IT'S been more than a week now since the peace and quiet of Zamboanga City is in crisis because of the encounter between the government and MNLF led by Nur Misuari who wants independence for the towns and provinces under his territory.
Those who are unaware of the Front’s history ask these questions—How did the MNLF sprout in the society? What was the reason behind for pursuing the independence?
Nur Misuari, as a simple and soft-spoken student, was a scholar of the University of the Philippines taking Political Science. All he ever wanted was to achieve something to help his poor family.
Then he met Jose Maria Sison the leader of the Kabataang Makabayan (Patriot Youth) from which he became one of the fathers of the group. KM is a radical student group that applied a Marxist analysis to the Philippine situation and advocated a revolutionary struggle against feudalism, capitalism and imperialism.
KM asserted its demand for the better treatment to the Moro people.
It was in 1960 when Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) was established which aimed to organize independence in Southern Philippines. Later in 1969, the MIM formed MNLF, a military component of a revolutionist movement headed by Misuari that desires political reform in the Philippine government.
Perhaps, this is an answer to the question how MNLF began. If we visualize everything it was through young-secular educated Moros led by Misuari and their aim was to seek independence for southern Philippines and up until now they want to pursue it.
Misuari and his group moved to Sabah and then to Tripoli in which time the MNLF was already at war with government forces. The Tripoli Agreement between MNLF and the government under former President Ferdinand Marcos was made for them to have full autonomy to 13 provinces, namely Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, and Palawan.
However, Marcos did not fulfill his promise to the Moros to give them the privilege of leading these provinces and because of these some of the members of the councils separated from the Misuari-led group.
More than 50 commanders of mainland Mindanao including Ghadzali Jaafar, the leader of MILF, executed the so-called “instrument of takeover” to declare separation from Nur Misuari’s group because of his lack of leadership for the committee.
Former President Marcos’ broken promise made the MNLF redress their grievances to the government still for their advocacy to have independence of southern Philippines.
They still revolt against the government because of their desire to rule over the southern part of the country. This would never happen because the government discourages communism in the country.
As for Misuari, his leadership skills would never get recognition from the committee because of what had happened in the previous years where he became the Third Governor of Armm.
Misuari missed his chance to prove to everyone that he can handle this government. He’s been busy shopping and travelling from one country to another. His duties as the governor was not effective as he only went to the office for 187 days that was also called to be the “little Malacanang” were Muslim people ask for his help in certain situations in the society.
A big chunk of the ORG’s budget was used for his travel and hotel accommodation as he attends activities for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation where he was always four hours late. It was open to foreign donors who were willing to help rebuild the war-torn communities in Mindanao.
His government was mismanaged and was unable to look after the poor Bangsamoro people yet up until now he wants his advocacy to happen—to have independence to provinces within southern Philippines.
We’ve proven that there’s no other reason for the agreement to be not approved by the government. The past situations showed what could possibly happen if Misuari wins the battle within the two parties.
He was given a chance that was served in a silver platter last 1996 but he wasted the opportunity to make southern Philippines a better place for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. (Athena Jillian Bravo)
Sunday Essays are articles written by Ateneo de Davao University students for their advanced journalism class.