BLMI holds convergence dialogue for peace in Mindanao

COTABATO CITY -. April 11, 2018. The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute held a convergence dialogue between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)-Jikiri Group at Grand Men Sing Hotel, Davao City on April 1- 2, 2018.

The activity was the 2nd phase of a dialogue between the two revolutionary groups organized by MILF Peace Implementing Panel with financial assistance from The Swiss Confederation. 

The dialogue was participated in by members of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel (MILF PIP) led by Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, and the MNLF Jikiri Group represented by Romeo Sema, Vice Chair on Political Affairs of the MNLF Central Committee.

Aside from Chairman Iqbal, Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, MILF PIP member, Jun Mantawil, Head of the MILF PIP Secretariat, BLMI Executive Director Mahmud Ahmad, and Junn P. Salik, President of Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (FBCSO) were also in attendance.

The activity was attended by various middle level leaders of the MILF and MNLF from the provinces of CONVAL, Davao del Sur and Davao Del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur and Lanao Del Norte, North Cotabato, SOCSARGEN, Maguindanao and the cities of Davao and Cotabato.

The aim of the dialogue is to discuss the strategic plan on convergence for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is now pending in congress and advocacy to the grassroots in preparation for the plebiscite granting the BBL is passed by congress.

Chairman Iqbal reiterated that the proposed Bangsamoro Government is inclusive, and one mode of addressing historical injustices committed to the Bangsamoro people regardless of their ethnicity and political conviction. 

MNLF Vice Chairman Sema in his power point presentation on the History of Bangsamoro Struggle and Peace Process on MNLF perspective, gave an emphasis on the sincerity of the Philippine Government to resolve the Bangsamoro Question.  

" There were several agreements entered into by both parties which the MNLF had complied with in good faith but the government failed to deliver the true spirit of the signed agreements ", he lamented.  

 "Now, we are entering another era of peace agreement between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). We, as one Bangsamoro are in solidarity with our brothers in MILF in their quest for peace in Mindanao particularly the Bangsamoro Homeland ", he added. 

In the course of their discussion, somebody asked, " What else have we not done for the passage of BBL? " and one retorted, " We should ask the same question to the government. " 

A participant from MNLF inquired on the stand of MILF regarding Federalism. 

Iqbal being firm on his previous statements said, " We are not against Federalism but BBL first... "     

Iqbal mentioned about the challenges on the passage of BBL: Unity of the Bangsamoro; Biases of majority of Filipino leaders; and little knowledge on the history of the Bangsamoro.    

"Still majority of Filipino's don't understand fully well that we have our own identity... We have our historic narrative of Mindanao...We as Bangsamoro have a distinct political and socio - economic structure, diverse culture but unified under Islam, " he concluded.