Framework Agreement MILF
Image source: gov.ph

CHICAGO – The White House has issued a statement hailing the signing of a Framework Agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Meanwhile, a report from Manila said that Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), called the framework agreement irrelevant and assailed the MILF “for losing its grip on its people.”[box type=”default” size=”large”] Misuari calls Bangsamoro agreement ‘irrelevant’ [/box]A statement issued by the White House Press Office and received by this reporter said, “The United States welcomes the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the presence of President Aquino of the Republic of the Philippines and Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia.

“We commend the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leadership for their hard work and unwavering commitment to a better future, as well as Malaysia for its longstanding role as facilitator of the negotiations.

“Today’s ceremony marks another step toward ending insurrection and restoring good governance. The United States will continue to work with the international community, regional stakeholders and the people of the Philippines to promote transparency, governance, economic growth and development to achieve a better future.”

Misuari hits agreement 

MANILA — Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Nur Misuari, who is founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), has branded as “irrelevant” the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, claiming it was the handiwork of President Benigno S. Aquino III in collaboration with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Misuari, who was in Mindanao, was scheduled last week to travel to Quezon City to attend a forum, but he cancelled the trip due to reports that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

Talking to reporters through phone patch, he assailed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He claimed that the MILF is losing its grip of its own people and that it signed the agreement as a way to salvage some pride.

In the case of Najib, Misuari said the Malaysian Prime Minister wanted to create a scenario with the Philippine government in an effort to gain lost political grounds, noting his allegedly waning popularity in his country.

Misuari said he has not received a copy of the reported warrant of arrest nor he has knowledge of the nature of the charge against him. He claimed his sources in the Philippines National Police, the media and Justice Department gave him information about the alleged warrant.

In deciding not to attend the forum in Quezon City, Misuari said he does not want to be embarrassed in public. He dared, however, the authorities to serve him the alleged warrant of arrest at the MNLF Summit in Davao City set on Sunday.

He said the government is capable of harassing him as evidenced by the hospital arrest of a former president and the ouster of a former chief justice.

Claiming that his group has one million members, Misuari said the media is welcome to attend the MNLF Summit in Davao City during which salient points in the Bangsamoro Agreement will be discussed.

He said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) still recognizes MNLF, citing an instance in which a MILF representative was snubbed during an OIC meeting in Turkey.

Misuari also said that the United Nations and the other countries recognize the MNLF for its political programs, unlike the MILF which is known for its religious setup.

Misuari expressed willingness to talk to President Aquino or any of his emissaries for the sake of peace in Mindanao.

In the forum, Ferdie Dasion of the Nationalist Philippines Against Foreign Intervention said the Malaysian Prime Minister should have acted only as a foreign observer, not as a direct participant in the agreement. (Manila Bulletin)

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Joseph is a former reporter of the Manila Bulletin, former president of the Rizal-Metro Manila Reporters Association and former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Press Club of the Philippines. A prolific reporter, Lariosa writes a column and news stories for the Filipino Star News and other Filipino community newspapers in the US as well as for GMA News and the Manila Bulletin.

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