but left the city devastated with hundreds of thousands of people staying in evacuation centers with no income since they left the comfort of their homes.

The Marawi siege by all intents and purposes could not be likened to Bangsamoro struggle. As admitted by the security forces and no less than the Secretary of Department of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana that the siege started when the combined law enforcers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP ) and Philippine National Police ( PNP ) were serving the warrant of arrest for Isnilon Hapilon , the elusive leader of Abu Sayyaf Group with ties from the ISIS and proclaimed Amir ( leader ) of ISIS - Daesh of Southeast Asia Group in a certain house in the outskirt of Marawi City.

As the PNP and AFP arrived to serve the arrest warrant, the armed group fought back that resulted to a lengthy fire fight with the Maute group wearing a black clad in a full battle gear that appeared  in all strategic location of the city waving a black ISIS flag and raided the hospitals , city jail , Dansalan College and other public places and threatening to kill all Christians and Muslims who will go against them.

 The Maute group promised to liberate Marawi City of fitna ( tribulations ) of illegal drugs , usury , zina, illegal activities , criminalities and other social evils contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ( PBUH ).

 It cannot be said that the Maute group invaded Marawi City because most of them if not all are residents of the city and their activities are of public knowledge among the local officials , traditional leaders and the people of the area. The only problem in this incident is that they are over confident that the battle will not last long as they experienced in the previous military engagement in other areas of Mindanao.

The Marawi siege is now recorded as the longest urban battle in the Philippine history that cost the lives of thousand people , the displacement of thousand families , destroyed billions of pesos worth of public and private properties , billions pesos of taxpayers money in the more than five months of fighting using all military assets.

The people of Marawi City until now were into disbelief that the president whom they voted , claimed to be their relative and their Bangsa , are the one responsible in destroying their city by turning them into ashes. They stood firm in defending their homeland during colonial times , undefeated from Spain down to the Americans. These traumatic events will continue haunting the people of Marawi and will be part of their cultural history that will pass on to the next generation and beyond.

The question that lingers on with other people who criticized the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leadership of doing nothing in defending the people of Marawi is a farce and with malice. Perhaps , just to boost their agenda on Federal Bangsa Ranaw and likewise , with the newly organize armed group known as , Marawi Victim Movement ( MVM ) that tend to discredit the legitimacy of MILF  as the defender of bangsamoro people. Whatever their motives and intentions , Allah knows best.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front with the collective leadership of Central Committee who fought for more than 40 years defending the bangsamoro cause are firm in their commitment to be the defender on the rights of the bangsamoro people without mental reservation whatsoever.

The MILF Central Committee are into belief and conviction and with consultation from the Ulama ( Islamic Scholars ) that the Marawi siege is a trap to disunite the bangsamoro people. It is bait for disunity that might bring Fitna to all of us by " divide and rule " scheme of the enemies of peace.

What happened in Marawi is very unfortunate and painful to us but serve as lesson for the entire bangsamoro.

The MILF intervention in Marawi siege was in the form of humanitarian engagement known as " peace corridor " as agreed by both panels of GPH and MILF Peace  Implementing Panel.They initiated the giving of relief goods to the IDPs and helped rescuing civilians trapped in the battle areas.

The MILF leadership issued a directive order to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces ( BIAF ) to protect the civilians in their AOR and prevent the escalation of the ensuing battle in Marawi City to nearby area and provinces.

The Marawi incident is the result of mismanagement of the local government sector and the security sector. The military admitted that they already recieved an intelligence information prior to the siege that the Maute group was planning to cause havoc in the heart of the city , but failed to act counter - measures to prevent the occurence of the same.

Likewise , the local government officials knew the activities of this extremist group considering that most of them are their relatives and common sense dictates us that as a leader you know every person in your area, but did nothing to prevent this from happening.

With all these failures and negligence , it is unfair on the part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF ) to take the blame and cudgels due to irresponsibilities of the leaders who was mandated by law to serve and protect its people.

The MILF as a revolutionary organization is commited to peace and adhere to the terms of reference of the GPH - MILF peace process and will continue to pursue the path of non - violent assertion of the bangsamoro aspiration.