Blog

Speech of Chairman Al Haj Murad of the MILF during the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim delivers his speech in Malacañang. Photo by JAY MORALES, Malacañang Photo Bureau.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim delivers his speech in Malacañang. Photo by JAY MORALES, Malacañang Photo Bureau.

[Delivered at Malacañan Palace, Manila, on October 15, 2012]

[Greetings in Arabic]

Good afternoon.

His Excellency President Simeon Aquino III; His Excellency Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak; Her Excellency Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor; Ms. Kris Aquino; His Excellency, Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, OIC Secretary General; excellencies of the Foreign Diplomatic Corps; honorable members of the President’s Cabinet; honorable members of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet; honorable members of the Government [of the Philippines] Peace Panel; members of the MILF delegation; honored guests, friends, brothers, sisters in Islam:

Again, good afternoon.

As-salamu alaykum.

Your Excellencies:

I must confess that this is the first time in my life to step in the grounds of Malacañang. [Applause] Never in my wildest dreams since I was a child or when I join the Bangsamoro struggle more than 40 years ago that one day I will see the interior of this building that once housed the Spanish and American Governors General and now the Presidents of the Philippines. Today, I am here not as a tourist, nor as a politician who seeks personal political favors from the President of the Philippines but as the humble Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front mandated by our brothers and sisters on the ground and by the Bangsamoro people to witness a historic agreement with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines under the leadership of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III that would, Insha Allah [Allah willing], usher in a just and enduring peace in the Bangsamoro homeland. [Applause]

It is in the context that I come in peace and to forge a partnership of peace on the basis of the Framework Agreement between the MILF and the Philippine Government.

Your Excellencies, almost five centuries of foreign invasions and dominations have given birth to what we now call the Bangsamoro question. In the course of these centuries of conflict, we have seen the loss of our traditional Moro Sultanates. Expropriation of our sovereignty as a free Moro Nation and consequently our relegation into a state of captivity that eradicated our Bangsamoro identity and reduced our ancestral homeland into small parcels of gerrymandered territories called provinces all of which lead to the marginalization of our people within a larger domain dominant Philippine society that barely took cognizance if at all of our forebears and broken struggle for freedom even before the Philippine Republic saw the light of the day in 1898 and in 1946.

This unjust condition that sustained this conflict in our generation made it inevitable for the Moro Liberation Movements to emerge. And from the womb of the Moro Liberation Movement, would be born the Moro National Liberation Front and consequently the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The peace negotiations that took place first in 1976 in Tripoli, Libya, under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Conference and unto 1996 in Jakarta, Indonesia, between our brethren in the MNLF and the Philippine Government were all geared towards addressing historical and foreign grievances of the Bangsamoro people. But unfortunately, the negotiation came short of going further deep of the root cause of the Moro question. Thus, the appropriate political formula to correct the historical and current injustices committed on the Bangsamoro people remain elusive. Political palliatives and economic cosmetics under the rubric of counter-insurgency which were successively put in place to resolve the Moro question prove to be failed experiments in political autonomy, the latest of which is the ARMM, and so that conflict remain that has invariably taken a heavy toll on the lives, properties, and livelihoods of our people—Moro-indigenous communities and settlers in Mindanao and Sulu.

Under such dire circumstances peace negotiations were unable to alter let alone normalize the adversarial relationship between the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine State and it was this adversarial relationship that continued to fund the armed sovereignty based conflict in our homeland and that construct the attainment of a just and enduring peace as requisite to normalization. It was for this reason that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under the leadership of the late Chairman and Mujahedeen Sheik Salamat Hashim, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’alaaccept his sacrifices, decided to engage in peaceful negotiations with the Philippine Government in 1997. The basic principle underlying this most important decision by the MILF leadership is that negotiated political settlement is the most civilized and practical way to solve the Moro problem. This principle laid down by Sheik Salamat Hashim became a consistent policy.

