Moderat Reviews

Development of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Posted on: February 26, 2008

The issue of declaration of Mindanao as an Islamic State Al Haj Murad, speaking through Muhammad Ameen, chairperson of the MILF Secretariat, said that it was simple black propaganda, out to drive a wedge between the Christians and the Muslims in Mindanao. The MILF categorically denied having anything to do with text that says that Al Haj Murad would soon declare Mindanao as an Islamic State and he becomes its president with the backing of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Ameen said the issue of religion is internal to the Muslims in Mindanao and the MILF has been never brought up this issue in the decade-old peace talks with the government.

To appreciate Arroyo government, they said :
1. No credible leader could succeed her. Vice President Noli de Castro is largely seen as incompetent and even the Muslims in Mindanao especially the Maguindanaos of Cotabato do not see him as a good leader for them, despite being married to a Maguindanao;

2. The people are tired of so-called people power. They seemed to have rationalized already that one politician replaced by another politician is like changing one rotten egg with another rotten egg, and therefore, they are turned off to join another mass movement such as rallies or demonstrations;

3. Most of the rank-and-file of the military are still with Arroyo, not because they are loyal to her but because most of the top brass of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are “compromised”;

4. The support of the United States is critical especially if the process is “extra-constitutional”, which the present move to oust Arroyo is obviously lacking;

5. Leaders of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines are highly divided whether or not to call for the ouster of President Arroyo; and

6. The brevity of her remaining term of office is the best antidote to move to unseat her, which make people rationalize that it is better to wait for her normal exit timeline rather than embark on an ambitious but still unpredictable people power method.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a Muslim separatist rebel group located in Southern Philippines. The MILF was formed in 1981 when Salamat Hashim and his followers split from the MNLF, due to the MNLF’s reluctance to launch an insurgency against the Philippine government forces and movements towards a peace agreement. MILF was also heavily influenced by Sayyid Qutb.

The area where the group is active is called Bangsamoro by the MILF and it covers the southern portion of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, Basilan and the neighboring islands. Salamat Hasyim died in July 2003 and the MILF leadership was changed by Al Haj Murad Ibrahim. Although between MILF and the Philippines government have been conducting peace talks, MILF Special Operation Group (MILF-SOG) led by Jabile Abdul @ Bedz actively trains personnels in bomb making. The instructor is JI bomb expert Abdul Basith Usman. MILF-SOG training is conducted spontaneously by establishing moveable and non permanent camps.

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