Mohagher Iqbal: From Revolutionary to a Missionary Man of Peace

COTABATO CITY -- The Commission on Election (COMELEC) from National office conducted a special satellite registration for Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) at Camp Darapanan from September 11-13, 2018 and around 5,000 availed of this special registration intended for MILF combatants and their families including MILF Central Committee members headed by its Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim. There were other fifteen registration centers in the other areas for the proposed territory of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) in Mindanao.

On the first day of special registration September 11, MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal filed his first time voter’s registration at SKCC, ORG Complex, Cotabato City.

Iqbal had never participated in any political exercises nor work in government service in his whole life, except as chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) from 2013 to 2016 and as member thereof from 2016 up to present.

The BTC, strictly speaking, is not fully a government agency because it was part of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by government and MILF, whose tasks include drafting of the proposed law to implement this agreement in as far as creation of the autonomous entity is concerned.

He graduated from Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU) in Manila and finished his Bachelor's of Science, Major in Political Science and Minor in History in 1969 and Master's Degree on Political Science in 1972 and joined the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) the same year after his graduation.

In the MNLF, he started as a foot soldier soldier and later become the Chair of the Committee on Propaganda of the Kutawato Revolutionary Committee.

 When the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was organized in 1977, he was one of the founders and served it in various capacities, notably the Chair of the Committee on Information from 1979 to this day.

Currently, aside from Chair of the Committee on Information, he is also Chair of the MILF Peace Panel (both Negotiating and Implementing) since July 29, 2003.

He wrote two books under his pen name: Salah Jubair namely, BANGSAMORO: A Nation under Endless Tyranny, and The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GPH-MILF Process, and several articles on the Bangsamoro and the MILF - led struggle. A compilation of his speeches is forthcoming and will be launched either late this year or early next year.

Iqbal, after acquiring his voters’ registration, in teary eyed said, “In my whole life I devoted myself to Jihad (struggle) for the Bangsamoro people. By embracing democratic processes and participating in the Philippine political exercises for the greater good of the majority is one way of self-sacrifice to achieve our aspiration and correcting historical injustices suffered by us.

He was also quoted, as saying: “I can't promise that this is the right thing to do but I do promise that this is a better option for us to have a sustainable and dignified peace anchored on restorative justice for all of us. I will lay my life, honour, my principles and sacrifices in this endeavour."