We, in the MILF Central Committee did not waiver and vacillate in pursuing it to the end despite the devastating three all-out wars in 2000, 2003, and 2008 waged by previous regimes in the MILF. This was the legacy of Sheik Salamat Hashim, the legacy of Sheik Salamat leadership which I, when I took over the leadership of the MILF after he passed away in 2003, inherited and continued to pursue with unclenching determination and with great personal sacrifice despite tremendous pressures from some restive quarters of our Moro populace on one hand and provocation by forces hostile to the Bangsamoro cause on the other to abandon peaceful negotiation and relentlessly take the path of war.

Today, it humbles me to say before you that we have stayed the course. Our perseverance has prevailed over those whose obsession is to perpetuate war and conflict in Mindanao and Sulu for self-aggrandizement. Today, after almost 16 years of hard negotiations, interfered with armed confrontations on the ground, we have inked the most important document in the chapter of our history—a landmark document that restores to our people their Bangsamoro identity and their homeland, their right to govern themselves and the power to forge their destiny and future with their very hands.

Today, we are here to celebrate a victory for the Bangsamoro people and the Filipino nation that is shared by the international community and the Muslim world, the victory earned not by war but by that collective desire tempered by the inner nobility of human nature to restore justice and peace to a troubled land. Today, we are here to put an end to the adversarial relationship between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine nation and what makes this more significant and quite touching on our part is that this is happening under the administration of President Noy-Noy Aquino [applause] whose martyred father, Senator Ninoy Aquino, and mother, the late President Cory Aquino fought on the same side of the fence with us against the dictatorship that devastated our homeland and the lives of thousands of our people. [Applause]

Today, we extend the hands of friendship and partnership to the President and the Filipino people as we jointly embark on the historic journey to rebuild our homeland, institute justice and occupation, end the reign of violence, and restore normalcy to the lives of the masses of our people in Mindanao and Sulu with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. We pray never to see again refugee camps crammed with old folks, women, and children wallowing in squalor and misery, as well as never again witness the recurring wholesale violation of human rights that comes with oppression, all of which deface the landscape of our Bangsamoro homeland and denigrate the lofty human values long held by its civilized and just society.

Today, I would also like to announce to all that we dedicated this Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro to our departed leaders: the late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim, the late MILF Vice Chairman Ali Abdul Mimbantas, Ustadz Abuhalilyaya, Ustadz Sainon Zaman, among others, and to all our Mujahedeen martyrs whether MILF or MNLF. [Applause] They sacrifice their lives for the cause of Allah and for the Bangsamoro. To them and to all peace loving people in this country, this agreement shall stand as our greatest tribute.

Let me also have this opportunity to call on an appeal to our MNLF brethren to support the Framework Agreement and take this historic journey with us to rebuild our Bangsamoro homeland on the gains given to us by the agreement. This is not the time for recriminations; this is the time for unity, the time for all of us to think, act, and speak as one Bangsamoro as we summon all our strengths to face the daunting task of home rule.

Finally, on behalf of the Bangsamoro people and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, may I extend our heartfelt thanks to His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III; His Excellency Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak; His Excellency Dr. Mahathir Mohammad the former Prime Minister in whose term of office, peace negotiations were done in Malaysia; to His Excellency Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OIC; and to the Malaysian Facilitator and Secretariat; likewise, to all the State and Non-State actors that composed the International Contact Group (ICG), the Government of the United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and its international NGO components, Conciliation Resources, Mohammadiyah, The Asia Foundation, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, The International Monitoring Team (or the IMT), and its Civilian Protection Component, Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Japan, Norway, Indonesia, and the European Union, the Non-Violent Peace Force, Mindanao Peoples Caucus, Mindanao Human Rights Action Center, and Muslim Organization of Government Officials and Professionals, and to all those world organizations and countries that sent their message of support to the Framework Agreement such as the United Nations, the European Union, United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as well as to those individuals and those in and out of the homeland who believed in the justness of our cause, and who bear with us through thick and thin in our long struggle for justice and peace. We convey our sincerest gratitude.

Thank you and May Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala may be with all of us.

From: http://www.gov.ph/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s