This undated photo shows MNLF chair Yusop Jikiri. Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process

MNLF leader Yusop Jikiri, 'strong' pillar of Bangsamoro peace process, dies

MANILA, Philippines — Tributes poured in for Moro National Liberation Front leader and former government official Yusop Jikiri, who died Saturday.
News of Jikiri’s death broke Sunday. He was 66 years old.

“Yusop H. Jikiri devoted his life to the Bangsamoro and served our people through different capacities,” said Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MNLF chairman and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region’s chief minister.

Jikiri served as the governor of Sulu from 2001 to 2004 and as the representative of the province’s first district from 2007 to 2010.
He became one of the officials of the MNLF whose founding chairman is Nur Misuari. In 2000, Jikiri joined other MNLF leaders who broke away from the faction of Misuari.

Jikiri assumed the chairmanship of MNLF Council of Leaders in 2017.

'One of the strong pillars' 
“He was also one of the influential figures that pushed for the enactment and ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. His contributions will always be remembered in the history of our people,” Ebrahim said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Gilbert Gapay said Jikiri was “one of the strong pillars” who advocated trust and respect as key to achieving lasting peace and development in the Bangsamoro.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., for his part, said Jikiri was a staunch supporter of the Bangsamoro peace process.
“Till the very end, Brother Jikiri’s main concern was to bring the full realizatiaon of the Bangsamoro people, harness the full economic potential of the Bangsamoro homeland, while creating the conditions where sustainable peace could take root. His ultimate goal was to create a better and brighter future for the Bangsamoro people,” Galvez said.

"There is no doubt that Brother Jikiri has been one of the major pillars of the Bangsamoro peace process. It is through his passion, determination and commitment that we are now closer to achieving our collective vision of bringing just and lasting peace in Mindanao."