27April

‘No endorsement from MILF’: Chairman Murad reiterates

ISTANBUL, TURKEY– The Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, reiterated that the MILF is not endorsing any candidates in the coming May 9 national elections.

“The organization is not anointing any candidate, we advise our people to vote who they think can help the Bangsamoro struggle” Murad said in April 16 meeting with Moro scholars studying and young professionals undergoing training in this country.

The MILF Chief discussed the matter to refute the issue that he was endorsing presidential aspirant Mar Roxas. Pictures posted in social media of the MILF Chair with Roxas and other Liberal Party (LP) candidates with their hands raised during a photo opportunity when the group visited Camp Darapanan drew mixed reactions.

He explained that Roxas visited Camp Darapanan and they welcome him the way he also welcome other presidentiables. Chairman Murad stressed that the raising of Roxas’ hand was not tantamount to endorsing the presidential bet.

Some Moro netizens accused the MILF leader of supporting the LP presidential aspirant that goes against the MILF’s “hands-off policy” on the Philippine elections.  

Some of the NGOs that are pushing for the continuity of the peace process presented their aspirations and asked Roxas to sign it as a gesture of his commitment once he win as president. 

Chairman Murad, also mentioned that Duterte, Poe and Binay’s camp also sent emissaries to the MILF and presented their plans.

He emphasized that the MILF struggle through peaceful means will continue since it has signed with the Philippine government the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a peace deal that is a product of more than 17 years peace negotiation.. 

The CAB provides the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will pave way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro government with more fiscal and political powers.

As stipulated in the CAB, the passage of the BBL is a sole obligation of the government particularly the Philippine Congress. 

The House of Representatives and the Senate failed to pass the measure during their sessions last February.

The MILF Chair said the MILF and those who are supporting it might not be happy but still the MILF leadership will continue to protect the gains of the negotiation. 

Chairman Murad said the MILF is strengthening networks through different channels for the implementation of the CAB. 

When asked about unity of leaders among the Bangsamoro, Chairman Murad explained that the MILF is working on the other liberation movement to have coordinated efforts stand in advancing the Bangsamoro cause. This is done through the OIC facilitated Bangsamoro Coordination Forum.

The gathering was organized by the Turkish humanitarian organization IHH. Chairman Murad and party visited Turkey to attend the 13th Islamic Summit Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held in Istanbul on 14 – 15 April 2016. 

MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal said that Chairman Murad told him that once VP Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Grace Poe, all running for presidency, will visit the MILF Camp, he will also raise their hands to show that he is not siding with just one candidate. 

Duterte had already visited Darapanan but the MILF Chairman was out of the country. (With report from Gandhi Kinjiyo)