IN PHOTO- MILF-BIAF Chief of Staff Sammy Al-Mansoor delivering his speech during the BIAF Assembly at Camp Darapanan, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao

BIAF Officers Hold General Assembly

The Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of Moro Islamic Liberation Front held its Officers’ Assembly at Camp Darapanan, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao from May 7- 8, 2018. 

The BIAF Officers came from different area fronts of the MILF namely, Central Mindanao Front, Southern Mindanao Front, Western Mindanao Front, Eastern Mindanao Front, Northeast Mindanao Front, Northwestern Mindanao Front, and from National Guard Front.

Members of the MILF Central Committee, and prominent personalities also attended the program that added to the enthusiasms of MILF supporters, and spectators who came to see the tens of thousands of BIAF Officers in the wide ground of Camp Darapanan.

With much thankfulness and gratitude to the Creator, Allah SWT, the Chief of Staff Sammy Al Mansoor rendered welcome address, saying “The presence of thousands of strong Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a manifestation of their unity, solidarity and support to the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

Chief of Staff Al Mansoor admittedly said that even if the BIAF is in its highest level of optimism, prolonged delay or non -passage of the BBL would breed negative sentiments and frustrations. Thus, he stressed that the BTC-drafted BBL would build legitimate institutions, guarantee inclusive growth and increase participation in the political and economic decision.

The assembly of BIAF Officers, men and women alike is a fitting demonstration of their adherence to the chain of command of their readiness at all times as the vanguard of the revolution, Al Mansoor added.

Sheikh Abuhuraira Udasan, Grand Mufti of Bangsamoro gave Islamic orientation on unity and brotherhood. He cautioned and address everybody, not to dispute, for it will only lead to disunity and eventually frustrations, as it mentioned in some verses of the Noble Qur-an.

MILF 1st Vice Chairman, and Chairman of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in his speech said, “The Bangsamoro Government under the CAB is all about change, reform and transformation. It is a transformation from the imposed Filipino Identity to Bangsamoro Identity, from integration to territorial autonomy, from economic deprivation to fiscal autonomy. The Bangsamoro Government is a system of building institutions that will replace the current government system by a new inclusive government which ensure good governance, better services and promotes long lasting peace, progress and development in the Bangsamoro.”

“These can be realized through the passage of a CAB-compliant Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is now almost within our reach because of the convergence, partnership, and collaboration of the executive and legislative branches of the government under the able leadership of brother President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and of the Moro fronts spearheaded by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front”, he added.

Jaafar concluded his speech by saying, “As we come closer to the passage of a CAB-compliant BBL, for and on behalf of the MILF, the BTC, and the Bangsamoro people in general, I am appealing to our Leaders both from the military and the political committee to join us in upholding positive change and in ensuring the immediate realization of the Bangsamoro vision, that is, the establishment of just, dignified, and long lasting peace and development for everyone in the Bangsamoro, Insha Allah (SWT).” 

Meanwhile, MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal made it clear to understand what is peace process and peace negotiation. He cited good reasons why the MILF agreed to engage in the peace negotiation. 

He said it was mentioned in the Holy Quran that when the adversaries invite for a peace talk, oblige yourselves and leave it to Allah SwT, and quote the words of late Chairman Hashim Salamat, “The most civilized and practical way to solve the Bangsamoro problem is through a negotiated political settlement”.  He relates the MILF started negotiation with the government of the Philippines in January 7, 1997 and took it to where the peace process is, at present- the signing of political agreements FAB, CAB and now on its implementation stage.

OPAPP USec Dickson Hermoso, who was once assigned in Central Mindanao as Philippine Army Colonel, and Commanding Officer of 603rd Brigade, 6ID, and considered a “friend of the Moro people” also delivered a message. 

Coincidentally it was his birthday and happy to spend the day attending the event. As former combatant, an officer that he was, he relates and shared experiences while in the military service, explained some functions of the peace mechanism and its flow. 

One of the important mechanisms of the peace process is the International Monitoring Team that oversees the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. 

The Head of Mission of IMT M-13, Major General Dato’ Haji  Mohd Nazir Bin Haji Mami delivered an extensive message. He explained the role of IMT.  

Maj Gen Mami was so keen in enumerating three main reasons why BBL should be passed- firstly, it will end the armed conflict, secondly, the establishment of Bangsamoro Government, thirdly, economic development.

However, in conclusion, he finds it worth mentioning the problem of ‘Rido’ or family/clan feud prevalent in some areas of the Bangsamoro. To this, he reminded everybody what Islam has taught, to be united and live in harmony in accordance with the teachings of Quran and Hadiths.

MILF Central Committee 2nd Vice Chairman Ali Solaiman in his Inspirational message, acknowledged the important contribution and sacrifices of the BIAF in the struggle of the Bangsamoro. He concluded his message with powerful du’ah.

The registered BIAF officers in attendance exceeded 44,000.  An air of inspiration and hopefulness can be felt while the big crowd dispersed for what they have learned in the gathering.

Dr. Antok Tomanda and Dr. Norodin Salam splendidly took turns as Masters of Ceremonies.

IN PHOTO- A portion of 44,000+ BIAF Officers who were ‘at ease’ while listening to speakers during the assembly at Camp Darapanan