MOA-AD a victim of political crisis in Manila, says Murad

MAGUINDANAO (MindaNews/17 Sep) — The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) “is a victim of the political crisis” that the Manila government is faced with, according to Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al-haj Murad Ebrahim.

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He said the MOA-AD, which was supposed to be signed in Kuala Lumpur on August 5 had the Supreme Court not restrained the government panel from penning the accord, was a concession they agreed to in the stead of “Bangsamoro sovereignty.”

But he stressed that it was “unfortunate that the political crisis in Manila” would lead to the collapse of the supposed agreement that was a product of four years of negotiation.

The government and the MILF have been talking peace for the past 11 years and ancestral domain was the lone agenda they had been discussing in the past four years.

Reiterating that the MILF considers the MOA-AD as one of the “binding” accords similar to the ceasefire agreement that both parties have entered into, Murad said that the government had no reason to abandon it “simply because some presidentiables have opposed it.”

“Those opposing the MOA are politicians and some presidentiables who don’t care about the killings in Mindanao but only their vested political interests,” Murad said in an interview in the jungles of Maguindanao province. Murad, however, did not mention that thousands of residents in the cities of Iligan and Zamboanga and in areas in Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato also protested the signing of the MOA-AD and went to the streets with placards and streamers.

Murad reminded the government about its alleged “promise to do all legal means to accommodate the MOA-AD,” while reiterating that in exchange to the Arroyo government’s commitment on the controversial accord, the MILF has agreed on a plebiscite.

The MILF, Murad said, does not want “another Iraq, Iran or Palestine in Mindanao. That was why we agreed to talk with the government.”

This developed as MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal reiterated their call for the government to make the peace process in Mindanao a national agenda.

“We have been telling the government to make the peace process a national agenda,” Iqbal said in a separate interview at the MILF’s Camp Darapanan.

It can be recalled that some peace groups in Mindanao led by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), a tri-people alliance of 26 organizations, have also pushed for the nationalization of the Mindanao peace agenda.

“If the peace process in Mindanao is made a national agenda, people would no longer entertain thoughts that we are only talking peace with the executive department,” said Iqbal.

The MPC has been talking with some Mindanao congressmen whom they wanted to pass a legislation that would in effect nationalize the peace agenda in Mindanao. (Romy Elusfa / MindaNews contributor)

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