Misuari, MNLF ‘willing to talk peace’ with gov’t PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 August 2015 16:54

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) fugitive founding chair Nur Misuari is reportedly “very much willing” to engage in formal negotiations with the national government to resolve various issues, among them the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement.

Johnny Siao, chair of the MNLF Misuari faction’s national border command based in this city, said that based on their latest communication, the rebel leader signified his intention to participate in a planned tripartite review for the peace process.

But he said the government should also reciprocate such move by dropping the rebellion charges that had been filed against Misuari in connection with the Zamboanga City siege in Sept. 2013.

“His (Misuari) tag as a terrorist should be dropped first before we start talking,” he said in an interview.

Siao claimed that Misuari did not plan and led the Zamboanga City crisis and that it only escalated due to supposed erroneous interventions made by authorities and local politicians.

Citing results of the MNLF central committee’s recent meeting held in Jolo, Sulu, he said they agreed to seek more engagements with the influential Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address Misuari’s case.

For the review process, he said they will also negotiate for the participation of OIC members Indonesia and Malaysia.

Ustadz Pendi Colano, a member of the MNLF central committee representing the Selatan Kutawato group, reiterated that they remain committed to the 1996 peace accord with the national government despite the past setbacks.

He said they continue to abide by the peace process and hopeful that the pending issues can still be resolved amicably and without the use of arms or violence.

“We are for peace. We believe that is also the stand of President Benigno S. Aquino III,” he said.

Colano said the MNLF at-large is no longer a threat to national security and should be treated as such by the government, especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He said their members have successfully reintegrated with the mainstream society after the forging of the peace agreement.

“We’re already in the mainstream of the society and are now living simple lives. We don’t want to engage in war anymore,” he added.