Photo by Margany R. Gumander

Jaafar enlightens University of Mindanao’s Students on BBL, Extremism

COTABATO CITY, MARCH 22, 2018- “There’s no extremists group in Mindanao because they are fighting for a cause,” and principles. 

This was the opening statement of Ghazali Jaafar, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman, and 1ST Vice Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the First Public Forum on BBL, and Islamic Social Awareness held at the University of Mindanao (UM) Campus, Bolton Street, Davao City on March 21, 2018.  

Jaafar stressed that the leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the late Ustadz Umbra Kato was the former Commander of 105th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF-MILF), but due to his frustrations on the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), he bolted from the mainstream MILF. 

In can be recalled that when some unscrupulous political leaders questioned the legality of the MOA-AD, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional due to lack of consultations. 

“The MILF then was still honoring the signed peace agreement with the government, and they continued to resolve the Bangsamoro issues through the peace process, but Ustadz Kato rather chose to separate from the MILF, and they continued fighting against the government to establish an independent state,” Jaafar emphasized.

“The Maute Brothers who laid siege on Marawi City were also former members of the MILF in Lanao del Sur. But due to the failure of the Philippine’s 16th Congress to pass the previous BBL, they become frustrated, and totally lost their trust and confidence on the government, thus, they continued fighting to establish their own government to govern themselves,” Jaafar added. 

“There’s no existing extremism in Mindanao. It is a product of big frustration of some members of the Moro Front who negotiated for almost 40 years, and the political solutions was already identified but remained in deaf ears,” lamented Jaafar. 

Some 40 Muslims students, 18 non-Muslim students, and youth leaders, members of the University of Mindanao Muslim Association for Regency attended the forum.

The youth participants were enlightened on the salient provisions of the BBL, and its inclusivity. 

After the enactment of BBL by congress, a plebiscite will be held in the core territory, and the localities in Lanao Del Norte, and said villages in North Cotabato to determine the coverage of the new political entity Bangsamoro.

Once the Bangsamoro Region is established, infrastructure projects, livelihood assistance, other forms of development programs, and educational scholarships will be enjoyed by residents of Bangsamoro communities, inside, and outside of the region where Moro people reside.  

Aside from Jaafar, three (3) well-known experts on Islamic Theology gave clear insights on what is extremism, and how to counter radical extremism. 

The non-Muslim students were also given an opportunity to share their ideas how they understand the issue on extremism before, and after they heard the fruitful explanation of the resource speakers.