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Enrile wise counsel to the MILF

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The Moro Islamic Liberation Front may have a friend in Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile but the erudite lawmaker is not about to concede to their proposal for a sub-state. The senator revealed that the MILF sought his advice on the matter concerning their demand for a sub-state but that he said he is not in favour with the concept which the Front is pushing as what they wish is for self-determination. Enrile is not averse to work around the concept of autonomy but made himself clear that no right thinking government will allow the dismemberment of the country. Sub-state, he said connotes that the region will have control of the territory, the seas and the skies and  asserted that  is personally he is against it. He revealed that he counselled the leaders of the MILF to negotiate within the framework of autonomy. He said that some aspects of the autonomy may be redefined like the region will have specific share of revenues from the resources of the region. He said moreover that the ARMM cannot have control over vital resources.

Enrile hopes that the peace negotiation will be reached soon even as he expressed pessimism that it will be concluded this year. He said that the matter of disarmament is crucial to the peace talk citing the recent incident in where soldiers were slaughtered when there is supposed to be a ceasefire agreement in place. These are criminals which ought to be pursued by the law enforcers. If the MILF is sincere then they should turnover these members who committed the crime, provided however that they have complete control of the MILF elements who ambushed the soldiers.

Enrile who took part in the peace negotiation with the Moro National Liberation Front with Libyan strongman Moammar Khadaffy during the Marcos regime said that the secessionist fronts lost the single biggest donor in their secessionist agenda. He said that the political upheaval in the Arab countries augurs well for the Philippines. He said that for the good of the Moro people and the country the MILF should now reconcile with the government after all they have manifested that they are no longer pursuing their independence agenda.

While admittedly they have modern weapons, the MILF cannot sustain a war with the government forces especially now that the flow of funds from their major donors had been cut the senator said. He said that it would also be good for both sides if the peace talks are held in the Philippines for the sake of transparency and for a more stable peace pact. It will be easier to overhaul the provisions of the ARMM to accommodate the demands of the MILF than to go to the rigours of establishing a substate with the trimmings of an independent state. But the senate president  said that the MILF leadership has to participate in the political process which will be participated in also  by the MNLF, the Lumads and the Christians in the region.

What is important is that the autonomous government will get a just share from the revenues derived from region resources. That wealth is not for a specific group but for the entire constituency of the ARMM.

By Menardo Wenceslao




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