FUTURE GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION (FGN)

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FGN laments over the failed GRP – MILF MoA signing PDF Print E-mail

PRESS STATEMENT
13 August 2008


Future Global Network (FGN) Foundation, an NGO that seeks to highlight and redress the plight of colonized and stateless Muslims, highly regrets the last-minute cancellation of the historic signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain for the Bangsamoro people in Muslim Mindanao, between the Philippine Government (GRP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at Putrajaya, Malaysia on August 5, 2008. The international community had so much focused their attention to the historic occasion with high hopes that peace would soon return to Muslim Mindanao where Moro fronts and the Philippine government have been at war over the issue of self-determination for more than three decades since the early Seventies.
 
It is very unfortunate that the euphoria of the historic occasion was overshadowed by the temporary restraining order issued by the Philippine Supreme Court by virtue of the petition filed by some Mindanao politicians whose constituencies have been affected by the issue of Moro Ancestral Domain. Local politicians have voiced displeasure for not being properly briefed by the government about the modalities of the Memorandum of Agreement on the issue. For that reason, they rallied their non-Muslim constituents to oppose the agreement for fear that it might be against their interests. However, some observers believe that the whole episode has been orchestrated by the ‘hawkish elements’ within the government. 
 

These untoward incidents have raised the spectre of the possibility for the ceasefire to collapse with the loss of faith on and credibility of either side in the process. In fact, troop movements and provocations have already been carried out in some areas of Central Mindanao although they are still under control by the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and Ceasefire Commission (CCCH). For how long can the IMT and CCCH keep the ceasefire holding, there is no assurance. But as the government has shown no haste in resolving the impasse, hotheads may blow-up the remaining wheel of peace that may push the fragile situation to a level that FGN and other peace-loving peoples of the world would not want to be associated with.
 
Mutual sincerity, accommodation and trust are the vital ingredients to resolve the age old problem amicably.
 
War erupts in North Cotabato
 
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and paramilitary units, including the Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO), attacked a number of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) - MILF positions in North Cotabato just after issuing ultimatum for MILF forces to withdraw from the area on August 8, three days after the aborted signing of the GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Bangsamoro Ancestral Domain in Kuala Lumpur. Fierce fighting is still raging on.
 
Field reports gathered by BRC-FGN showed already more than 60 casualties, mostly government forces belonging to the CVO, paramilitary units and AFP. Approximately 130,000 civilians were displaced since the past four days of bloody clashes with the forces of the 105th Base Command of the BIAF. The MILF admitted to having lost four of its freedom fighters and a number of injured in the armed clashes.
 
The AFP wanted the MILF to denounce the BIAF forces in the area as ‘renegades’ for refusing to withdraw after being given a 24-hour ultimatum. However, the MILF stood by its forces as the ultimatum issued by the government was viewed in bad faith and only as an excuse to launch the premeditated attack to shift the blame from the GRP’s failure to abide by the peace agreement with the MILF.
 
 
ZAKARIA B. ABDULLAH
Bangsamoro Research Centre
Future Global Network (FGN)
Kuala Lumpur