Philippines

OIC’s Madani highlights MILF-MNLF convergence process

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From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

The head of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed confidence that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fully support the ongoing Bangsamoro peace process despite delays in the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

OIC Secretary General Iyad bin Ameen Madani said during his courtesy call to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon that there is an agreement between both the MILF and the MNLF that the Bangsamoro peace process should be pursued.

Madani said this is underscored by the convergence process taking place between the government’s peace accords with the MILF and MNLF, particularly in the harmonious relationship being forged under the auspices of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) formed in 2010 on the initiative of the OIC and formally operationalized in 2014 after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the MILF.

“We have touched base with the two fronts. It was clear that we all want peace. As we talked, it became clear that we can all benefit from these,” said Madani, who presided at the fourth BCF meeting in Davao City Saturday as part of his four-day just-concluded official visit to the Philippines.

The MILF was represented by ten panelists led by chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal while the MNLF Nur Misuari group was represented by Ustadz Shariff Zain Jali and the Central Committee represented by Muslimin Sema fielded in six members each during the said BCF meeting.

“We pushed for the reviving, reinvigorating of the Forum. We think it provides an excellent stage for all sides to communicate to express their views. We are optimistic that this Forum is reducing the gap between the different views. We are all interested in peace,” said Madani in an interview with the local media over the weekend.

He also said that the two fronts are expected to meet anew at the Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kuwait next month.

During his four-day visit, Madani reiterated the OIC’s support for the CAB and the BBL as well as urged everyone to be part of the peace process. “‎Everybody should realize that if they miss this process, they are marginalizing themselves.”

The Secretary General also corrected notions that they are here to pressure Congress to pass the BBL. “The OIC is not involved in passing the BBL. That is an internal legislative matter to your country. The OIC is here to express its support to the BBL. The CAB is made meaningful by the BBL as the BBL gives the CAB legs to stand on.”

With Madani are OIC Special Envoy for Peace in the Southern Philippines Sayed El-Masry; Director of the OIC Department of Information Maha Mostafa Akeel; Head of the OIC Department of Muslim Communities and Minorities Dr. Hassan Ahmad Abdein; Liaison Officer for OIC Special Envoy for PCSP Saidu Dodo; Personal Assistant to the OIC Secretary-General Mohammed Adoum; Protocol Officer Mohammed Naghi; and Ahmad Madani.

Also in the meeting in the Senate were Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr., Chairman of the Senate Local Governments Committee that is tackling the proposed BBL, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, and Undersecretary Jose Lorena.