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MNLF commemorates 26th year of truce with government

Mindanao Peace Process • 16:15 PM Fri Sep 2, 2022
John M. Unson
The Bangsamoro capitol in Cotabato City. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- The Moro National Liberation Front commemorated Friday the 26th anniversary of the September 2, 1996 government-MNLF truce, a product of 22 years of tedious talks.

The now 26-year accord was premised on the December 23, 1976 government-MNLF “Tripoli Agreement” touted as the “mother of all agreements” between the group and the national government.

The agreement, forged in the Libyan capital Tripoli, was brokered by Libya and other member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, comprised of Muslim countries, including wealthy petroleum-exporting states in the Middle East and North Africa.

A senior MNLF official, Romeo Sema, who is a member of the interim 80-seat Bangsamoro regional parliament, said Friday they are commemorating the 26th anniversary of their final peace pact with Malacañang with utmost optimism that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will sustain its dividends achieved over the years.

“Let us together nurture the seed of peace we planted 26 years ago for it to bear fruits for all,” Sema, MNLF’s vice chairman for political affairs, said.

Sema on Tuesday reassured of their support to the peace programs for southern Moro communities of the newly-elected Philippine president.

“We shall also help move forward the peace and development initiatives of the regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under the leadership of our brothers in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Sema said.

The chairman of the MNLF, Muslimin Sema, who is labor minister of BARMM, said the biggest challenge lying ahead of them is how to preserve the gains of their peace agreement with the national government.

“The next episode is how to protect the gains of the peace agreement. That, for us, is like a travel through a long and winding road. There are some parts of the now 26-year peace agreement that are still to be fully implemented,” he said.

He also emphasized that the MNLF is a partner of the MILF in furthering peace and sustainable development in towns and provinces inside BARMM’s core territory.

The MILF, whose central committee is led by Ahod Ebrahim, has separate peace compacts with Malacañang --- the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and, subsequently, the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Ebrahim is the present interim chief minister of the BARMM government.

The MILF’s peace overture with the government, which started on February 7, 1997, also lasted for 22 years and led to the creation of BARMM in 2019.

The BARMM replaced then the less politically and administratively-empowered Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, more known as the ARMM. 


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