Fragile peace in Mindanao-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
THE 39th round of exploratory talks between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Aug. 25 ended with a positive note--the last two annexes to a peace agreement framework could be settled in the next meeting.
And then Nur Misuari came along. On Monday, Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters clashed with government troops in Zamboanga City, killing six and wounding two dozen others.
You could only wish for peace in Mindanao.
More than a month before Monday’s attack on Zamboanga City, reports said the MNLF started to consolidate its forces through so-called “peace rallies” to support the full implementation of MNLF’s final peace agreement with the government in 1996.
MNLF forces gathered in full battle gear in these “peace rallies” to show readiness to resume their struggle for independence.
See, “peace rallies” can sometimes turn bloody when participants are fully-armed, as in the case of Zamboanga City.
Emmanuel Fontanilla, a lawyer and spokesman for MNLF chair Nur Misuari, said they really had a successful and peaceful “peace rally” in Davao City last Sept. 1.
“Unlike in Zamboanga, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gave us a permit and the rally was conducted successfully and peacefully,” he said.
What about the MNLF plan, as Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Salazar said, to raise their Bangsamoro Republik flag at City Hall?
The 42-year-old secessionist Muslim insurgency in Mindanao has already claimed more than 150,000 lives.
Analysts believe the MNLF action in Zamboanga City conveys Misuari’s message that signing the peace agreement between government and the MILF will no longer guarantee the end of war.
How futile would it be? Sign a peace agreement with the MILF and then a shooting war with the MNLF erupts?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 11, 2013.