MILF issues official statement on the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) issued yesterday (May 24), an official statement signed by MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23rd presumably to contain the Marawi incident and prevent it from spreading to other parts of Mindanao.

The MILF said that, while not in a position to question the factual basis for the proclamation or the decision to make it, appeals to the Philippine Government to ensure that the ceasefire mechanisms continue to work on the ground, and that any military operations against the Group that perpetrated the violence in Marawi does not spark more fighting in other areas.  

In the same statement, the MILF says, “Mobilizing the military in Mindanao should still respect the mechanisms that have proven to be effective in scaling down armed encounters between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).  Conversely, recent events have shown that disregard of these mechanisms have been disastrous to our communities and to the effort to bring to fruition the end of the decades-long conflict in our homeland.”

“The MILF strongly condemns the violence in Marawi perpetrated by group or groups whose only aim is to sow terror. There is no justification for launching an offensive against civilian populace and to destroy infrastructures and institutions serving the public” said the MILF in its statement.

The MILF stressed that, “It is firm in its resolve to settle the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people through the negotiated process now contained in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The different mechanisms of the peace process are still engaged with their esteemed counterparts in government and are working towards finding ways on how best to address the challenge posed by the violence being committed in Marawi by groups who have chosen to take violence without regard to the best interest of our people. Now more than ever, the MILF and the government must work closely to ensure the protection of the gains of the peace process and to even forge with greater resolve to immediately implement the peace agreement so that no other groups may use its non-implementation to justify their continued pursuit of violence for violence’s sake.”

Finally, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said that it stands in solidarity with the people of Marawi and Lanao del Sur during this tragic day. We call on our forces to extend all necessary assistance to the people of Marawi to ensure their safety and frustrate the aim of any group or groups to sow divide in our communities. Let us all stand united to win peace for our people. Wassalamo alaykom warahmatullahi wabarakatuh