Call for mutual respect

4th Issue 24-31
Typography

The ideological and political lines determine the conduct of revolutionary struggles and their objectives. This is the reason that one revolutionary group may differ from others. For instance, communist-led struggle always call for the overthrow of existing government, replace its system, as well as those running the state. In the case of MILF, we do not seek to overthrow the government in Manila, change its system, and replace its workers. All what is desired is to allow us freely to exercise our right to self-determination. And clearly that desire for now is overwhelmingly for the establishment of a genuine self-governing and autonomous entity in the Bangsamoro. 

It is in this context that we call on the leadership of the NDFP/CPP/NPA in Mindanao to respect the stand of our people, instead of calling us to armed struggle. We urge them to observe the principle of mutual respect in dealing with each other. It is on record that we never criticise your stand on several issues, which we can easily do because your ideology and ours are diametrically opposed to each other. Islam is opposed to everything that is founded on non-belief in the existence of God. But as revolutionaries, both of us have one common enemy, which is oppression.

Islam has settled the issue of belief or unbelief 1,400 years ago during the time of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him!).  God had decreed in the Quran: “There is no compulsion in religion; unto you your religion and unto me my religion.”

Armed struggle had been the only form of our struggle from 1972 up to 1997, but from 1997 (when peace talks started) up to the passage and enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) we call this as the political stage of our struggle. Military engagement can only happen if government forces attack us. The third stage, which we call democratic or electoral stage, commences from the passage and enactment of the BBL wherein we seek hold of government through electoral process to the establishment of a normal situation in the Bangsamoro region.

However, while armed struggle is not pursued now, but our weapons are still firmly intact in our hands.  Decommissioning of weapons can only take place when the parties sign the Exit Agreement, which means all the agreements of the parties are implemented, as verified and validated by the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) and concurred to by the Third Party Facilitator, and the government and MILF peace panels.

Who are in need of weapons when the Bangsamoro Problem or Question, which the parties seek to answer throughout their 17 long and hard negotiations, are genuinely addressed?  Only duly constituted authorities should take hold of these weapons, not by anyone.

More importantly, the MILF believes that dialogues and negotiations are more civilized and practical than continue killing each other. Men and women are fully equipped with reason and conscience to argue and agree on lofty matters that benefit mankind in general.

Additionally, true Muslims never snap out life without justifiable cause.  Islam says that who kills someone without justifiable cause is as if he or she kills mankind.