2 Mindanao leaders doubt MILF capability to lead sub-state

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Monday, February 13, 2012


TWO governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) have expressed qualms on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) intent to lead the sub-state it has proposed during peace negotiations with the government.

In a forum held recently at the University Sains Malaysia in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali said the MILF leadership's "character" and "system" are in question.

"In some provinces, the MILF has no commanding presence. They are not even organized for us to consider them. I know these things because I have been a municipal mayor in Tawi-Tawi for three or four years,” he said.

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The MILF has broached the idea of creating a sub-state or a "Bangsamoro homeland", which will still be under the Philippines but will have the power to exercise all government functions, except those of foreign affairs, national defense, currency and postal services.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, who was also present in the regional forum, aired the same sentiments.

“Now, there are talks about federalism, grant of another autonomous region, we talked about vehicles and being at the driver’s seat. We know for a fact that one of the requirements of our brothers from the MILF is that we come up with a vehicle and put them behind the stirring wheel and at the driver’s seat,” he said.

Sun.Star tried to reach MILF spokesperson Von Al-Haq for comment but to no avail.

Despite his reservations, Sahali remains hopeful that the government and the MILF will soon forge a deal that would end the decades-old conflict.

"I believe that the MILF will settle with something that is possible for the government to give," he said.

The government and the MILF are set to meet for their 25th formal exploratory talks this month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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