IN PHOTO (left )-Toks Ebrahim, Head of BIAF Administrative Dept, and (right) Engr. Edward Guerra, Head of MILF Foreign Affairs Dept. deliver their respective messages during the BIAF-GS Administrative Dept. 2nd General Assembly at Camp Drapanan on March 15, 2018

BIAF-GS Administrative Department holds 2nd General Assembly

Camp Darapanan, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao- The Administrative Department of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) General Staff held their 2nd General Assembly at the Moro Front’s main camp in Darapanan on March 15, 2018. The event was attended by 3,354 participants coming from various areas of Bangsamoro Homeland. 

In his opening remarks, Toks Ibrahim, Head of Administrative Department of the General Staff said that the assembly is part of the initiatives in strengthening the MILF military arm is one of the 4-point programs of the MILF.  

Dr. Tumanda Antok, Planning Head of the General Staff gave an update on the peace process. According to him, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Chair of the Sub-committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) expressed his commitment that the BBL will be ready for Senate deliberation, and voting on March 22, 2018.  

After its approval by the Senate, the bill will undergo deliberation by the bicameral conference committee comprising selected members from the House of Representatives, and the Senate, Dr. Antok added. 

Sheikh Abdulkadir Abdullah who gave a lecture on Islamic Orientation reminded the participants of the values of a good Mujahid. A mujahid is a model with strong faith, establish, and maintains good relationships, and renders good service, he said. 

Furthermore, he also mentioned the four sources of backwardness in the organization; forgetting their religion, forgetting their identity, forgetting the historical background of their struggle, and forgetting their true brothers in religion, the Mu’min. 

In his message regarding the trail of Bangsamoro Struggle, Dr. Taugan Kikay, former Executive Director of Sajahatra Bangsamoro recounted the history of the struggle, and the milestones that has already been achieved. He also told the participants that there are two ways on how to achieve the goal of the struggle; through armed struggle, and through political struggle.

Kikay also mentioned the gains of the political struggle which includes the recognition of the Bangsamoro identity, recognition of the MILF as a legitimate revolutionary organization, and acknowledgement of the MILF camps as controlled areas of the organization. 

Muin Almendras of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) reminded the attendees on the importance of following the rules and guidelines of the ceasefire mechanism, and avoiding violations such as the blatant display of firearms and uniform and the use of provocative language.

Engr. Eduard Guerra, Head of Foreign Affairs of MILF, and Co-Chair of the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) who was the Guest Speaker emphasized some of the salient features of the BBL drafted by the expanded BTC including provisions on the Block Grant, creation of Bangsamoro Police, and Shari’ah Judicial System for the Bangsamoro. 

Guerra also talked about the role of the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) which is under the JNC. JPST members is composed of some selected and trained members of the MILF-BIAF, AFP, and PNP. 

The teams will be deployed to 200 posts within the Bangsamoro areas. The JPST is one of the mechanisms that will ensure peace, and order in the ground during the transition period.

Most of the speakers encouraged the support of the participants to the peace process, specifically for the passage of the BBL. The participants were also reminded to avoid activities that could negatively affect the peace process.