By Al Jacinto Moh i. Saaduddin and Jerry n. Adlaw/Zamboanga City
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari yesterday said the declaration of “pure independence” still needs approval of all his commanders and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which helped broker the 1996 peace agreement.
Misuari, who met with his commanders in the town of Indanan on July 29, almost declared independence but changed his mind, saying he still needs to consult with senior leaders before making the announcement “at the right time.”
“We are going to find the right time to for the formal declaration [of independence.] I still need to communicate with the OIC so we still have to discuss this with our leaders,” he said in the local Tausug dialect.
Misuari lamented that it has been three decades since the OIC mediated in the peace talks, but the government has failed to comply with the provisions in the accord.
“Nothing has been achieved. And that’s why we need to carefully plan on what steps to take. Let us wait, we cannot just jump into something which will not bring good to us,” he told his followers.
Surrounded by his most trusted leaders and loyal lieutenants, including Ustadz Habier Malik and Khaid Ajibun, Misuari was many times interrupted by the chanting of a huge crowd of MNLF members who raised their weapons in the air as a show of support to his cause.
The military did nothing to prevent the daring public display of weapons and forces, fearing any attempt to stop them would trigger a fierce battle.
Misuari said government officials scrambled to meet with Indonesian leaders in Jakarta to ask them to intercede and stop him from declaring independence.
“I tell you Indonesia and the Philippines will again talk to us and try to stop our determination and this is to declare independence, complete, pure independence of our nation,” he said.
Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa advised Manila to continue to exercise patience even in the face of provocation as he reiterated Jakarta’s support for the peace process in Mindanao.
Misuari has accused the government of trying to abrogate the peace accord it forged with the MNLF. He also denounced the peace talks between the government of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), its rival rebel group, after negotiators signed an accord that would create a Bangsamoro state.
Misuari insisted the peace process violated the MNLF-Philippines agreement.-Manila Times
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