MILF leaders meet Duterte over Marawi clashes

Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) met yesterday (May 29) with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) in Davao City to discuss the current humanitarian crisis in Marawi City which is still reeling from the effects of the armed clashes between state forces and the so-called Maute group.

MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim welcomed the idea of PRRD for the MILF forces to help in extending necessary humanitarian assistance to civilians which are still trapped in areas of Marawi where sporadic fighting still happen. Modalities of cooperation would be established between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF.

The peace mechanisms such as the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCHs) of both the GPH and MILF would be utilized for planning and implementing the ways on how to immediately and safely extend the humanitarian assistance.

PRRD also assured the MILF leaders that the Martial Law declaration is not against the MILF, MNLF or NPA but to quell the rebellion of the Maute group and other ISIS-inspired terrorists.  AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, who is also the Martial Law Administrator, was present during the meeting that was also attended by GPH Peace Panel Chairman Irene Santiago, several military commanders and Cabinet officials.

He also asserted legitimacy for the peace process and its continuity as well as the mechanisms established through the 17 years of negotiation with the MILF.

The President also discussed relevant matters on the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and urged the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to fast track the drafting of the BBL. The BTC is being chaired by MILF First Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar who expressed confidence that the draft BBL would be completed by next month.

Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim was accompanied by First Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, BIAF Chief of Staff Sammy Al-Mansour, Peace implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Supreme Shari’ah Court head Ustadz Khalifa Nando and AHJAG Chair Atty. Abdul Dataya to personally confer with the Chief Executive in a meeting that lasted for about two hours. ###